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How to Make Vegetable Broth

Homemade vegetable broth is a blank canvas for your favorite soups and stews. It’s also perfect for sipping on a chilly winter day. Basic vegetable broth calls for carrots, celery, and onion, though you can add any other vegetables or aromatics you have hanging out in the fridge or on the counter. Mushrooms, parsnips, green onion, corn cobs, ginger, and garlic can all be added to boost flavor without being overpowering. Fresh herbs, like parsley or thyme, add wonderful flavor, as well. It’s a great way to make good use of produce that may otherwise go to waste.

One of the big advantages to making your own broth is controlling the ingredients. Store bought broth tends to be high in sodium and may contain added flavors and sugar. Homemade broth calls for just a handful of basics, no fillers or preservatives necessary. Here, we’re using the Perfectly Imperfect carrots, celery, and onion from this week’s rescues. This batch makes about 2 quarts (8 cups). It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

If you try making vegetable broth with your own PIP vegetables, we’d love to see! Don’t forget to snap a photo, post it to social, and tag us @perfectlyimperfectproduce!

How to Make Vegetable Broth

Active time: 15 Min.

Total time: 60 Min.

Yield: 8 cups


3-4 Perfectly Imperfect large carrots

3-4 Perfectly Imperfect celery ribs

1 Perfectly Imperfect large onion

6 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

2 bay leaves

10 cups cold water

Optional: Fresh herbs, vegetable scraps


Step 1: Cut the carrots (no need to peel), celery, and onions into 1-inch pieces. Smash the garlic cloves and peel (keep whole).

Step 2: Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and sauté for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring often.

Step 3: Stir in the salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Broth will be very lightly salted. Add more salt to taste or keep as-is for more versatility in cooking later. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Set a fine mesh strainer over a large glass measuring bowl. Strain the broth into the bowl. You could use the scraps to think up your soup later.

Step 5: Divide the broth into large glass mason jars. Lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

To freeze broth: Allow the broth to cool completely, then divide the broth into freezer safe zip-top bags or lidded plastic containers. Be sure to allow some room as the broth will expand as it freezes. Using glass containers is risky as they may shatter. Use within 6 months for best flavor.

Watch How to Make It

By Carolyn Hodges, MS, RDN


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