Smarter Soup Eats: Save Those Scraps

You can save money and eat healthier by making your own veggie broth. Step it up a notch and make it by using leftover veggie scraps. Not only will your broth have a nice, rich flavor, you'll also be cutting down on waste.

Whenever I cook with vegetables, I put the scraps into a big plastic bag to make a broth with at the end of the week. Potato, parsnips, and carrot peelings, the outer layers of cabbage, and the tops of onions and celery stalks, always make an excellent base. I have a separate bowl that all my veggie scraps go into while I'm cooking, and during cleanup I just dump everything into the plastic bag. Depending on how soon I'll use the scraps, I keep them in the refrigerator or the freezer.

To make the broth, add the scraps and more than enough water to cover them into a pot, and let that simmer for about an hour. I usually add enough water to cover the vegetables and will also throw in some sea salt, garlic, and fresh herbs. Some people also like to add a touch of butter to the mix just to give the broth the same kind of rich mouth-feel you get from a meat broth. Once it's done cooking, simply strain the broth and store it in your refrigerator or freezer. If you don't have enough veggie scraps, don't worry. You can always add carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes to the scraps to fill out your ingredient base.

Having homemade broth is a must in my household — it has much less salt and fat than the store bought kind, and it's way cheaper. You can use it as a base for soup, gravy, or risotto, and it also adds flavor to stir-frys and sauces.