Nutritive Herbal Vegetarian Broth

veg broth“Good broth can resurrect the dead.” ~South American proverb

For years, I made chicken bone broth for its gut healing benefits, and while it made me feel good then, these days it just feels heavy to me. For my vegetable broth, I use rinsed eggshells for added calcium and minerals, so it isn’t vegan but it’s delicious and vegetarian.

As I cook all my meals, I save certain veggie scraps in a gallon size plastic bag in the freezer. The ends of onions, carrot peels, broccoli stalks, celery leaves … basically anything that would taste good in a soup. When I have a few bags full, I pull out the cauldron (ok, ok, it’s really a 20 quart stockpot) and it’s broth-making time.

I like to add medicinal herbs as well as culinary herbs, so the broth has more health benefits in addition to good flavor. The burdock and dandelion roots give an earthy, almost mushroomy flavor, and the oat straw and nettles just blend right in brightly with the rest of the greens.

The bay leaves come from my friend’s bay laurel tree in her front yard. Every two years or so, I go over to her house and snip a few big branches, hang to dry, remove the leaves once dry, and voila: a two-year supply of bay leaves!

All measurements are approximations, as I eyeball things and just add a sprinkle of this or that.

I omit the salt during the cooking process, as I find some of the flavor gets lost during cooking anyway. Be sure to salt to taste after straining, when ready to serve. I personally like a good amount of quality sea salt to bring out all the delicate flavors.

veg broth jars

Ingredients:

  • Water, filtered or alkaline/ionized
  • Assorted veggie scraps (including carrots, celery, onion, broccoli stalks, kale stalks, cauliflower leaves, cilantro, tomatoes, and squash seeds), two gallon size bags full
  • At least a dozen rinsed eggshells
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar to pull more calcium out of the eggshells
  • Peeled garlic cloves, about a dozen medium sized
  • Fresh ginger root, 4 inch piece cut into medallions
  • 4 large bay leaves
  • 30 black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp eleuthero/Siberian ginseng (energy)
  • 2 tsp astragalus (immune system support)
  • 1 tsp milk thistle (liver support)
  • 1 Tbsp passionflower (nervous system support/calming)
  • 10 dried rosehips (vitamin C)
  • 1 Tbsp motherwort (nervous system support/calming)
  • 2 tsp burdock root (liver support)
  • 2 tsp dandelion root (kidney support)
  • 1 Tbsp oat straw (calcium and minerals)
  • 1 Tbsp stinging nettle (detox and allergies, and no, it doesn’t make the broth sting!)
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients in a 20 quart stockpot. Fill with water a few inches from the top. If you have only a smaller pot, just adjust the ratios of everything to fit your pot.
  2. Bring to a boil (it will take a while in a 20 quart pot!), then reduce to simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Strain the broth (I ladle it out into a strainer over a bowl with a pouring spout), and store in glass jars, or whatever container works best for you.
  4. Refrigerate for up to a week, then transfer to freezable container and freeze. Can also use plastic freezer bags frozen flat on their sides on a baking sheet, then stored upright slid next to each other like books on  a shelf.
  5. When thawing, make sure to thaw in a large bowl if you used plastic freezer bags, as there may be microscopic tears in the bag that make your lovely broth leak all over the counter (ask me how I know this …).
  6. Reheat on stove and add sea salt to taste.

Note: If you don’t have all the herbs I have listed above, don’t sweat it. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got, and it make it your own!

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