I have a tendency to clean out my mom’s fridge and freezer when she goes on vacation. By “clean” I mean that I use random scraps (parmesan rinds, bread crust) and ends of veggies (and sometimes fruit – like an apple!) that are nearing expiration and add this to the frozen bags of veggie ends, chicken bones, and whatever else I might be storing in her deep freezer to make an incredibly versatile broth for soups, rehydrating beans, sauces – you name it.
Pretty much anything aromatic can go into broth: onion ends, cabbage core, carrot tops, radish greens, stems of Rosemary. It can be something edible that you don’t have the time to cook down – like that kale that overwintered – and it can be something inedible, such as the turkey bones from Thanksgiving. You don’t have to go this wild, but last time, I included some freezer-burned chorizo that had been mocking me, uneaten, in my mom’s freezer whenever I went down to her basement to grab something.
Toss everything together in a giant pot, add some salt (start with just a pinch, but you can add more later), assorted herbs or spices (bay leaves if you’ve got them, though not required), and cover with water. Bring to a boil (watch it here, as I always boil it over) and simmer until it tastes good, at least 2 hours. If you’ve got bones in there, let it go longer.
Once you like the way the broth tastes, turn off the heat. Line a colander with cheesecloth and place over a large heatproof container such as another large pot. Be careful! Pour the contents into the colander so that only the liquid remains after filtering. If your stock base is only veggies (no cheese, bones, oil, or meat) toss those remaining solids right into your compost. Distribute the broth to smaller containers and cool/refrigerate or freeze.
Note, I freeze jars tipped on an angle to minimize breakage because I’m not always paying attention to the “freeze line” on jars.
Homemade broth is one of the most delicious and easiest ways to minimize food waste in your house. Soon you’ll have cleaned out your freezer, everyone else’s freezer, and will be offering to prep the veggies or take home the turkey bones from that next dinner party. I’ll arm wrestle you for it.
Disclaimer: Fridge scavenging is not always for the food safety faint of heart. If you’re concerned, read more here.