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Many of your recipes call for vegetable or chicken broth. Do you use store-bought or homemade broth?

While some people like to only use homemade broth, I think that high-quality store-bought broth works great and is very convenient. Broth is available in either cans or aseptic packages. While I like the aseptically packaged broth better because it seems to have a longer shelf life when stored in the refrigerator than the cans of broth, aseptic packaging (poly-coated paperboard) is still more difficult to recycle than cans. However, the number of MCDB (Milk Carton and Drink Box) recycling facilities that handle aseptic packaging is growing fairly rapidly in the United States, and I believe this is a trend that will continue.

If possible, look for broth that is organic and doesn't contain preservatives or artificial additives. I also like using low-sodium versions as this allows you to adjust the salt profile in the recipe. Regarding storage, once opened the broth can be stored in the refrigerator; I suggest following the directions on the package. You can also pour the broth into ice cube trays and store in the freezer; the broth will last longer and you can have a convenient way to use it in the future.

If you'd like to make homemade vegetable broth, here's a recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 large carrot (scrubbed and cut into ½ inch slices)
  • 2 large celery stalks (cut into ½ inch slices)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (cut into large pieces)
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley (left whole)
  • 8 cups of filtered water

Optional ingredients: 4-5 cloves garlic (that have been pressed with the flat side of a knife), ½ tsp sea salt, ½ cup tomato sauce (for tangy broth), any stems you have left over from cooking vegetables (e.g., kale, collards, chard, etc.)

Directions

  • Place vegetables, herbs, and any optional ingredients in a large stockpot filled with cold water.
  • Cover pot and bring to a boil. It's important to cover the vegetables with water before heating, so that the nutrients from the vegetables will go into the water.
  • When broth boils, reduce heat to low and continue cooking, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It's important to keep the pot covered during this time so the broth won't evaporate.
  • Once it's cooled, strain the broth, and place broth in an airtight container, storing it in either the refrigerator (where it will keep for several days) or freezer (where it will keep for several months). Discard the cooked vegetables and other remaining ingredients.

If you want to make chicken broth, add two to three pounds of chicken (cut up into serving pieces) at the beginning of the recipe. Increase the cooking time to two hours.

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