How to Make Broth with Leftovers

I am one who doesn’t like to see food go to waste. For one thing, it is a waste of money and for another reason, well it is food and it is better tasted then wasted! We make broth here a lot and as you can see by my recipes like Instant Pot stuffed pepper soup, we cook with a lot of broth. I even add it to my sauces.

Have you ever made broth before? It is easy! The most common ones I make here are vegetable, chicken and beef. You can be creative and make different ones.

I still have my packaged favorites – College Inn and Swanson, but homemade is used a lot here as well.

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How to Make Broth

Here I will cover the basic ones that I make and there are really many ways to make them. You can buy the stuff and make it or you can use leftovers.

Vegetable Broth

Some ingredients for vegetable broth

This is a real easy one and you can really put anything you want in it – seriously you can. In the picture here there are onion peels, the ends of onions, carrot peels, celery pieces, mushroom pieces and some garlic. I have added pieces of peppers, jalapeno pieces and even potato peels. Tho potato peels are a bit more starchy.

This is all leftover pieces from when I was making other dishes. I often put them in a ziplock bag and you can freeze them until you have enough to use. Just be sure to let them air dry a bit before putting them in the freezer (or you will have unwanted ice buildup in your veggie peels.)

Do you know what else you can do? Instead of using just water to add to your veggie peels and leftovers, use stuff like water from boiling beans or vegetables. I added this chickpea broth we will call it (water leftover from boiling chickpeas to make hummus) to my broth before too.

water from boiling down chickpeas
chickpea broth

Get creative! No worries about wilted vegetables going in, they will be fine. Don’t use moldy ones or mushy ones, but a little wilted is just fine.

You can add salt and spices, tho I usually do not add salt so I can add the right amount of salt in the dish I am using the broth in. I like to start with a no/low sodium broth for a base to every dish. Add water or vegetable water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour – longer is better. Vegetable broth doesn’t require as long as meat broths.

Strain and put into containers for later. You can freeze the broth or you can can it to preserve.

Chicken Broth

Chicken bones and vegetables covered in water for broth

Learning how to make chicken broth is easy to make as well, but does require a longer simmer period. Reason being is that you want all the good stuff out of the bones and the longer it simmers, the better it is!

Above I have more then the bones because I was cleaning out my freezer and had chicken thighs I almost forgot about. Sometimes I use just the bones leftover from dinner – a whole chicken is good for this. One thing to note tho is that if you are using just the bones, you will be using just the amount of water to cover all of them. If using meaty bones or whole pieces of chicken, you can safely use a little more water.

If you plan on using just the bones, I would freeze leftover bones until you have a quite a few (you are only using enough water to cover the bones so this depends on how much broth you want to make.) If using a leftover roasting chicken, that is enough – do not remove any leftover chicken off the bones before boiling, I boil it just how it was after dinner.

Ok, so you have your bones or pieces of chicken and you are ready to go. Place the bones in the bottom of a pot. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar (we prefer apple cider vinegar but white is ok too) over the bones. Let that sit while you are cutting up the vegetables.

Cut up celery 2-3 stalks and 2-3 carrots. Celery can be cut in half and carrots can be left pretty big too. Cut up an onion and 4 cloves of garlic – they can be left fairly big too. Add it all into the pot with the chicken along with any spices you may want to add. Rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper are just a few suggestions. We don’t add anything but the garlic because it is a base to other dishes for us. I like to add spices to the dish I am making, not the broth.

Cover with water – just enough to cover everything. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for at least 2-3 hours. Longer is better with meat broths.

Strain and cool. Place into containers for freezing or canning. Allow to cool completely before freezing.

Beef Broth

Bones and vegetables in water to make beef broth

Beef broth is very similar to chicken broth except you really are better off only using the bones. You can boil chicken thighs for hours (believe it or not) and still use the meat in soup. I wouldn’t recommend boiling down a steak or beef roast for hours, probably won’t be too tasty.

In the picture here was leftover bones from T-bone steaks, we have used the bones from Prime Rib and even neck bones. You can probably even talk to your butcher about purchasing bones they would ordinarily discard.

Add the bones to the pot and pour 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar over the bones. Allow to sit for a few minutes while cutting up the vegetables. I add carrots, celery, onion and garlic to it. You can add salt or spices but as mentioned above, I prefer to keep it a plain base broth and add the spices to each dish I cook with it.

Add the vegetables to the pot and add enough water to cover everything. If you are adding spices, do so now. Bring to a bowl. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for at least 2-3 hours. Longer is better!

Strain and place into containers. Allow to cool before freezing. You can also can this broth, you don’t need salt to can it.

Now that you know how to make broth, your possibilities are endless!

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