This easy slow cooker vegetable broth will ensure you never buy broth from the grocery store again. I was astounded when I realized that I could make my own broth. This is an eco-friendly way to manage food scraps from your weekly meals and make something new with little to no effort.
The organic vegetable broth in our area is priced around $4 for 32 ounces. Most soups take up the entire 32 ounces if not more. This makes for a very costly soup recipe. I was relieved to find a simple way to make my own vegetable broth using what I already had that I would normally throw in the trash.
We predominately make our own vegetable broth but the great thing about homemade broth is that you can customize it to your personal taste. You can add meat and bone scraps to make meat-based broths. You can also customize the salt content and seasonings.
Collect & Store Vegetables for broth
The beauty of this is you do not need a recipe. It’s that simple! Simply gather vegetables that are not used from your meals and store them until you are ready to cook your easy slow cooker vegetable broth. Depending on how much vegetables you eat on a weekly basis, your storage process may look different.
if you eat a lot of vegetables
If you eat a variety of vegetables throughout the week in large quantities, you are the perfect candidate for making homemade broth! Collect these vegetable scraps and place them in a large metal bowl with a lid and store it in the fridge until the end of the week to create your broth. Once you have a large bowl full of vegetable scraps you are ready to make your broth.
To ensure the vegetables do not grow mold, I would also recommend including a paper towel at the top and bottom of the bowl to collect excess moisture. This has been a lifesaver for me and those difficult produce items that tend to mold quickly.
Average Consumption of Vegetables
Our consumption of vegetables ranges depending on the season. However, we generally try to have a variety of vegetables each week to accompany our dinners and lunches. If you do not have enough vegetables by the end of the week routinely to make your broth, then you can store the scrap vegetables in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer. Keep filling up the bag with your vegetable scraps until you have a full bag. Then you are ready to make your homemade vegetable broth.
Type of Vegetables for Vegetable Broth
This is the most fun part of all. Whatever you have can go into your homemade vegetable broth. I have placed just about every vegetable and some fruit into my freezer bag. Here are a few of the staples that I use to make my easy slow cooker vegetable broth:
- Brussel sprouts (strong taste)
- Red pepper
- Green pepper
- Green beans
- Green or purple cabbage (mindful of the color impact)
What Seasonings Should I Add
If you are a fan of garlic, like myself, this is a slam dunk choice. Otherwise here are some other great choices that go great in most soups:
- Bay leaf
- Rosemary (go light on this potent herb)
Remember, you can use whatever you prefer. If you know you cook more Italian style dishes with your vegetable broth, add some complementary spices like basil, oregano, parsley, and rosemary. Taste the broth as you add more seasonings to ensure that you do not over season.
If you are unsure what you will use the broth for, keep it simple when it comes to spices. Stick with the basic garlic and bay leaf. You can never go wrong with these two. Also, you should know that you can always add seasonings when you make soups or other dishes. So do not worry if you did not season your broth in a certain way.
Add the salt! You will need salt. Be generous with the salt as it will bring out the flavors of the vegetable broth.
Need more ideas for what to add, check out the Pioneer Woman’s vegetable broth recipe.
Making the Slow cooker Vegetable Broth
This is the easiest part. Once you have your bowl or bag full of vegetables, you are ready to make broth. All you have to do is add all the food scraps into your slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker with water until the water reaches just to the top of the scraps.
Cook on low or high depending on your slow cooker settings. I generally cook on low for 8 hours. It’s that simple. No effort involved at all and you have homemade broth at no cost. You’ve already spent the money to make other meals. It’s truly the best way to get your money’s worth from your groceries.
After the time has expired, add your seasonings. Then strain the broth using a fine-mesh strainer into freezer-safe containers to store until you are ready to use the broth. I prefer to use glass mason jars.
Storage of the Slow cooker Vegetable Broth
If you know you are using the broth within a week for a recipe, store it in the fridge. Otherwise this broth stores great in the freezer. I generally fill large wide-mouth mason jars filled 2/3 of the way to prevent cracking.
Make sure to let the broth cool completely to room temperature before placing the mason jars filled with vegetable broth into the freezer. This will help you avoid unexpected accidents in the freezer.
When you are ready, pull out the number of jars of broth that you need for your recipe, the day or two before and you are ready for cooking. If the broth is not fully thawed out by the time you are ready to cook, you can defrost the broth in the microwave. Another great reason to use glass jars instead of plastic. You can avoid those pesky chemicals when you reheat your broth in the microwave.
You can store the jars of vegetable broth in the freezer for a very long time. The longer you leave the jars of vegetable broth in the freezer, the broth will become prone to frostbite. It’s broth though, so it may only impact the taste of the broth slightly.
I find that I use more vegetable broth containers during the Winter than in the Summer season because winter is predominately our soup season. However, the Summer season is a great time to collect those vegetable scraps in preparation for your vegetable broth. I generally have 1-2 bags of ready to stew vegetables on any given day.