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Make a Homemade Vegetable Broth Base and Stash it in the Freezer

Reconstitute it in boiling water for broth on the fly.

Published Mar. 24, 2022.

A good vegetable broth is an important ingredient to keep on hand for making soups, stews, risottos, and sauces, but supermarket offerings often don’t taste much like vegetables (some are even unpleasant-tasting), and traditional homemade versions are generally expensive and time-consuming to make.

Deputy Food Editor Andrea Geary has a terrific solution: Make your own vegetable broth concentrate that you can store in the freezer and reconstitute as needed.

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Her recipe, which makes enough for 7 quarts of broth, comes together easily: Just use a food processor to grind a selection of fresh, raw vegetables; salt; and savory ingredients to a paste.

Building a Balanced Broth

The key was finding a combination of vegetables that produced a broth that is unobtrusive but still had enough backbone to give a dish depth and complexity. Her carefully calibrated selection includes a few surprising choices:

  • Leeks provide mild allium flavor.
  • Dried minced onions support the fresh allium taste of the leeks. 
  • Carrots add sweetness and color.
  • Celery root offers mild yet complex celery undertones.
  • Parsley contributes grassiness.
  • Tomato paste and soy sauce give the mixture an umami boost. 

Kosher salt aids in grinding the vegetables, and, because salt depresses the freezing point of water, also keeps the base from freezing solid, making it easy to remove a spoonful at a time without ever having to thaw it.

From there, making broth is as simple as stirring the base into boiling water, using a ratio of 1 tablespoon of base to 1 cup of water. 

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