A tutorial on how to make nutrient rich chicken or vegetable broth in a slow cooker using kitchen scraps.
In celebration of Earth Day later this week, I’ve decided to share with you a sustainable recipe for homemade broth using leftover kitchen scraps! It’s the perfect way to use up all of those “butts” of vegetables, chicken carcasses (in case you have a few lying around) and other kitchen scraps that you would probably throw away normally. I like to think it helps me do my part to reduce food waste just a little bit, plus it’s an inexpensive and healthy alternative to store-bought broths that can be filled with sodium!
Apparently bone broth is the new ‘it’ thing. Although, really it’s been around forever. And if you are a part of the online health and wellness community at all, you’ve probably seen at least one article touting the multiple health benefits of bone broth. If you haven’t, here are a few common ones: detox, gut healing, relieves arthritis, youthful skin, energy boosting, sleep better, immune support, improve your memory, blah, blah, blah. It’s like every Dr. Oz health claim combined into one. Oh please.
Basically, here’s the deal people. No one food is a cure-all, and all of these claims certainly are not true. Why? Because science. There is no scientific evidence that bone broth can do any of these things. Well, actually, there is one claim that is backed by science. Chicken broth (or any other hot liquid) has been proven to help decrease upper respiratory symptoms by loosening and clearing out mucous faster. All health claims aside, bone broth still contains plenty of nutrients and is a kitchen staple that can be used in a million and one recipes. So it’s good to have around, and it is even better if you make it yourself.
You don’t have to use kitchen scraps, either. By all means, use the whole carrot if you want. I just happen to collect a lot of scraps for the particular purpose of making broth, and I’m trying to reduce food waste. The obvious ingredients are spare bones plus onion, carrot, and celery ends, but you can also use herb stems, leek or green onion ends, and even the rind of hard cheeses, such as parmesan. My aunt taught me that one, and it makes the broth extra rich!
Making the broth is very simple. (If your bones aren’t cooked already, roast them for about 30 minutes to bring out the flavor.) Just bundle all of your scraps, including onion, celery, carrot, and herbs with your bones, some pepper corns, a couple cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, and a cheese rind (optional) into a cheesecloth. Then add to a slow cooker with a little glug of apple cider vinegar, fill to the top with water, and simmer on low all day long. When it’s done, simply toss the scrap bundle, skim the fat (if you want), and pour into containers to use whenever you’d like! If you just want vegetable broth, you are more than welcome to omit the bones and cheese rind, of course.
If you’ve never made broth before give this ‘recipe’ a try. It’s an economical and delicious way to reduce food waste in your kitchen and have a healthier homemade staple right there in your refrigerator. And who knows, it could even bring world peace! (I joke.)
Delicious, nutrient rich chicken or vegetable broth using a slow cooker and kitchen scraps.
- Chicken or beef bones, cooked (omit for vegetable broth)
- Vegetable scraps such as onion, celery, and carrot
- Herb stems (cilantro, parsley, thyme, etc)
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cheese rind (optional)
- 2-4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Rinse vegetable scraps in a colander under running water.
- Wrap all ingredients in a large square of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine or another thin piece of cheesecloth. Place bundle in a large slow cooker. Add apple cider vinegar and fil to the top with water.
- Simmer on low 12-24 hours. Remove from heat and ladle into jars. Let cool about 30 minutes before storing. You may freeze some or place them all in the refrigerator in you will use broth quickly.