As I am the kind of person
who would like to live in the middle of a deserted forest with my own private arsenal of weaponry and booby-trapped land features, oops, er, I mean self-sufficient, and embracing a whole foods independent lifestyle, I have noticed that a great deal of my Vegetarian cookbooks ask for the use of vegetable broth. Its becoming a staple in my kitchen. SO naturally, I might begin to wonder if there is a home-made method I might implement and so avoid having to buy it pre-packaged from the store. Yes, yes everyone knows that to make vegetable broth, one boils the veggies, then throws them out, keeping only the broth.
This idea of throwing food out has always bothered my frugal self. Same thing goes for throwing away the pulp when making juice. WHY do this?
I thought to myself, “I’ll just google homemade broth powder and the results will be numerous and easy. Seems easy enough. But now I wonder if Google hates me, or else there is nobody in the world making their own broth powder? I found at best 3 sites, none of which met my needs. Then, of all things wonderful, I found a WordPress blogger, who had done exactly the thing I was aiming for. Here is a link to that persons excellent and tasteful blog post. Go check it out.
With my fellow blogger to boost my confidence, (I learned a thing or two) I made my first batch of broth powder. I winged it, as they say. Using only intuition gleaned from bits and pieces of this and that.
Are you ready for the math?
1 package of store-bought organic broth costs roughly $3 and yields 6 cups of broth. Store bought broth may or may not contain useless ingredients like sugar cane and anti-caking agents. Once opening said broth it must be kept in the fridge and used up by a deadline.
My organic broth powder cost me roughly $15 and it yields 120 cups of broth, it can be stored outside of the fridge. In order to get 120 cups of store-bought broth I would have had to pay $60. YAY! I think it’s a win in the frugal self-sufficiency department.
Items you will need to make this broth powder:
Food Dehydrator (many department stores sell these for around $40-$50)
Mortar & Pestle
a good chopper-upper like a Vita-Mix
Heres is the
2 Green Peppers
6 Celery Stalks
1/2 a large Onion
1/2 a Leek
4 Garlic Cloves
6 pieces of Dry Kelp (kombu) about 5″ long
4 Tablespoons Arrowroot starch powder
4 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
4 Teaspoons Dried Basil
2 Teaspoons Fresh Dill
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
12 Tablespoons of Salt plus 2 teaspoons of salt (no need to grind it if it’s already granular)
All those ingredients listed above will turn into 3 cups worth of powder when we are done.
Heres how to make it:
Step 1 Slice up your veggies according to the directions for your food dehydrater. thoroughly dehydrate everything, including the fresh herbs. Pay special attention to the carrots. Sometimes carrots look dehydrated but they really aren’t. This may take a couple of days as not everything may fit all at once in the dehydrator.
Step 2 Using your mortar and pestle, pound and grind the daylights outa all the veggies after they are dry. Also grind all your spices. I cheated just a little. I did a quick initial chop in my food processor just to get it into a basic uniform shape. But I wouldn’t process further than that because I don’t need the heat of the metal blade further destroying my vitamins. Dont cut corners on the bashing and pulverizing. The finer is your powder the more brothy the finished product will become and we want our broth to be clear without floaties in it. Use a sieve to separate the pulverized veggies from the little bits that still need grinding. Remember not to overfill the mortar. Small quantities are easiest to work with.
Step 3 Store your powder in an airtight container. I do not yet know if my powder will clump up in storage but if it does, I plan to use the same method that keeps brown sugar loose and un-clumped. That is: stick a piece of stale bread crust in the container. That always works.
1 level teaspoon = 1 cup of broth. Just add water and simmer briefly.
At the time of making this, I had some doubts about the quantity of salt to add. I did not want too much, nor too little. I arrived at my final quantity in this way: After completing everything except the salt, I added what I considered to be a frugal amount of salt. Then I brewed a teaspoon of powder into a cup of water and did a taste test. This process I repeated a few more times, increasing the salt content by ratios as I went, until my broth had a satisfying bouillon cube taste. It does occur to me now however, that if I wished to decrease my salt content further, I could increase my Kelp content as that is itself a salty item. But that may turn the broth greenish.
How did it hold up in the cooking? First I just put some water in the microwave and then added my powder into the hot liquid. It was tasty but it had a slight froth on top, nothing major. Next I tried putting 1 level teaspoon into a pan of 1 cup water and brought this to a simmer. The simmered batch became much clearer. It was evident that this powder works best when steeped like a good tea.