When I think of BROTH a few things immediately come to mind:
- My grandmother’s broth – I used to walk into her house and the distinct smell of broth emanated throughout her house. She always made homemade broth, homemade everything actually. Why?
- Sodium! Most store-bought broths are typically high in sodium. In addition, many store-bought soups are also very high in sodium. What’s wrong with sodium anyway?
- Making broth is a time-consuming process and who has the time to prepare it? It’s just easier to purchase broth from the store to use in recipes. Right?
Let’s dive into each of these topics separately…
Grandma’s Homemade Broth
The smell of broth – whether vegetable, chicken, or beef – is a distinctive smell in many grandparents’ homes. Making meals from scratch was what our ancestors did. Unfortunately, it is not the norm today. But I believe that we are starting to turn that corner and return to some of the authentic ways of the past. We are realizing the nutritional value of cooking from scratch vs. take out and using overly processed ingredients from the grocery store. Cooking our own meals allows us to control what is actually going into our bodies. And many of us are now taking the time and making the effort to cook more and use locally sourced produce as much as possible.
Homemade Vegetable Broth Nutrition
As we know, vegetables are high in nutrition so vegetable broth must be as well! Vegetable broth contains a rich source of important nutrients to help our body function optimally, It aids in nutrient absorption and increasing our brain and body functions. Here are some of the most important benefits of vegetable broth. These benefits are mainly derived from a freshly prepared broth vs. store-bought broths:
- Homemade vegetable broth is a fantastic source of fiber and a great way to help manage our digestive system. It keeps us regular and eases our digestive process. As we age, this becomes even more important!
- Vegetable broth contains vitamin A that helps to improve the eyes, enhancing vision, and helping to avoid eye diseases such as glaucoma or cataract.
- The calcium from vegetables helps to strengthen the bones, helping to avoid osteoporosis and bone fractures. It optimizes bone function and helps with bone growth in children.
- Vegetable broth helps to maintain healthy skin, bringing smoothness and a distinctive glow. It also helps to avoid acne and any kind of skin inflammation.
- Vegetables can help to avoid cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke symptoms. It helps to maintain the cholesterol level inside the arteries, manage healthy blood circulation, and avoiding fat buildup inside arteries.
- Vegetable broth contains iron that helps to stimulate the formation of red blood cells, helping to avoid anemia, increase energy levels, and avoid tiredness.
- Homemade broth helps to manage body metabolism, optimizing nutrient absorption, and resulting in a lighter feeling.
- Vegetables, in general, help to detoxify the body and help with hormone circulation.
All of these positive impacts are derived from such a simple recipe of water, veggies, and herbs simmered on the stove for an hour or two!
So What is Sodium Anyway? Is it Salt?
Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in foods and/or is added during the production of foods. Naturally occurring sodium is in foods such as celery, beets, and milk. Packaged and prepared foods, especially soups, can have significant levels of sodium. More than 75% of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods.
Table salt, however, is a combination of about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. About 90% of the sodium we eat is in the form of sodium chloride. The rest comes from other forms of sodium like baking soda. These sodium-containing ingredients are used in food to preserve it, enhance the color, add taste, or give it a firmer texture.
According to the American Heart Association, healthy adults should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day — or 1,500 milligrams if you have high blood pressure or other risk factors for heart disease. That equates to about 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt per day.
Here are the top 6 sodium sources in most American diets:
- Bread and Rolls
- Cold Cuts and Cured Meats
- Burritos and Tacos
So what is the solution to reducing our sodium intake?
COOK and control what is going into your body! We can change our sodium intake and the quality of the vegetables by shopping locally, when possible, and cooking a little bit more. Sundays are a big cooking day at my house. I do a lot of cooking on Sundays and that food is used for a good portion of the week. Yes, this takes effort and time, depending on your recipes. So that leads us to the third thing that comes to mind when thinking about making broth or any meals…it takes time that people don’t have enough of.
Here are our HeartBeet Farms broth Nutritionals so you can see how the sodium levels are impacted by avoiding processed foods and taking the time to make simmer some veggies, herbs, and water on the stove!
Time is of the Essence
A few years ago, it was reported that over 60% of the American diet comes from ultra-processed foods. There are a few levels of processed foods, but after hearing this statistic why go any further to define processed foods? We are obviously consuming too many processed foods.
Placing a pot on the stove filled with delicious and nutritious veggies, herbs, and water does not need to be tended to every minute. You can easily get other things done including online work or housework while your broth is simmering! I wouldn’t leave the house with anything on the stove unless someone else can attend to it, but there are plenty of things you can get done inside the house while allowing a pot to simmer.
There is always a way…find it because your health depends on it!
We talked about sodium. A cup of store-bought vegetable broth may contain 540 milligrams of sodium. Is that what you want to start your homemade soup off with? Next time you are in the store, take a look at some packaged broth and soup labels. Bring awareness to the high levels of sodium that you may be ingesting. Yes, it is easier to open something with a can opener, put it on a pot to warm, or pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds. But easy does not always equal healthy.
