veggie scrap broth instructions

Veggie Broth

While you are doing your day-to-day cooking every week, you accumulate a LOT of food waste. From cutting off any bad bits to the excess pieces you aren’t eating in that meal (like carrot tops, onion skins, and potato skins), we end up with all those extra scraps. Most people in America throw those scraps in the trash and they end up in a landfill. Hopefully you are already compost those scraps, but if not we’ll be posting about easy backyard composting soon! But, before you compost those scraps, we would like to suggest making your own veggie broth with it! This is a super simple process and helps you save money and add nutrients and flavor to your dishes. Here’s how our Director of Operations & Development, Christine, uses her veggie scraps to make broth once or twice a month!


zip-loc bag full of veggie scraps such as onion ends, carrot skins, celery leaves, and more for making stockStep 1: Collect Veggie Scraps in the Freezer

While I am cooking meals throughout the week, I re-direct some of my scraps from the compost pile and instead store them in a zip-loc bag in the freezer. These are things like the skins or ends of veggies I’ve prepped or veggies that are about to go bad (like if I sliced up bell peppers to snack on and didn’t finish them all but don’t have enough for some other dish). Once that bag is full, it is time to make broth!

There’s no real right or wrong veggies to keep for stock, so long as you aren’t using something that is moldy. You can add pretty much anything to it, but it will create different flavor profiles. I always make sure that the bulk of my scraps consists of carrots, onions, and celery. I also like to have sweet potato skins, bell pepper pieces, and mushrooms. Some people like to add tomatoes, but I’m not a fan of the flavor it adds. I also try to avoid adding too much of things like carrot tops, broccoli stems, cabbage leaves, and brussel sprouts as they can make the broth bitter if used in excess. Lastly, if I don’t have any scraps I like to add some ginger root, turmeric root, and garlic cloves. These add so much flavor and amazing nutrients for immunity and overall health. I cook with them a lot, so I usually have scraps, but if I don’t I find it is worth it to chop up some fresh ones for the stock!



stock pot full of veggie scraps and water for making homemade stockStep 2: Cover Veggies with Water and Bring to a Boil

It’s really that simple. I find that a full zip-loc bag almost fills up my stock pot and then I just fill it with water up to the top of the veggies. Done. I often add a little salt for flavor, but if you have a lot of herbs in there or you are trying to cut back on salt, it is definitely not necessary. When I went to take pics for this blog I actually had no fresh turmeric so I also added some turmeric powder. I just can’t make broth without it! You could also add some sage or other fresh garden herbs if you have them on hand! When you pot is full of the veggies and water just put it on the stove and bring to a boil.






stockpot simmering on the stove with a 30 minute timer setStep 3: Simmer Veggies for at Least 30 Minutes

Once the mixture is boiling you are going to want to turn the heat down so it doesn’t boil over. Cover it and then let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer you simmer it the better though as it will draw out more of the nutrients and flavor from the veggies. I generally set my timer for 30 min and come back in when it goes off and start getting everything else ready that I’m working on, therefore it cooks for about 40-45min.






straining finished veggie stock into a strainer with a bowl to catch the stockStep 4: Strain the Scraps and Collect the Broth

Set a bowl in your sink with a strainer in it and then dump the contents in to separate the broth from the veggie scraps. Don’t. Forget. The. Bowl. You would think that is obvious, but I once put the strainer in the sink without a bowl and poured an entire stock pot of broth down the drain right before a dinner party. You do it once and you’ll never do it again! At this point, you can transfer the veggie scraps to the compost bin.






pouring finished stock into ice cube trays to freeze for use laterStep 5: Storing the Broth

If you aren’t using the broth right away for a dish, you’re going to need to store it. I usually keep a little out in the fridge for use that week and the rest I freeze. In the fridge, broth is only considered safe for 5-7 days. I’ve definitely used it later than that with no problems….but do what I say and not what I do! Usually, I freeze my broth and my preferred method is to do it in ice cubes! These silicone trays in my pic were purchased at Target several years ago from the canning section, intended for freezing oils and butters. I’ve seen these cube trays in several versions at popular stores and online and I like them because they are a bit bigger and very easy to pop the cubes out. And, 3 cubes = 1 cup exactly! So I can easily just toss the cubes into my pot still frozen and keep the ratio right for cooking my rice or quinoa.

I don’t like to keep the broth cubes in the silicone too long though as it stains the trays and the lid does’t fit well so they fall out if shuffled. So I just toss them in another zip-loc (you can use any storage container you like, really. I know need to phase out my zip-loc use eventually to curb the single use plastic, but I use these bags till they are DEAD at least and just keep washing and re-using for cubes or scraps!)


Do you have other ways you like to make your veggie broth or interesting ways you cook with the finished product? Comment below or tag us on social media and let us know! We love hearing from you and trying new recipes!

Cooking with Kids: It’s Not as Scary as You Think!

by Jay Johnson

As the Youth Program Coordinator at VGI, I have the privilege of working with young people and teaching them how to grow and cook food.  Every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout this past school year I cooked with about 15 elementary school aged children at their after-school club. To many of you, that probably sounds like a nightmare. I mean, fifteen third graders with knives and hot stoves?!? Even though it sounds like an absurd idea, I have learned a lot from young people and cooking with them.

  • Imperfection is OK: When we watch those recipe videos on Facebook  they always have the perfect amount of ingredients, it comes out perfect, and it looks tasty. While there are recipes for food, often young people get super excited to make things like blueberry pancakes and overestimate the amount of baking soda needed, or are underenthuised to make things like a black eye pea salad because they hate one veggie that is in it. Needless to say every recipe is a new adventure. Although things may not turn out as planned, such as bean burgers falling apart or finding out accidentally adding spinach to the black eyed pea salad doesn’t taste bad, we find what matters most in the end is the experience and the memories.
  • Young people enjoy the agency cooking gives them:  Agency is defined as the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. Oftentimes young people, particularly elementary aged young people, do not get a chance to make their own choices. Especially at school! School environments tend to be a sit-and-get environment where young people are told what to do pretty much all day. Within reason, I ask students what are some dishes that they would like to make, and because of that we have made things like veggie soup, quesadillas, and guacamole! Having the say in what they cook has students far more engaged in their recipes and eating the food they make.

  • Young people are really proud of what they make: I can not tell you how many times students have asked me if they could bring some of the food they made home for their family to try or see if they can run some down the hall to their favorite teacher! Even if the food looks or tastes less than spectacular, young people take pride in the food they have made and want to share with others.

  • Kids really love to try new things:  Growing up we probably all were picky eaters. Our parents threw a plate of those gross looking vegetables and sauces in front of us and we adamantly refused to eat it. When children are involved in making and cooking food, I see they are more willing to try new things. For example, when we make vegetable trays, instead of the usual vegetables I will throw in a vegetable like a radish or instead of tortilla chips I will substitute pita chips for dips we make. Since they were involved in the prep of the food it is a lot easier to convince them to try new things and ask for them again.


Overall, just as much as I have taught young people about cooking and preparing food, they have taught me equally as much.  From them I have learned, food is a great way to link generations and learn more about yourself and others.  If you are interested in more resources about cooking with children feel free to reach out to me at