Monday, September 8, 2014

Made It Myself Monday: Vegetable Broth Powder

This is a double batch of broth powder; I estimate that there are 4 cups of powder in the jar.

If there is one thing that I truly miss from the few years of my adult life when I wasn't vegetarian or following a plant-cased diet, it's chicken broth. Most other animals foods can be replaced or omitted entirely and still yield delicious results, but broth has been a stumbling block for me.

A good broth or stock really makes a recipe, but I had mostly given up on recipes that called for stock because I was never entirely happy with any of the vegetable stocks I made or purchased. I think now that I understand why.

It occurred to me that there must be a way for me to make a broth powder at home, so I did some searching and found a few recipes. Most called for so many different types of dried herbs and spices that I put the project on the back burner because I didn't want to buy a lot of herbs/spices that I wouldn't use. Then one day I saw an organic no salt seasoning at Costco that had so many herbs and spices in it that I thought it might work as the seasoning base for a broth powder.

I saw this recipe at Blender Babes and decided to use it as my inspiration. I realized that it included dried mushrooms and nutritional yeast to increase the umami, which is what makes chicken broth is so good and plain simmered vegetable scraps so not. I increased the mushrooms because my hunch was that they add a lot of flavor. I left the salt and nutritional yeast amounts the same and then figured out the rest by myself.

Vegetable Broth Powder

1/2 C. dried mushrooms (I used porcini mushrooms that were gifted to me)
1/3 C. sea salt (I used Redmond's Real Salt)
3/4 C. nutritional yeast (Bragg's because that's what I had)
1/4 C. dried minced onion (Costco)
1 T. granulated garlic (Costco)
1/4 C. organic no salt seasoning (Costco)

I just put it all into my Vitamix, started it on 1, ramped up to 10, and let it pulverize to a fine powder. Use 1 teaspoon of broth powder to 1 cup of hot water to make 1 cup of broth.

I don't have exact numbers for this, but I know it is far cheaper than buying prepared vegetable broth or vegetable broth cubes/powder. For me, the biggest expenses are the nutritional yeast and no-salt seasoning, as the porcini mushrooms were purchased with a gift card. Even if you have to buy dried mushrooms, I estimate a single batch to cost less than $5 to make, and it will make a lot of broth, as it makes approximately 2 cups of powder which is 96 teaspoons. Compared to purchased quarts of vegetable broth it would be equal to 24 quarts. I don't know about where you shop, but around here I would spend $2.50 for a quart of vegetable broth, so the savings are significant! That $5 versus $60! Plus it stores in a much smaller space and you eliminate tons of packaging.

But the real question is, does it taste good! The surprising (to me) answer was yes, it tastes good enough to drink by itself, which is more than I was hoping for. I'm looking forward to having this powder in my pantry to boost the flavor in my soups and casseroles!

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