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Upcycled Broth Two Ways

Inspire Health Event Calendar September 8, 2016

Making your own broth may sound like a chore but with a little forethought and planning, it can be a way to add flavour and nutrients to many dishes without the additives and extras that may come in store bought stock, broth, or bouillon.   It can also be quite therapeutic. The vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients released from the ingredients and into the liquid can be a great way to fortify your diet in a whole foods way. Broths made with bones get the extra benefit of being full of collagen and other proteins that can be very beneficial. And if that isn’t enough to get you excited to make your own, if you plan properly, they can cost you ZERO dollars when you ‘upcycle’ the bits and pieces that would otherwise go into the compost bin.

Pre-planning

In your freezer, keep one re-sealable bag for veggie scraps and one for bone scraps. (If you’re really organized, you can have separate poultry, fish, and meat bone bags, but often I throw them all together. I also keep a bag for fruit and vegetable bits and pieces that are worthy of going into a smoothie.) As you put food bits into your compost bucket, ask yourself – are there still great nutrients to be had in here? Put them in the freezer instead! Examples for the veggie scrap bag include onion skins, carrot and potato peels, edible squash skins, mushroom stalks, and leafy tops. Also if there are whole veggies in the fridge that won’t be used up before they go bad, get those in the freezer bag before you lose them for good. Salad greens and fresh herbs are good examples of these. The cruciferous veggie world of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, rutabaga, bok choy, etc. can add a bitterness to your broth, so some people choose to leave these out. On the other hand, many of the most powerful phytonutrients are bitter, so use your discretion in if or how many cruciferous scraps to include.

The bone bags may include the chicken bones and skin from your chicken leg dinner or whole roasted chicken; the spine, head, and skin from fish; shrimp tails and shells; or the meat bone from a roast.

If you aren’t able to produce enough scraps to keep up with your broth demands, or aren’t quite organized yet in the freezer department, feel free to use fresh vegetables, chopped into chunks. You can also buy soup bones from butcher shops, fish mongers, or health food stores.

Upcycled Vegetable Broth

Ingredients

  • Frozen veggie scraps – however many you have or will fit into your pot (feel free to add extra onions, carrots, or celery for depth of flavour)
  • Herbs or spices – if there are none in your veggie scraps, add ½ bunch of parsley or cilantro, 1 tbsp peppercorns or freshly ground pepper, 2 bay leaves, sea salt to taste (start small and add extra if you need at the end). Use a variety of herbs and spices liberally.
  • Added bonus ingredients – mushrooms (dried or fresh) and seaweed (like kombu or kelp). These release more of their nutrients into a hot liquid like broth.
  • Filtered water – enough to cover all ingredients once in the pot

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, add all of the ingredients. Fill with the water to 2 inches below the rim, cover, and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 2-4 hours (until the broth tastes full and rich). You may need to add more water if any of the vegetables begin to show above the surface.
  3. Alternatively, this can be done in a slow cooker. Put all ingredients in the slow cooker, turn on low for 4 hours.
  4. Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve or metal strainer, collecting the liquid in a large bowl below. Add extra salt to taste.
  5. Let cool before refrigerating or freezing.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for 4 months. Ideally, freeze in 2 or 4 cup containers – whatever you will use in recipes. (Upcycling tip – glass nut butter jars hold two cups, pasta sauce jars hold 3 cups. Save these instead of recycling them. Remember to not fill them right to the top – leaving space for expansion with freezing will avoid broken glass in your freezer.)
  7. Use as a broth soup base, as the liquid in a blended soup or stew, as the liquid when cooking grains, or as a satisfying cup of tea.

Upcycled Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • Frozen bone scraps – enough to fill half approximately your pot.
  • Frozen veggie scraps – enough to fill the rest of the pot (feel free to add extra onions, carrots, or celery for depth of flavour).
  • Herbs or spices – if none in your veggie scraps, add ½ bunch of parsley or cilantro, 1 tbsp peppercorns or freshly ground pepper, 2 bay leaves, sea salt to taste – start small and add extra if you need at the end. Use a variety of herbs and spices, liberally.
  • 1-2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar, or other acid like lemon juice or leftover wine.
  • Added bonus ingredients – mushrooms (dried or fresh) and seaweed (like kombu or kelp). These release more of their nutrients in a hot liquid like broth.

Directions

  1. If using large meat bones like beef, pork, or game, put bones in a roasting pan. Roast in a 350o oven for about 45 minutes, turning once, until browned and fragrant.
  2. In a large stockpot, add the bones, the vegetables, and all of the herbs and spices. Fill with the water to 2 inches below the rim. Add apple cider vinegar and cover. (The acid helps release more nutrients from the bones and into the liquid.)
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Decrease the heat to low, and simmer, covered. Various bones require various lengths of time – shrimp stock needs around 2 hours, fish stock around 4 hours, poultry from 8-24 hours, and meat bones from 12 to 48 hours. (Mostly depends on how long you can stand the smell of broth wafting through your house!)
  5. Alternatively, this can be done in a slow cooker (a great idea with longer cook times). Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn on low for the appropriate amount of time.
  6. You can strain off foam from the top of the pot while cooking if you like. Some say there are a lot of great properties in this part, so it’s more of a personal preference.
  7. Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve or metal strainer, collecting the liquid in a large bowl below. Add extra salt to taste.
  8. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. The fat will rise to the top. You can skim this off the top to keep for cooking purposes, or leave it to add depth and good fats to your dish. (Alternatively, the fat will solidify at fridge temperature. This is sometimes an easier way to take it off the top.)
  9. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for 4 months. Ideally, freeze in 2 or 4 cup containers, whatever you will use in recipes. (Upcycling tip – glass nut butter jars hold two cups, pasta sauce jars hold 3 cups. Save these instead of recycling them. Remember to not fill them right to the top – leaving space for expansion with freezing will avoid broken glass in your freezer.)
  10. Use as a broth soup base, as the liquid in a blended soup or stew, as the liquid when cooking grains, or as a satisfying cup of tea.

Enjoy!