Jul 6, 2023
Vegetable broth is a healthy, nutritious way of adding flavor to your meals. Most of your everyday meals have broth, like your sauces and stews. If you cook rice with it, you’ll be surprised by the deep flavor it will give. Sadly, broth can only last for 3 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer. If you bring it to the trail, you either end up with a wet mess or carry additional weight. Here’s how to freeze dry vegetable broth to help you store it for years and bring it with you anywhere.
This is probably one of the questions that would spark up a heated debate in the kitchen. Some will insist that they’re the same. At the same time, culinary experts will tell you otherwise.
Vegetable broth is made from clean, well-prepared vegetables. Think of vegetables you’ll be proud to serve to your mom when she comes over to dinner. You use it to add flavor to your side dishes like rice. Or something to serve as a foundation for your soups.
Vegetable stock, on the other hand, is made from clean, untrimmed vegetables. This means the whole enchilada: stems, leaves, roots, stalks, peels, and skins. Most of the time, frugal cooks and chefs use trimmings they got from preparing other dishes. It’s used to add flavor to your main dishes, like stews, sauces, and gravy.
There are many different ways for you to make vegetable broth. Here are some recipes that you could try out in case you want to have some ideas.
There are several ways to help you make your vegetable broth better.
When it comes to making vegetable broth, don’t sweat the small stuff. Use what’s in season because they will give you the best flavor and nutritional value. You also help the environment!
Some vegetables can quickly overpower the flavor of your broth. Bell peppers, darling that they are, can dominate the broth. Cruciferous vegetables are certainly packed with nutrients, yes. For example, these are broccoli, cabbage, kale, arugula, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy. However, they give the broth a bitter taste. To get your dose of nutrition, make the broth without them. Then add these vegetables when it’s time to eat.
Just like cruciferous vegetables, celery leaves can give your broth a bitter taste. But when chopped and added to the broth upon serving, you’ll be surprised. They brighten the flavor and give the vegetable broth a “fresh” taste.
After cooking your vegetable broth, here’s what you need to do to make it ready for freeze-drying.
Separate the solids from the liquid, especially if you got whole garlic and ginger. This will prevent the vegetables from cooking down further than needed when you do the next step.
Measure how much vegetable broth you have left in your pot. This is important because this will be your baseline when reconstituting the broth. Put the pot back on the stove and reduce it to half or a quarter of the original amount. Measure the reduction again so you’ll know how much water you took out.
What this does is help reduce the freeze-drying time of your Harvest Right freeze-dryer. You can skip this step if you want, but it does give you more room for your trays.
What this does is help remove the oil you used to sauté or roast the veggies. The cold temperature will solidify the oil as it rises on top, making it easy for you to remove. Yes, this means you shouldn’t use expensive oils. Reserve those for “normal” meals, or drizzle on the broth while heating it to add flavor.
This is optional, but it would help make transporting the trays easier. It also helps lessen the risk of your broth making a mess in the freeze-dryer. Liquid boils at a low temperature in a vacuum, so your broth can spill over. By freeze-drying a solid block of broth, you avoid this from happening.
You can use other trays or a Ziplock bag. What’s important is that the freezing container is the same width as the freeze dryer trays. The height should also be no more than 3/4 of an inch or higher than your freeze dryer trays. This means you need to keep your Ziplock bags flat in the freezer instead of standing up.
Do you include the separated vegetables here? It’s up to you. This is fine if you want chunky broth on a cold day. And if the vegetables are easy to eat. But stick to liquid only if you’re using the vegetable broth as a base for another meal. Remember, we’re talking about whole, clean vegetables here, not collected trimmings.
Whether you pre-freeze or not, it’s important that you weigh the trays with the broth. Using this and the pre-measurements you had earlier will give you an almost accurate idea of how much water to reconstitute. It’s a tedious step, we know. But if you wish to have consistency in flavor, this step is essential.
Since most of us have the updated software version, you can ignore the 3 steps. We’re keeping them in the instructions just in case some got an old machine or still operating on the old software.
To freeze-dry your vegetable broth, here’s what you do.
The time it takes to freeze-dry will depend on how much liquid your broth has. That should be around 40-54 hours, give or take.
Before you store it, weigh the trays to see the before and after differences. This will give you a general idea of how much water was removed from each tray.
If you freeze-dried your vegetable broth along with the vegetables, you can cut them into chunks, then weigh each container again. We know it’s a tedious process. It’s totally up to you if you want to weigh the food. It does help with accurate reconstitution, especially if you’re new to freeze-drying. But once you get the hang of it, eventually, you’ll see yourself eyeballing how much water you’ll need.
You can use Mason Jars, so you have a chunky soup on hand during cold weather. Or you could use Mylar bags for long-term storage as well as traveling. Before sealing, make sure to put 1-2 of the 300 cc packets of oxygen absorbers. This will take out any residual oxygen in the containers and extend shelf-life.
After sealing, put the containers in a cool, dry place with temperatures below 72°F (22 °C). The room’s relative humidity should also be lower than 15%.
You can reconstitute the vegetable broth by adding how much water was lost. Take into consideration the original recipe and the reduction. If your recipe used 4 cups, for example, and you reduced it to 2 cups, you’ll need to double the amount of water. That volume of water will then depend on how much your food weighed before and after you freeze-dried it.
Say you got a tray that was 350g before freeze drying. Afterward, you were left with 150g of food. That means 200 g or 200 mL of water was removed from it. So for that tray, you’ll need 200mL x 2, which is 400mL. You’ll need to divide the water accordingly to how you portioned the food per container. Which you will know also by weight.
Depending on how well you seal and stored it, freeze-dried vegetable broth can last for 25-30 years.
Freeze-dried vegetable broth is a great way to store a flavorful liquid that can add flavor to any dish. You can have it along with the vegetables you cooked it with, or as is as a soup.
What do you want to do with your freeze-dried vegetable broth? Let us know in the comment section.
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