Sounds gross, but it's not! In this post from Alexa, you'll learn how to make veggie broth from compost bound scraps, and tips on how to use it in a tasty fall root veggie soup.
No matter the type of waste, be it plastic, textile, electronic or food, there are always ways to create less of it, and make things last longer or go farther. Food waste is a complex multifaceted issue, but at home, there are lots of simple ways to reduce food waste while also saving money.
I cook with lots of fresh veggies regularly thanks to my farm share from Old Furrow Farm, supported by Wolfville Farmers Market 2Go. I love getting a mix of different produce weekly because it challenges me to cook new recipes with what I have and I get to support awesome local farmers (shoutout to Courtney & Adam)!
Whenever I'm cooking up a meal, I keep a bowl by my cutting board and collect the veggie scraps so I can reuse them for homemade veggie broth later. This veggie broth (or what I call, compost soup) is great for making soups, cooking quinoa and other legumes in too! If I didn't save these scraps, they'd be put into my backyard composter straight away. But, rather than that, I follow the simple recipe below to get a bit more out of these scraps before I compost them.
I keep a container or two in my freezer that I fill with veggie scraps regulairly. Once the containers are full, I know that it's go time for a batch of veggie broth.
Some things to keep in mind when collecting scraps for broth:
Make sure everything is cleaned well (you wouldn't eat dirfty food);
No rotten or mouldy bits (nothing you wouldn't eat);
Limit the amount starchy and bitter veggies (like potatoes, kale, broccoli, etc);
Try to use a variety of scraps from different veggies, herbs and fruits (I like throwing in apple cores and always use onion and garlic skins and scraps);
Every broth will turn out different depending on what you put into it and the proportions you use.
Making the Broth
1) Once you've collected enough scraps, simply add them into a blancher pot and fill with water. Blancher pots have a second insert with holes for easy straining. This is not necessary but does make things a whole lot easier than sifting bits out afterwards. You can still use a regular pot and strain the scraps out afterwards.
2) Now that your pot is filled, bring your "compost soup" to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for around 45 minuets. The timing is flexible, I've boiled mine from 30 minutes to 2 hours and it doesn't seem to make too much of a difference. The longer you leave it, the more things breakdown, the more potent your broth is.
The scraps should look like this when it's done:
3) Let your "compost soup" cool for around 10 minutes. If you're using a blancher pot, remove the insert and drain remaining liquids with. If you don't, let the broth cool for a bit longer before straining out the scraps. It's best to not leave the scraps soaking for too once you remove the pot from the heat.
4) Let the broth cool for around a half hour before pouring into jars. It will still be VERY hot so please be careful!
5) Let the broth cool completely before closing the lid and either refrigerating or freezing. It will last about a month in the fridge.
While I already had the stove going when I made this batch, I figured I'd use some of the broth in a simple root veggie soup. Here's how I used the broth ...
Root Veggie Soup
Making soups can be so much fun once you learn the basics of soup making. Heres what you'll need for the start of any good soup:
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
4 cups homemade veggie broth
4 cups veggies of choice, diced (here I used, carrots, beets, turnips and potato)
Herbs of choice, to taste (here I used freshly chopped rosemary, oregano and thyme)
Salt and pepper, to taste
The process is simple
1) In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat
2) Add in garlic and onion, cook until fragrant, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
3) Add in your veggies and stock. Stir well. Bring to a boil.
4) Once boiled, reduce to a simmer over low heat, add in your herbs and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 45 minutes or so, stirring regularly.
5) From there, turn the burner to the lowest setting.
6) Next, use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it's about 85% smooth (I like a bit of chunk to my soup - if you don't, you can go to 100%... it's all a perefence thing). You can also use a regular blender for this too, removing the mixture and blending in batches before returning to the pot.
7) Here's your chance to trouble shoot. Taste the soup and ask your self: Does this need more flavor? Maybe more salt? Maybe pepper? Sometimes spice can be nice, try adding cayenne or ginger. It's all up to you!
8) Serve and garnish with fresh green onions or chives (if you wish) and enjoy!
Here's how my final root veggie soup turned out:
Founder, Executive Director
Alexa is the founder and director of Stop Trashing It. They're originally from Montreal and moved to Nova Scotia in 2013 to pursue a long-standing passion for ocean conservation. Alexa has a BSc in Marine Biology and Environmental Sustainability and Society (ESS) and a Masters in Marine Management from Dalhousie University. On their downtime, you are likely to find Alexa outdoors, probably hiking the coastline or in her garden, doing yoga, hanging out with friends, or scuba diving, which is her lifelong passion. Alexa is an established regional expert on abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) commonly called 'ghost gear', and works closely with the fishing industry, academia, non-profit organizations and indigenous groups. As a Sustainable Oceans Alliance Youth Leader, Alexa continues to inspire and motivate others to take action in doing better for our ocean, and was nominated as one of Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25.