Zero Waste Nourishing Vegetable Broth

Those yam ends are crying in your waste basket.


Just kidding. But seriously, have you ever watched someone cook and cringed at how much they took off the end of the yam and threw out? 

I have. It boggles my mind that 2 inches of the 8 inch long yam is just gone because there was a millimetre of dirt or dried out end on it. At that rate, it would mean that 1 out of every 4 yams you were just throwing out.

Maybe I'm a complete food nerd to even be thinking of these things, but not wasting food has been something I'm passionate about for a long time.

Even in my cooking experiments I've completely botched, I eat. I can only think of two times where I threw it out because it was that inedible: one where I added waaaay too much spirulina to a smoothie and was gagging trying to get it down; the second was a turnip soup experiment where some combination of what I did just made my stomach turn.

The rest, I've sucked it up and eaten. 

The United Nations reports that roughly one third of the food produced for human consumption gets lost or wasted each year


That's just insane, particularly with the amount of people that go hungry every year. 

And we have the power to change that. 

Now I'm not suggesting that you making this zero waste broth is the solution to this problem, but what I am saying is that every persons actions and decisions make an impact in the larger picture. We initiate change by taking one step at a time, and my invitation is to embrace this delicious and nutritious option as one of your steps. 

This is my zero waste vegetable broth hack: save all of your organic food waste material that you've chopped off and instead put it in a container in the freezer. Once the container is full, you create a delicious and nourishing vegetable broth that you can use in hundreds of recipes. 

I recommend only using organic produce or food you know hasn't been sprayed with chemicals because boiling in hot water can make those chemicals soluble and easier to get in to your system, which defeats the purpose of doing this.


This is a great recipe to make if:

  • you can't stand food waste (that's me!);
  • you want to save money on your food bills;
  • you want to cut back on processed foods with added sodium;
  • you want easily digested and nourishing nutrients added in to every meal.


Ingredients & Directions


You can add anything to your vegetable broth, including:

  • onion skins (yes! The outsides!) and cut off ends
  • mushroom stems (like shiitake stems that are too tough to eat)
  • kale stems
  • garlic skins and stems
  • jalapeno insides (careful - it might make it spicy!)
  • zucchini ends
  • carrot tops 
  • squash seeds
  • ginger and turmeric bits (left over from grating)
  • nettle stems (they're too tough to eat)
  • potato skins
  • green bean ends
  • any other vegetable left-overs you have!

What don't I put in my vegetable broth?

  • Fruit skins
  • Anything non-organic


Find a one litre container that can be sealed and is safe in the freezer. As you accumulate food scraps, add the organic pieces to your container in the freezer until it's packed full. Then,

  • Add the food scraps to approximately 4 litres of water in a large pot.
  • Bring the water and food scraps to a boil, covered.
  • Add 1-2 tsps of sea salt (optional) to enhance the flavour. 
  • Simmer the mixture, covered, for at least 20 minutes.
  • Taste test, add more salt if you wish. The longer your boil it, the stronger it will become. 
  • Strain the vegetables out so it's just a liquid left.
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days, or store in your freezer for up to 6 months. 

My favourite ways to use the broth

  • to make rice or quinoa
  • to make risotto
  • to make miso soup
  • in any soup or stew stock base
  • a water or chicken/beef broth replacement in any savoury dish