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Add veggies, water, peppercorns, and bay leaves to your slow cooker.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours (or on high 4-5 hours), until the broth is golden and the veggies are very tender.
Remove the lid from the slow cooker and let the broth cool for a bit.
Use a wooden spoon to gently press on the veggies in the slow cooker to release a little more flavor.
Grab a large bowl and set a colander over the top. Make sure you're near your kitchen sink! Now carefully pour the mixture into the colander and discard the cooked veggies. Set a fine-mesh sieve over another bowl (or rinse your slow cooker out to use that). Pour the broth over the sieve to strain out the last bit of sediment.
Add salt if desired.
Keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for about 5 days, or you can freeze it for later use. Freezer bags are the easiest. To thaw, pull it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw 12-24 hours ahead of time.