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The Basics of Broth

If you look at nearly any pantry must-have list, you’ll find broth - especially at this time of year. In fact, you could even have a forgotten box or can way in the back of your pantry just waiting patiently for its turn to shine in a dish. (I’ll give you a moment to check because you’ll likely want to cook with it once you see the flavorful recipes below.)

Benefits of broth

Oh good, you’re back. So let’s take a look at the benefits of broth and what’s great about cooking with it. Here are four go-to reasons to love broth.

  • Flavor booster. Use broth as a substitute for water in cooking rice and other grains to enhance a dish’s flavor.
  • A hurried home chef’s BFF. Store-bought broth is a great shelf-stable pantry staple that can be used in a variety of dishes. (Check out some tasty examples below.)
  • An alternative to cooking with oil. Learn how to “steam fry” with broth below.
  • Multi-use. Buying broth in reclosable cartons is very convenient because you can use what you need now and keep the rest in the refrigerator for something else later.

Can the junk

Homemade broth is delicious and a resourceful use for veggie and/or chicken scraps (here’s a recipe for Homemade Vegetable Broth and one for Golden Chicken Broth, if you want to give it a go) but the problem is you need to plan ahead or have plenty of time to make it. Thank goodness, there’s a convenient substitute – store-bought broth. Like everything we sell at Whole Foods Market®, there are no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives in any broths on our shelves. We carry a wide variety, including kosher, low-sodium and organic broths – beef flavored, chicken and vegetable. (Looking to save? 365 Everyday Value® organic broths are priced competitively.)

Cooking with broth

Once you learn all that broth can do, you start to realize what an underappreciated pantry item it is. Take a look:

  • Deglazing. Heat broth in pan to loosen browned bits of food to make a sauce.
  • Mashing/puréeing. Use broth as a flavorful addition or replacement for cream or butter when mashing or puréeing vegetables.
  • Simmering. In soups and stews, braising liquids or cooking whole grains, risotto and seafood.
  • Fondue/Hotpot. Dip thin slices of raw meat and vegetables in boiling broth to quickly cook.
  • Steam frying. Sauté with broth instead of oil. Check out how in this short video:

Soup and stews and stuffings…oh my!

Although soups, stews and yes, stuffings are top of mind when it comes to recipes that use broth, there are several other delicious dishes that rely on its rich flavor too. Here are some of my favorite uses for those boxes and cans of broth sitting in my pantry and fridge.

What are your favorite uses for broth? I’d love to hear them.

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susie kate says …

Thanks for your article! I love using organic chicken broth when cooking kale greens! Check out my recipes at http://www.kalesuperfood.com. Thanks, Susie Kate

abbey says …

Hi! This is a great article...I've recently been wondering about the benefits of organic versus non-organic broth. Is there a major difference towards using organic broth since its cooked at a high temp.? My big concern is the sodium and using a low-sodium version but I'm "new" to buying organic and want to spend my money on the "big stuff" like produce, diary, and meat. Can you give any more insight on whether or not organic broth is worth the extra cost?

jk spano says …

reheating leftovers = adds flavor, moisture and enables me to introduce a new item if my leftovers need stretching, i love it because it leads to savings and creativity.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ABBEY - Thanks for your question. Deciding to choose all organic products is more of a personal choice that we encourage our customers to make for themselves. A good place to start would be to price compare some options are your local store and you might find that there are a few organic varieties that are not that much more than non-organic options. Remember that if you choose to buy non-organic broth, that there are no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives in any broths on our shelves.