homemade vegetable broth

The official name of this broth is “garbage soup,” but I didn’t think that would entice anyone’s taste buds.  When I first heard about garbage soup, I’ll admit, I was disgusted, but intrigued.  It’s named so because the key ingredients are scraps typically composted, thrown out or *gasp* fed to the garbage disposal.  Turns out, I’ve never tasted a better soup base.

Aside from the flavor possibilities, one wonderful thing about this “recipe” is that there are no rules as to what goes in, or how to cook it.  Onion, garlic and carrot peels, mushrooms, pumpkin innards left over from carving, celery root, leek ends, broccoli, peppers, fresh herb stems, turnips…  just about anything.  I’ve even used apple peel before!  A true experiment, if you will.


Materials (original idea and recipe by my dear friend, Sue)

any vegetable scraps (I take it easy on potato peels; too much starch)
fruit scraps (optional)



1. Save produce leftovers in a plastic bag or airtight container, and place in freezer.  Add peels and scraps as they remain from vegetables used for other meals, and return to freezer until you’ve collected enough.

What’s enough?  That’s up to you and how much soup you’ll be making.  I started with a 1-gallon plastic bag full of produce peels, and yielded about 3 cups soup.  But again, there is no right or wrong.

2. When ready to make the broth, bring water and veggies (about 2:1 ratio, meaning for every 2 cups water, add about a cup of peels) to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer.  The longer, the better, so the veggies have a chance to work their magic.  That’s it!

Once strained, the broth can be used immediately, or frozen for future use.  To make smaller servings of the soup base, pour cooled broth into an ice cube tray, and freeze until needed.  And once boiled and strained, the vegetables can still be composted.

So long, Buillon cubes!


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