compost soup – how to make vegetable broth from food scraps

Veggie broth (or Compost Soup as I like to call it) has been one of my favourite low waste swaps. The cost savings are small, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of (kind of literally) wringing every last drop of goodness out of the produce I buy. Using food waste to create new food is kind of poetic. I simply store (most of the) the veggie scraps from food prep in a bag in my freezer and whip up a batch of broth when it’s full. I reuse a plastic bread bag for this, because yep, I still buy sandwich bread in plastic. While I enjoy making bread, I simply can’t make everything from scratch, all of the time.


What to Save

  • peelings from carrots, potatoes, squash, ginger, turmeric, etc
  • onion and garlic skins and bottoms
  • broccoli stems
  • cauliflower bits
  • tops/ends of celery, carrots, herbs
  • mushrooms stems

You can really add anything you want, based on your tastes and what you have available. Be sure that your produce is clean and chop up the larger bits. Avoid too much of anything with a strong taste as it can overpower your broth. I’m not a big fan of kale stems or bell peppers in mine. I also have a celery allergy, so I omit this soup staple. Oh, and beets will make everything a terrible colour, so best to avoid those too!


What to Do (Stovetop and Instant Pot Directions)

  • You can sauté an onion and garlic in the stock pot first, but I have been skipping this step lately and it comes out fine.
  • Add the scraps to your stock pot or Instant Pot and cover with water.
  • Throw in some additional bits and bobs to add to the flavour – I like salt, bay leaves, some dried seaweed, and a handful of peppercorns.
  • Stovetop: bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-4 hours.
  • Instant Pot: set to Manual – High Pressure for 30-40 minutes with a natural release.
  • Choose your cook time for either method based on how strong you want the flavour to be.

(I have a video version of both methods saved on my Instagram highlights as well)

How to Store Your Broth

Let broth cool, then strain and pour into jars. Allow jars to cool completely before refrigerating or freezing. It lasts about a week in the fridge and about 6 months in the freezer. Be sure to give your jars time to defrost from the freezer to avoid cracking.

You might also want to freeze it in ice cube trays or muffin tins before transferring to a larger container or bag if you want smaller amounts to use.

What to Make with Your Broth

My favourite recipes using this broth are:

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup from Host the Toast

Vegan Ramen with Creamy Sesame Broth from Cilantro and Citronella

Cream of Tomato Soup (with Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons from Oh She Glows


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