Updated: Sep 12
My tips, process and favorite ingredients for making healthy vegetable broth at home - with some herbal allies to include for boosting immunity, aiding with digestion, and soothing the nervous system.
Broth is used in so many different recipes and thus is a wonderful way to sneak healthy foods and herbal remedies into your every day cooking.
If you haven't made your own vegetable broth before, I hope that you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it can be. I never follow an exact recipe but use the same process each time. The vegetables you use are totally up to you, but I'll share some of my favorites for flavor and some great herbs and foods to mix in for more health benefits.
The Broth Making Process
Broth making is pretty straightforward. When you're ready to make your broth all you have to do is take any vegetables or vegetable scraps that you are planning on using in your broth and place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with water until all the vegetables are submerged. Put the pot on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Once the water/veggie mix has come to a boil reduce heat to low and simmer covered for at least 2 hours. Some times if I have time I will let mine go 3-4 hours just to let more flavor sink in.
When you're done cooking your broth, strain the liquid into a large bowl to cool and discard any scraps (if you compost like me, just throw your scraps right into your bin). When your broth has cooled you can portion into freezer containers to use later or store in the fridge to start using right away.
Pro Tip: Freeze Your Veggie Scraps
As you cook throughout the month, you can place any vegetable scraps you are not going to use into a bag in the freezer. Once the bag is full, you know it's time to make broth. I love saving scraps like potato peels, the ends of the onions, carrot greens, etc. Anything that you cook with but don't use all of, try adding the leftovers to your bag!
My Favorite Vegetables to Use in Broth
Here are some of my favorite vegetables to use in my broths for flavor:
any herb stems (basil, thyme, oregano)
Give Your Broth Purpose - Healthy Herbal Additions
Want to get creative with your broth and make it into an immune booster for winter months? Perhaps make it into more of a digestive aid? Or add some herbs that will help ease stress? Here's some ideas of foods and herbs that you can easily add to your broth for different outcomes:
Additions For Nervous System Support:
lion's mane mushrooms (nervous system tonic)
tulsi (aka holy basil - adaptogen - please note: tulsi may interfere with blood glucose regulation - those with diabetes should only take under guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner)
lemon balm (nervine)
Additions For Immune System Support:
shiitake mushrooms (immunomodulant)
turkey tail mushrooms (antiviral, immunomodulant)
Additions For Digestive System Support:
ginger (carminative and anti-inflammatory)
rosemary (digestive tonic and antispasmodic)
fennel (anti-inflammatory and ant-spasmodic)
These are all considered generally safe foods/herbs and should be fairly easy to find at your local grocery store, health food store, herbal shop or to grow in your garden at home. I also tried to provide suggestions that will provide these benefits and taste good with your other broth components, but know that there are many many more herbs out there that could also be used for these benefits.
Don't Be Afraid To Get Creative!
Make a batch of broth you weren't fond of? That happens. Don't let it keep you from trying again. Try to identify what flavors were throwing your batch off and then next time use less or none of those vegetables/herbs and maybe try adding something new.
Let us know in the comments if this post was helpful, or share some of your favorite ingredients to add to your homemade vegetable broth!
*Please note: suggestions on this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and should not be used to replace treatment or care from a medical provider. If you are unsure if a suggestion on this post is safe or right for you, speak to your primary healthcare practitioner.