If you have read this far, then I know that you care and want to make healthier changes for yourself and your family. It all starts with making one change. And that one change can be anything. Start small and build from there. Consult people who can help and guide you. Read and get educated from multiple sources. I don’t eat vegetables to make a claim that I am plant-based. I eat vegetables and grains because they make me feel good. They give me tons of energy to do the things I love to do. And when I feel good and am doing the things that make me happy, then life is a bit brighter and, frankly, more fun!
What’s in Our Vegetable Broth and Why?
Our broth contains onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, onion powder, garlic powder, and turmeric. Here are some of the benefits of each of our ingredients. However, you can create your own broth concoction that is created to help support a specific ailment, for weight loss, for immune deficiency, or just prepared with a specific taste or spice for your meals. You can reference this website to help you decide which vegetables are appropriate for your broth. But the best thing about cooking is experimenting! Have fun creating in the kitchen!
Heartbeet Farms Veggie Broth Ingredients
Celery is one of the highest foods containing vitamin C and antioxidants and is known as an immune system booster. You can add the entire celery from the root to the leaves! Celery is a key ingredient to most broths.
Carrots have a high amount of dietary fiber which is great for gut health. Maintaining your gut health ensures a healthy immune system. Fiber also helps the heart by getting rid of excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels.
Onions are high in flavonoids and antioxidants. They are specifically high in the flavanoid quercetin. Quercetin helps to lower cholesterol, preventing heart disease by thinning the blood and warding off blood clots. Onions are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial.
Garlic is anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal food. Garlic treats almost everything from earaches to hypertension to common colds.
Turmeric is one of the most well-known spices for being anti-inflammatory, Turmeric holds up against some of the strongest medicines in western culture. Eaten or used as an external paste, turmeric can be used for just about anything. It’s healing benefits are known to lower cholesterol and aid in liver detoxification.
Tomatoes are a nutrient-dense superfood that offers benefit to a range of bodily systems. They support healthful skin, weight loss, and heart health.
Some Vegetable Broth Do’s and Don’ts According to Various Sources – You be the Judge!
Use up your Vegetables & Vegetable Scraps but…
- We all have veggies leftover in the refrigerator that we just haven’t used, don’t want to use, or completely forget about – these are the best veggies to add to a broth as long as they are not moldy or spoiled. Ideas include corn cobs, winter squash, zucchini, and other squash, beet greens, fennel, chard, lettuce, collard greens, parsnips, green beans, pea pods, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, and herbs like dill, thyme, parsley, cilantro, and basil.
- Some veggies tend to make the broth bitter. So if you want to avoid bitterness, remove the green leafy tops of carrots, onion skins, or beetroots.
- Include onion, garlic, and other herbs you like, such as parsley or thyme, to add flavor without sodium.
- Some suggest a ratio of about 1:1 vegetables to water. This will yield stock with a healthy amount of flavor and body. Filling a pot halfway with vegetables and covering them with a couple of inches of water works nicely, too.
- A couple of potatoes or some potato peelings added to your pot will add more body to the broth.
Common Question: Can you Recycle the Strained Veggies from Your Broth?
The strained veggies are stripped of their normal taste and some nutrition. But there are some creative things that you can do with them. I have not perfected any plant-based versions of these YET, but they are worth a try in the kitchen:
- Vegetable Balls – these will require some type of bread crumbs or panko chips, flour, herbs.
- Dumplings – use the veggies as the inside of the dumpling mix.
- Create a Vegetable Mash with potatoes or sweet potatoes; twice-cooked veggies and potatoes! – this one is definitely worth a try.
- Bruschetta – create some type of spread using the veggies that can be added to crackers or bread or used as a dip!
I plant to perfect some of these recycled veggie recipe ideas in the near future. Stay tuned!
Besides Soup, What Do I Use All Of This Homemade Vegetable Broth For?
I love this question! There are SO MANY things you can use vegetable broth in besides soup. Here are just a few to start you out. But you will soon come up with your own ideas, I promise:
- Replace sautéing in oil with sautéing in vegetable broth. Whenever you sauté onions, use the broth vs. the oil. This saves you lots of calories, is cleaner for your body, and will leave rid you of that oily taste that you have grown accustomed to.
- Make rice and grains in vegetable broth vs. plain water. The vegetable broth adds a ton of nutrition and flavor to your rice and grains.
- Add it to your steamer instead of plain water.
- When reheating meals that require some water, add the veggie broth instead.
- If you are cooking with creams or heavy sauces, sometimes adding some vegetable broth will help to dilute the heaviness of the sauces.
So if you made it to the end of this blog post then you understand why I care so much and encourage people to make their own vegetable broth! Stop reading and start chopping up some veggies for your broth! Happy Cooking!