There’s something I have been meaning to share with you, and it’s time to just get to the point. In relation to the concepts of sustainability, green earth, preserving our resources and caring about our earth- there is ONE simple thing you can do that will cut your food budget as well as limit your level of food waste.
Make your own broths. This seems pretty simple, and believe me- it is! But just think about it, everytime you buy broths, you are buying something that is pre-packaged and has been sitting in a box for a certain amount of time (which you may not even know), it has ingredients that you may not know of and can’t verify and also, you are adding to the amount of garbage you go through, even if you do decide to recycle your containers. Making your own broths is really one of those easy, cost-effective, timeless things that you can do that can help to reduce your carbon footprint, and make your life more enjoyable. Understanding what your food is and how to use all of its parts is another way to tie you to the earth and increase your level of compassion for the earth, and for yourself. Oh! One more thing, it always tastes exponentially better, when you make it at home!
There are lots of different ways to make broths, and lots of different types of broths to make. If you eat meat and love to make soups, stews and curries- bone broths are a great way to start the dish. This is simply done by cooking the bones from the cuts of meat you buy (try to focus on buying organic, grass fed, local meat) in water for up to a few hours, in order to obtain all those wonderful minerals and vitamins that are in bones. Bone broth soups are probably one of the best things you can have when you are feeling under the weather or when the weather changes and your immunity needs a good booster!
I don’t eat meat, so I myself don’t focus on make bone broth soups, however I definitely am an advocate for them! If there’s one thing about eating meat, I argue that as long as you are conscious of the amount you eat, you know your vendor and focus on buying good quality meat over quantity- then of course, there are many benefits to eating meat. Also, I will argue that there is an abundance of nutritional density from bones that you simply cannot get from vegetables. Some of the key beneficial nutrients are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium & glucosamine. Another type of stock you can make is a seafood stock, with all the shells and scraps of seafood such as lobster & crab shells, prawn shell & fish bones. This is a great way to get the minerals and the flavor into a wonderful, beautiful broth base. Really, with any meat broths the focus is to use any bones or carcass (I used to flinch at that word, but I am becoming more used to using it in cooking- so I hope you will too;)) With bone broths- you want to cook it for quite a while, I recommend around 12-24 hours, so that you can get as much goodness out of the bones as possible (and this is how our ancestors did it). A key with making bone broths is to add vinegar, which will help in leaching out all of these minerals from the bones (this is one of those ‘tricks of the trade’ secrets in cooking and nutrition). Another great thing you can do is add dulse or kelp to the broths. This will increase the nutritional profile as well as increase the taste! I tend to add dulse to a lot of my dishes as a good substitute for salt or addition, as well as a good source of iodine.
That being said, I love making vegetable broths and they really are the easiest things to make. All you need to do is keep any scraps from your vegetables- and cook them in water before they totally wilt and go bad. Some of the best things to save for your vegetable broths are: beet greens, celery leaves/tops/scraps, carrot greens/tops, wilted greens that you don’t want to eat, & the stalks of greens (chard, kale, collards). You can even take the peels of some vegetables (if you have peeled your vegetables before cooking which I recommend you don’t do because there is SO much of the nutritional value in the peel) and add them into the stock. Really, the point to this is that you can use any and all vegetable trimmings and scraps to make your soup broth, it’s as simple as that. If you start your cooking off with something as simple as this, that you have prepared and can the witness to exactly how it was made and what is in it, you are setting yourself up for success! Not only are you showing your body that you love it, but you are also indirectly showing compassion to the world (I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s honestly true).
- Handful of arugula
- Handful of chard stalks and greens
- Handful of celery leaves
- Handful of beet greens
- Handful of vegetables almost expired in the fridge
- 5 cups filtered water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Combine all of your stock scraps and place them in a pot over medium-high heat with water
- Cook for around 1-3 hours (vegetable broths don’t need as long of a cooking time)
- Drain the stock from the vegetables (this is when you are finally done with the scraps and can get rid of them aka Compost;)
- Add your salt
- Store the stock in glass jars (mason jars are my favorite) and you can either freeze it or place it in the fridge
- A good pointer is to do this on Sunday, so that you have broth ready for your weeks’ cooking
So far I have used the broth to make a lentil pilaf, hummus, cauliflower & dill soup and curry! The options are endless and VERY exciting! GO wild!
What will you make with your broth?
A great resource on bone broths and vegetable broths is Todd Caldecott’s Food As Medicine. His book is a wonderful read, and I had the privilege of being taught by him at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and that will be an experience I am sure to never forget. Wonderful man with a wonderful spirit and love of life and planet earth.