Thursday, May 2, 2013

In the Kitchen: Homemade Stock

I tend to make a lot of soups, stews, and sautéed meals. Thus I use basic stocks all the time. Until the past few years, I bought chicken stock by the case from Costco. Whenever beef broth went on sale, I'd stock up. Not any more. I now make my own. It's part of my self reliancy scheme. And I find it takes very little of my time to make them. 

I've gone to that old time habit of keeping a big stock pot on the woodstove. So when the stove is generating heat for the house, it's also making stocks or broth. I'll make a few types of basic stock : fowl ; pork ; beef/mouflon ; lamb ; vegetable. Alas, no fish. Hubby is not big on seafood. None of them has a set recipe, so they often come out a bit different each time.

Stock utilizes homestead resources. It eliminates a lot of wastage and utilizes  some excess things that I wouldn't otherwise know what to do with.

Here's some of the things that might go into the pot:
...onion skins and butt ends
... veg peelings such as carrot, potato, turnip, rutabaga, etc
...discarded bits of vegs, such as celery ends and leaves, mushroom stems, tops of peppers, ends of tomatoes, that sort of thing tops of onions, garlic, radish, etc
...tough stems of broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, etc
...leaves normally discarded such as broccoli leaves, etc
...fatty or tough parts of meat normally cut away (you can skim off the excess fat later on)
...bones. Those trimmed off of meat cuts plus those that were cooked and even chewed on. A few hours of boiling takes care of any germs. Roast chicken, turkey, and other fowl carcasses are great for making stock. Marrow bones are excellent too. 
...leftovers. While not every leftover works well for stock making, many do. 
...tough or stemmy parts of herbs
...veggies I have in excess

I'll simmer the stock pot for quite a while, often making additions as it cooks along. Once cooled, I'll strain out the solids, leaving me with beautiful stock. I'll then adjust the seasoning as needed. Dinner that night will use some of the stock, while the excess will get frozen. Although I'm not a great fan of plastic, I find the freezing stock in quart or gallon sized ziplock type bags works best for me. I also freeze some in ice cube trays. I find that an ice cube of stock to be very convenient at times. 

By the way, the veggies I strain out go into the dogfood. Bones go into the wood stove fire to become a soil amendment. Anything the dog can't eat goes into the compost pile. Zero waste. 


  1. We tend to make chicken or turkey stock, which used to make my kids complain because it was "too rich" for their tastes. Now they probably wish they had learned how to make it, but they aren't "there" yet. Oh, off this topic, but plant markers made it to MENews:
    which recapped what you already noted, except for the rather tedious flattening of spoons. Your post was better, I think,

  2. Thanks for the info, Barry. I'll go check it out.

    Homegrown food and homemade dishes are ar superior to commercial equivalents, in my opinion. Since starting to grow my own, I can't bring myself to eat store bought oranges or bananas. Home reared chicken is superior. Eggs from my own chickens actually have favor!