I love all the new ways people are getting more involved in their kitchens now that most of us are spending more time at home. While I did not get onto the sourdough starter bandwagon, I did make my own cold brew, whip up dalogna coffee, bake lots of banana bread, try at home ramen, and my own 3 hour bolognese (that I affectionately call drunken bolognese). I'm still planning on venturing into the focaccia arena soon.
My point? Our collective 2020 kitchen is all about trying new things! You're at home, you've got a kitchen, may as well use it!
Most recently I started saving veggie scraps and made my own vegetable broth. It took a freezer gallon bag of scraps, 45 minutes, and some water - I got about 4 cups of veggie broth out of it. The fun part? You can experiment with different vegetables and seasoning because at the end of the day its water + some stuff you would have thrown away anyhow.
Through some not so extensive google "research" - I learned two important things:
The difference between stock and broth is that broth is seasoned. That could mean you literally just added some salt and pepper at the end or it could mean you added a dried chile pepper or a few sprigs of thyme.
Vegetable broth is apparently supposed to have three key ingredients that you build off of (onion, celery, carrot)
What I learned from my own experience making veggie broth
Add twice the amount of liquid you want to end up with. I store mine in a large mason jar so I pour two mason jars full of water over the veggie scraps
You don't actually have to have the exact "essential" or traditional veggie broth ingredients. Keep reading to see what I used!
I prefer broth over stock
Veggie broth (like chicken broth) is a nice savory alternative to tea
Get out a gallon sized freezer bag and over the course of a week or a few weeks (depending on how long it takes) instead of throwing away veggie scraps, add them to the bag. Some examples: onion butts and skins, carrot tops, celery tops, butternut squash peel, fennel scraps, green bean scraps, squash ends, etc etc etc... Avoid bitter vegetables like cabbage, asparagus, and brussel sprouts.
Once you have a bag filled with odds and ends, heat a tablespoon of oil or butter in a large stock pot or dutch oven. If you don't have onion in your baggie, I would suggest cutting some fresh onion. Add the bag of veggies to the dutch oven and lightly saute until defrosted and fragrant, this will bring out more flavor in the broth.
Add in double the amount of liquid you want to end up with or at least enough to cover all the veggie scraps.
Add in salt + pepper to taste. Also add in whatever herbs (rosemary, thyme) or other seasoning you want to experiment with (a dried pepper, some dried mushrooms, a slice of lemon, drop of honey) - this can be as simple or complex as you want!
Let it simmer on low for 45 minutes, partially covered.
Strain out the veggies and pour your broth into a jar! Refrigerate.