So this afternoon I took my freezer bag of almost-dead celery, onion ends, parsley stems, etc., and made veggie broth.
Recipes for vegetable broth make me laugh. "1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 8 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf". You should see what I put in mine - literally half of the jars in my spice cabinet come out for the party. Not too much of anything, no more than 1/2 teaspoon of any ingredient, but I think it makes a difference. So here's my veggie broth "recipe":
a handful of baby carrots that are starting to look dried out
few cloves of garlic
whatever pieces of onion are in the veggie drawer in the fridge
parsley root or parsnip if I have it (which I usually don't)
and now for the fun stuff from the cabinet:
basil, oregano, parsley, tarragon, sage, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, peppercorns, yellow and brown mustard seeds, celery seeds, dill seeds, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, a few cloves. The only seedy things I didn't add were fenugreek and ajwain, because I wasn't sure what they'd do to the flavor, and fennel, because I refuse to have that evil spice in my house.
Boil it all up, let it simmer for who-knows-how-long, then strain. Sometimes I go through the trouble of straining through a paper towel or coffee filter, but more often than not, I just dump it into a fine-mesh strainer, making sure to push on the veggies to get the yummy stuff out. Let it cool for a while, then transfer into tupperwares for freezing. Don't stir it when transferring to containers, because any gritty stuff your strainer didn't catch will have settled to the bottom.
What I ended up with this time (excuse the poor grammar, please) was a stunning amber color, like a strong tea, most likely imparted by the red onion skins.
Now, off to make some soup.