stew & soup recipes: what’s the difference between stock and broth?

stew & soup recipes: what's the difference between stock and broth?

Walking to our local farmers’ market is one of my favorite Saturday morning chores during the spring and summer. It is a joy to meet our local growers and purchase their produce. Even when I don’t need too much produce I still go. I can’t resist and at times I almost take it for granted that each week there will be a plethora of fruits and vegetables available.

Today I am reminded to be grateful for the luxury of the farmers’ market. On May 11, 1934 a massive storm swept through America sending over 350 million tons of soil into the air. Over two days high level winds blew topsoil from the Great Plains to the east coast.

The dust storm did not just happen out of the blue. Since the pioneers began settling the Great Plains farmers cleared the land that was once covered in prairie grass which served to protect the soil from eroding during dust storms. In the early 1900’s wheat production increased due to WWI. More and more grassland disappeared. By 1931 wheat production had increased to the point of flooding the market, causing prices to drop. The Great Depression was about to become even more intolerable.

In 1931 the Great Plains experienced a drought that dried out crops and the soil. As a result dust storms increase in frequency and the strength of the storms also began to rise over the next few years. By 1934 the Great Plains were stripped of protection, creating the perfect conditions for a severe dust storm.

In 1935 huge dust storm wreaked havoc on the Great Plains, causing a reporter named Robert Geiger to coin the term the “Dust Bowl”. As farmers and their families were forced to leave their farms and homes in order to find work the land became desolate. Relief would not come to the region until the tremendously long drought ended in 1939.

Thinking of these poor farmers and their families who had to leave their homes, many without employment for years makes me ever so grateful for what I am able to purchase at the farmers’ market. I stand on line to pay for a basket full of delicious fruits and vegetables. Those hit hardest during the Great Depression, many the farmers, would have to stand in soup lines to feed their family. I doubt that the soup served to the masses were full of the nutrients of the soup I will prepare with the vegetables I carry home in my basket.

One of the things I love to cook with is vegetable stock. I find vegetable stock to add more depth to a dish than beef or chicken stock, which are fantastic and needed for particular recipes, but I love the richness of flavor that a vegetable stock lends to a dish.

A question was asked of me when I was talking about vegetable stock. What is the difference between stock and broth? There is very little difference. Stocks are made to be used in recipes whereas broths are made to be served alone. When making a beef or chicken stock the primary flavor comes from bones while broths are made using meat. The broth is richer in flavor and fat making it heavier than stock. As for fish and vegetable stock there is no difference from broth as they are made using the same types of ingredients.

Try this recipe for vegetable stock/broth. You can use it immediately or you can freeze small portions (in an ice cube tray, for example) so that you can use it in future recipes. Vary the recipe based on what vegetables and seasonings you have available. My vegetable broth is different every time based on what I’ve purchased and what I have that needs to be used.

Vegetable Stock

Ingredients:

1 gallon cold water
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium leek (white and green parts), rinsed and chopped
1 medium rib celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
½ medium turnip, chopped
½ small tomato, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems
3-4 whole black peppercorns
1 whole clove

Preparation:

1. Make a sachet d’epices by tying the thyme, peppercorns, clove, parsley stems and bay leaf into a piece of cheesecloth.

2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat.

3. Lower the heat; add all the vegetables and sweat, with the lid on until the onions are softened and slightly translucent.

4. Add the water and the sachet bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes.

5. Strain, cool and refrigerate.

  • rss
  • flickr
  • twitter
  • facebook

28 comments

  • May 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm //

    Thanks for the explanation between a stock and a broth. I’ve always wondered what the difference was!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:22 am //

      Thanks you so much Georgia.

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:22 am //

      It got us thinking, maybe others have the same questions as we do? Thank you for stopping by = )

  • May 12, 2012 at 7:46 am //

    Great post..very informative, and I love this recipe…sound like full of flavor!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:21 am //

      It got us thinking, maybe others have the same questions as we do? Thank you so much for stopping by Sandra.

  • May 12, 2012 at 9:44 am //

    Very nice to see an informative post & recipe at the same time! Great site! Nice to see you on Google + too!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:21 am //

      Thank you Suzette…we are quite smitten with your Avatar photo too, adorable and fun!!!

  • May 12, 2012 at 11:48 am //

    Great post! I make my chicken stock using a pressure cooker. Such a healthy addition to recipes!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:20 am //

      You do Jennifer? Oh, would you mind sharing your recipe with us? We should do a guest post sometime? That would be fun!

  • May 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm //

    My dad lived through the Great Depression and he always said it was the Great “drought & depression”. Growing up during that period had a profound impact on his life. Although my mom was insulated from the more horrific conquences of those times she was a thrifty cook and always made her own stocks and soups. If given a choice, I can’t imagine my dad ever being satisfied with a bowl of broth!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:20 am //

      Your mother sounded like a wonderful, amazing woman! I think maybe we might be in the same age bracket?

    • May 14, 2012 at 6:42 am //

      Oh dear! I’m approaching a milestone birthday and fear I may be older! LOL

      • May 14, 2012 at 8:44 am //

        Meh..Age is just a number = ) Marie is 38ish, and I’m early 40 (ish) lol

  • May 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm //

    An interesting post. Your vegetable stock looks delicious!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:17 am //

      Thank you so much for commenting Gerlinde.

  • May 13, 2012 at 1:50 am //

    Thanks for another informative post, and for clarifying the difference between a stock and a broth. Great recipe for vegetable stock!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:17 am //

      It got us thinking, maybe others have the same questions as we do? Thanks so much for commenting Kat!

  • May 13, 2012 at 3:53 am //

    I don’t usually get too excited about stock, but that picture is making my mouth water, what a wonderful sounding recipe!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:16 am //

      hehe Very true, we had the same question, stock or broth? What’s the difference?

  • May 13, 2012 at 4:20 am //

    That was a great read about historic facts! We are sure lucky to have our Farmers and I don’t take them for granted. Our markets just opened up for the season and I’m so thankful!!

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:08 am //

      So did we, and it got us thinking, maybe others have the same questions as we do? We really look forward to reading your comments, we learn something new about you each time, so happy we have connected. What will you be doing for Mother’s day? Any plans?

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:16 am //

      Opps, I just realized I replied to you Emily, my apologies!!! Local farmers, YES, and YES, I sure do miss them being in Japan, Camille has them around her, we have them here but you have to drive out a bit away from town, what I nice is some supermarkets work with some of the local farmers, on Sunday’s we can get fresh produce, sometimes organic and reasonably prices (prices here are obnoxious)

  • May 13, 2012 at 6:31 am //

    Thanks for the info on broth and stock! I have always wondered what the difference was. I was recently talking to a lady that was born during The Great Depression. She said that her mother told her that on the day she was born there was about two inches of dust on the window sills of their house. It is hard to imagine how awful it must have been.

    • May 13, 2012 at 8:14 am //

      So did we, and it got us thinking, maybe others have the same questions as we do? We really look forward to reading your comments, we learn something new about you each time, so happy we have connected. What will you be doing for Mother’s day? Any plans?

  • May 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm //

    I never knew the difference between stock and broth, but it makes sense! I love making homemade vegetable stock too. It’s such a wonderful thing to have on hand. Definitely a kitchen staple!

    • May 14, 2012 at 8:49 am //

      I wonder if we could possibly jar/can stock, something we should look into. we had the same question and though others might as well = )