medicinal calendula veggie broth

Super Medicinal Vegetable Broth with Calendula

Who doesn’t love a good broth? Not unlike a good sauce, a broth can make or break a whole meal! It’s the chariot upon which all the other ingredients are carried and the foundation for other flavors to meet and mingle into magic. If it’s not delicious enough to drink on its own, you might as well just be using plain old water, right? Plus, it’s so incredibly easy to make a stellar homemade broth that’s not only delicious, but also nutritious and super medicinal. With not much more than vegetable scraps, water, and a few easy-to-grow herbal superstars like calendula, you can make a nearly effortless and wildly potent medicinal vegetable broth.

medicinal calendula veggie broth
medicinal calendula veggie broth

I obviously have high standards for my vegetable broth. In fact, I approach most meals with that attitude. If it’s not nourishing, why even bother feeding it to that miracle of a body you have. But also, balance is a foundation for happiness. Our emotional bodies need nourishing too and if wine and chocolate or cake and cookies do it for you, nourish away, mindfully.

food as medicine

Every single ingredient in this vegetable broth is medicinal and my favorite things about a good vegetable broth is its multi-purpose functionality. It can be a savory morning sipper, a flavorful liquid to cook your grains in, or a base for soups, stews, and gravies. A little splash can be used to thin out your sauces, rehydrate your leftover casseroles, de-glaze your pans, make salad dressings, and so much more. You can find a use for a good vegetable broth in nearly any meal. It’s a valuable staple item to keep in the fridge.

By simmering your vegetables and herbs in water, all the water-soluble vitamins and minerals are extracted into the water, just like making a tea. It’s a last ditch effort to get as much nutrition from your food as possible before you send it to the compost.

calendula vegetable broth

Calendula is one of my all-time favorite herbs to add to homemade vegetable stock. While it doesn’t provide much in terms of flavor, its ability to support and help build immunity is on point. It’s especially useful for making stocks for when you’re feeling under the weather. My go-to homemade medicinal vegetable broth ingredients are calendula, kombu (or other seaweed), and astragalus.

  • Kombu is a type of edible seaweed and is one of the main ingredients of dashi, a stock with many uses in Japanese cooking. Dashi is often the base of miso soup, clear broth soup, and many others.
  • Astragalus is a plant medicine with a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s often used to support immune health and combined with other herbs as a tonic for overall strength, stamina, and vitality.
IngredientNutritionMedicinal Benefits
Astragalus*No info found.Antiviral
Adaptogen
Antioxidant
Anti-inflammatory
Protects liver function
Protects kidney function
Promotes tissue regeneration
Supports & builds immunity
Tonic to the immune system
Tonic to cardiovascular system
CalendulaFatty acids
High in antioxidants
(contains lutein, lycopene,
beta-carotene,
quercitin, rutin, & others)
Antiseptic
Anti-tumor
Anti-fungal
Antioxidant
Antibacterial
Anti-inflammatory
Promotes wound healing
Stimulates menstrual flow
Supports & builds immunity
Stimulates bile & aids digestion
Stimulates the lymphatic system
Demulcent (cooling, soothing, healing, relaxing)
KombuHigh in vitamin A & B1,
calcium, magnesium, iron,
potassium, & iodine
Can help to reduce cholesterol
Supports thyroid function
Nutritive that supports overall wellness
Veggie &
herb scraps
All the vitamins, minerals, & bioactive
compounds for your health!
Antioxidant
Anti-inflammatory
Highly nutritive!
medicinal calendula veggie broth

tips for making medicinal vegetable broth

  • Save all the scraps!
    • I permanently keep a gallon-size ziplock in my freezer. Whenever I’m cooking, I set aside all the vegetable and herb scraps to throw in there when I’m done. I’ll keep onion and garlic skins; discarded ends of carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and tomatoes; carrot tops; stems from basil, rosemary, or thyme; pepper scraps; citrus peels; scraps left over from prepping Brussels sprouts or green beans; broccoli stems; cauliflower leaves; fennel fronds; corn husks and silks… literally any and all vegetable scraps. When the bag is full, it’s time to make stock!
      • Bonus tip: I also label the bag “stock options” for a little chuckle every time I pull it out of the freezer. It’s also a cheeky reminder that nourishing your body is indeed an investment in your health.
  • Use organic herbs and vegetable scraps.
    • If you have the option to choose, I recommend focusing on saving only your organic vegetable scraps and herbs for making broth. Conventionally-grown produce is often heavily laden with herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides. If organic produce is inaccessible, consider going by the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. This list contains the top 12 crops with the highest pesticide use. To reduce exposure to toxic pesticides, avoid saving these vegetables if grown conventionally, or purchase organic.
  • Use what you have.
    • Don’t stress about the specific ingredients. The whole fun in making a homemade vegetable stock is throwing all recipes to the wind. Please use the recipe below only as a guide. Use what you have. Substitute as you please. Get creative and experiment. The only time I’ve ever been a little underwhelmed with an experimental vegetable stock is when I added too many citrus peels in one batch. I think one citrus peel per batch is plenty. Otherwise, the bitterness takes over.
  • Freeze it for later.
    • I usually keep about half of the stock I end up with in the fridge and consume over the course of the week. The rest I’ll cool to room temperature, pour into freezer-safe container(s), and freeze for later use.
      • Bonus tip: Label it. I can’t tell you how much freezer stock I’ve probably tossed over the years. No matter how much you think you’ll remember what it is, the unlabeled freezer containers inevitably become a mystery destined for the trash. And that’s a damn waste of some damn good stuff.

super medicinal vegetable broth with calendula

Recipe by Botany CultureCourse: SoupsDifficulty: Easy
Simmer Time

2-4

Hours

This is such a no-pressure, multi-use staple item to keep in the fridge. It can be a savory morning sipper, a flavorful liquid to cook your grains in, or a base for soups, stews, and gravies. A little splash can be used to thin out your sauces, rehydrate your leftover casseroles, de-glaze your pans, make salad dressings, and so much more.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon-size freezer bag full of vegetable & herb scraps

  • ~1/4 cup dried herb mix (I used approx. 1 tablespoon each of dried rosemary, parsley, basil, & bay leaf.)

  • 1 cup whole calendula flowers (fresh or dried)

  • ~6″x4″ strip of kombu (or equivalent of)

  • few slices of dried astragalus root

  • 4-5 quarts water

Directions

  • In a stock pot (at least 6 quarts), add all ingredients. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to low, & simmer covered for 2-4 hours.
  • Let broth cool so that it’s a little safer to handle. Then use a fine mesh stainer to strain veggies & herbs from broth into freezer-safe mason jars. Compost the scraps.
  • You can use the broth immediately or store for later use. If you choose to freeze some of the broth for later use, don’t forget to label your containers.
medicinal calendula veggie broth

I hope you enjoy getting thrifty and creative with your vegetable broth kitchen witchery. Calendula is an essential herb to add to medicinal broths. If you’d like to learn more about the magic of calendula, you can get the skinny here.

Until next time, plant lovers!

Find Organic Herbs & Spices at Mountain Rose Herbs

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