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How to Make Soup Broth

Homemade soup broth (stock) is one of those things that is currently very trendy and yet has been around pretty much since the beginning of human history.  The current ‘hipness’ factor can sometimes make it seem extremely difficult or even elitist, when it is neither.

Soup broth is  a great way to make the most of vegetable scraps and animal bones stretching our own harvests and those items we’ve purchased.

It is highly nutritious and the foundation for soups, stews, and can be used in many culinary dishes. Follow this easy, promise super easy process, and learn how to make soup broth in your own kitchen this fall.

Learn how to make soup broth at home to can or freeze for tasty and nutritious meals with this easy method.

Step 1: Gather Scraps or Use Whole Vegetables

Because I compost my food scraps, I often use whole vegetables for soup making.  However, it is completely feasible (and tasty) to just gather those onion peels, celery leaves, carrot peels, woody mushroom stems, etc. in a container and store in the freezer.  When it’s time to make broth, just use those instead of whole vegetables. If using whole vegetables, simply quarter whole onions, chop carrots and celery into large pieces, cut the tops off whole heads of garlic, etc. I personally skip strong flavored vegetables and herbs and chose to season individually with each dish but adding fresh parsley or chives to the broth can certainly be tasty.

Step 2: Gather Animal Bones (Vegetarians feel free to skip)

Those chicken carcasses, ham bones, the leftover bones from pot roast, etc. all make for great soup broth.  Soup bones can be purchased but don’t ever toss bones away.  Keep containers in the freezer and put similar bones together – gather the bones from beef in one container, chicken in another, and so on.  It is okay, even great, if there is still some bits of meat and/or fat on those bones.  When enough is accumulated to fill a big pot. Start the broth making process.

Step 3: Throw Everything in a Pot

Put those bones in a pot, toss in the vegetables or scraps, a Tablespoon of whole black peppercorns, and a big bay leaf or two.  Cover the bones with about 2 inches of fresh water (give or take, this does not have to be an exact science). Add a splash of apple cider vinegar (I never measure, just a splash). Put that pot on the stove and let it simmer for 6 to 8 hours – longer is most definitely okay.  Simmer, not boil the liquid.  Essentially, we want the pot to reduce very slowly while pulling out the flavor and nutrition from the bones and vegetables.

Learn how to make soup broth at home to can or freeze for tasty and nutritious meals with this easy method.

Note: If you heat with wood and have room, put those pots on top of the stove and let them simmer there on a cold day. PS: Yes, my wood stove is that dirty pretty much all winter long, no sense in giving any false impressions. 

Step 4: Strain

Strain all the bones and vegetables scraps from the now flavorful soup broth.  At this point, there are a few different options. 1) Use immediately: feel free to start a big pot of soup with the broth. 2) Refrigerate, freeze, or can for longer storage. 3) Chill to remove fat (this is more of a personal preference thing and does not apply to vegetable broth).

Step 5: Skim Off Fat

Now, it should be noted that fat is not the enemy in my view point.  Still, I don’t personally enjoy a greasy feel to soup broth and so I like to skim off a good bit off the fat.  To do this, refrigerate the strained broth overnight.  The next day, the fat should have risen to the top in a thick layer.  Simply use a metal spoon and skim off that fat.  You can save that fat for cooking or simply toss. Don’t stress about every last bit but it is nice to remove a good bit of it.

Step 6: Prepare for Storage

Once the broth is strained and skimmed if desired, it’s time to get it ready for long-term storage.  Homemade broth can easily be poured into freezer containers, leave 1″ head space, and frozen until ready to use.  I prefer to can my broth as freezer space always seems to be an issue for me, plus having it canned means I don’t have to worry about thawing when I need some broth.

To can broth (with no bits of meat or vegetables in there.  This is important, it must only be the strained liquid for these processing times): Pour boiling broth into jars leaving 1″ head space (add salt if desired but it is not necessary – I usually skip it here and add salt to my dishes as I’m cooking later) and place in a pressure canner.

For Beef, Chicken & Pork Broth: Process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (adjust pressure for altitude).
For Vegetable Broth: Process pints for 30 minutes and quarts for 35 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (adjust pressure for altitude).

It’s really that easy and that simple.  The time involved is long, I know, but it is hands-off time meaning it can be done while other things are happening at home. As the seasons change and the soup pot gets pulled out more in the coming months, please consider filling them and the stomach’s at home with homemade soup broth and all your other fixings.

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Thursday 24th of December 2020

I do similar but to prepare every time I cleaning onion if I have cabbage hearts if I peel carrots clean my celery I always save the butts that's what I put in for my veggies. I don't by any more than I have to

Kathie Lapcevic

Friday 25th of December 2020

That's a great tip. Those veggie bits tend to go in my compost piles but it is a great way to reuse them!

Vanessa Cato

Friday 1st of February 2019

Is there any way you would be able to put your recipes into PDF files so we can download them for future reference? I cannot find any place on your blog where this is available.


Wednesday 7th of November 2018

Loved your email of November 7, 2018.....Soup, Convalescence and Rest... Well said! You are so astute to notice the NEED for letting the body recoup in this fast paced society. Very simple, slow down and work at a steady pace, then stop and think; regroup daily to keep a correct focus. It's like putting our thoughts in their correct files everyday.

Kathie Lapcevic

Wednesday 7th of November 2018

I love the 'thoughts in their correct files' idea. Thanks so much!

The garden of weeden

Saturday 21st of January 2017

A tip for quick freezing smaller amounts of broths is to freeze it in ice cube trays then store the cubed in freezer bags. I do this mainly with bone broths, because they are so much more concentrated, and I just toss a cube into boiling water to make a nice rich broth base for other recipes. I never thought to make larger batches of broths and can it though....definitely trying this one!! Thanks!


Monday 19th of October 2015

I love these directions, they are so detailed and spot on... I cannot wait to try this out for myself as I have been canning all summer long, but have wanted to graduate into canning stocks and meat dishes but have been afraid to. I love the idea of throwing all scraps into the freezer until there is enough to make stock with, but am wondering as it was not mentioned... can potato peels be added to the vegetable scrap bag in the freezer or is there just to much starch in the peels to use them for making stock?? I am not to worried if it is not possible because while recently visiting a local farmers market stand at an orchard, I made a deal with the owner of the farm to save our scraps for her chickens, so I know they will be put to good use as I am really big on wasting as little as humanly possible. I am such a stickler for not wasting that I actually cooked all of our tomato waste from our canning sessions and made my own tomato paste and as soon as I have another bushel of apples (I saved all the waste in a freezer bag) I am going to use half of it to make my own pectin and the other half to make my own Apple Cider Vinegar... I am new to canning and loving every minute of it. The only problem I am currently facing is the weather tempts are dropping fast here and I am not sure yet what to do with all of the green tomatoes that are still on the vines in our garden, along with the not yet ready for harvest, zucchini, peas, tomatillos, pickling cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, serrano peppers, & habanero peppers.. there isn't a lot out there, but we had a late planting due to a late snowfall this year (3-4 ft of snow on May 25th) so our crops are late coming in.. out night temps have been in the high 30s and day temps in the high 70s, but dropping fast... to we are panicking a bit here.

Homespun Seasonal Living

Monday 19th of October 2015

I personally would go light on potato peels because of the starch. Wow you are a busy girl. I always bring those green tomatoes inside and just leave them sit in boxes, they eventually ripen up. Go through the boxes every day to pull out ripe or rotting ones. Have fun making your stock and keep us posted on how it goes, please!