8 to 16 cups fresh or frozen vegetable scraps (see Notes)
herbs and spices (optional, see Notes)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
Wash hands with soap and water.
Put vegetable scraps and herbs and spices, if desired, in a large saucepan or cooking pot. Add enough water to cover them.
Heat pan on high until water boils, then cover pan and reduce heat. Simmer for at least 30 minutes or until all scraps are soft. Stir a few times and add more water, if needed, to keep scraps mostly covered.
Turn off heat. Scoop out as many scraps as you can with a spoon. If you want, press on scraps to remove more liquid. Throw away or compost them.
Fill a large container or clean sink with ice and some water to make an ice bath. Put pan into ice bath for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to release heat. If you were unable to remove all scrap pieces, pour broth through a strainer into another large pot.
Stir in salt to dissolve. Use broth for soups or stews, or in place of water for cooking grains or beans.
If not using broth right away, store in refrigerator or freezer. To freeze, pour into recipe-sized freezer-safe containers and label with date.
Broth can be stored safely in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. For best quality, use frozen broth within 2 to 3 months.
Label a freezer container with "Broth Scraps" and the date. For the next several days or weeks, after preparing vegetables for any use, save scraps in the container until you have enough for making broth. Also wash and save any vegetables that have passed their peak freshness but are still safe to eat.
Vegetable scraps to save include ends, peels, stems, leaves and pieces of vegetables and herbs such as carrot, celery, garlic, leek, mushroom, onion, tomato, parsley and thyme.
Vegetable scraps to limit or avoid:
Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and leafy greens can add a bitter flavor if too many are used.
Beets will add a dark color and bitter flavor.
Potato, sweet potato and winter squash flesh can make the broth too thick.
Scraps that are moldy, slimy or otherwise unsafe to eat should never be used.
Optional herbs and spices:
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 or 2 teaspoons peppercorns or a dried chile
4 to 8 cloves unpeeled garlic
1 leek or unpeeled onion, cut in large pieces (if not included as scraps)
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