If you have the freezer space, it's a great idea to make your own veggie or chicken stock and have it on hand at all times. It adds the best flavor and nutrition to homemade soups and sauces, without all of the sodium you get in the store bought stuff.
Making your own stock is pretty simple. It really just comes down to having the space in the freezer; for storing the veggies or bones and then storing your containers of stock after it's made.
The photos shown here are of our most recent and long over-due stock making session. Unless you have 3 huge pots like us, you will probably want to make your stock once you have about 3 or 4 gallon zipper bags of veggies or bones. You will have less yield, but it will also take up less space in the freezer. We got 8 quarts of veggie stock and 2 quarts of chicken stock from this batch.
1. Start saving all of your unused vegetable stalks and skin and put in gallon sized freezer bags. You can even use onion skins! In separate bags, keep any chicken carcasses, cleaned of meat. Once you have a few bags full, it's time to make the stock.
2. Fill your large pot with veggies, pushing them down to fit as much as possible, leaving a couple of inches space from the top.
We put our chicken carcasses in a separate pot and put some old celery from the fridge in with it. We also saved the broth from cooking a chicken in a crock pot and added that to the chicken carcass/ celery mix.
3. Pour water over the veggies/carcasses until completely covered.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, allowing to simmer, uncovered. Stir occasionally. Keep simmering for about 4-5 hours, until more than half of the water has cooked down and liquid is a rich brown color. Your house will smell amazing!
5. Time to strain! Strain first with a regular colander and dump veggie pieces into a bucket or large bowl for composting. Strain again, through a cheese cloth lined colander. For chicken stock, dump bones and large pieces into a trash bag and discard.
|Strained and ready to use chicken stock!|
|Vitamin packed vegetable stock!|
7. Write the date on the lid and put in the freezer. Try to use within a couple of months. We try to use all of our frozen stock before making a new batch.
It just makes sense for us to make stock. We are taking up less space in our kitchen compost bucket and can dump it less often, since all of our veggie parts are going in the freezer. We are getting all of the health benefits from those inedible or unappealing parts of the vegetable skin and stalks. We are saving money because we are utilizing every part of the vegetable or chicken, creating little to no waste. Once the veggies are all cooked down, they end up in the compost anyway, only most of the work for breaking it down in compost is already done when it gets there. Making the stock requires little hands-on time and we actually save time by having stock on hand, instead of having to get it at the store. And, by not getting it at the store, we are reducing our intake of sodium and other additives that are in the store-bought kind. It's a small commitment of time for such great rewards! Did I mention that it tastes amazing too?