Making stock from your leftover scraps is easy, saves you money, reduces food waste, and is a so-simple way to transform ingredients you'd normally toss into a flavorful kitchen staple.
If you have leftover chicken or beef bones and/or veggie scraps from preparing meals throughout the week, do yourself a huge favor and don't throw them out just yet. Making homemade stock is a fantastic way to turn leftover produce and bones from meat and poultry, that you'd otherwise throw out, into an essential ingredient for rich, flavor-packed meals and sides. You'll never go back to store-bought stock once you realize how much more delicious the homedmade version is, and just how easy it is to make from scratch.
Below we've outlined the basic recipe framework for 3 types of commonly used, versatile stock (beef, chicken, and vegetable) but the ingredients and instructions are just that—a guideline. You can adapt each recipe a ton of different ways based on the ingredients you have on hand that week. Start saving all of your meat and veggie scraps and trimmings in a large container in the fridge throughout the week so that you can boil a big pot of stock on the weekend.
And remember, just because you wouldn't want to eat it, doesn't mean it doesn't belong in your stock bowl... in fact, if it's a part of a vegetable you don't want to eat, it probably does belong in the stock bowl (as long as it's not molding or rotten). This can include anything from the papery skin on garlic cloves and onions to wilted radish tops to carrot shavings. I would always suggest throwing some whole aromatic veggies, in addition to whatever scraps you have, into the pot for stock. Another great addition to include are Parmesan cheese rinds, when you have them. Once you've made your stock and let it cool, simply transfer it to an airtight glass or plastic container and store it in the fridge for up to a week.
To keep your stock for longer, try freezing it. It keeps in the freezer up to 6 months, and if you're making stock on a regular basis, freezing batches ensures that you will always be well stocked (sorry, I couldn't resist that one). Just be sure to mark the date somewhere on your bag or container before freezing so you know how long each batch has been living in the freezer.
3 quick and easy stock storage solutions to try:
- Portion stock into zip-top plastic freezer bags, and then lay the bags flat on a baking sheet to freeze (so that each bag freezes in a thin flat layer). That way you can easily stack stack the bags for compact storage.
- Freeze larger portions of stock in plastic deli containers, takeout containers, or freezer jars. When you're ready to use the stock, allow the containers to defrost on the counter or simply remove the top and microwave on low for a few minutes, or until the stock has softened enough to get it out of the container.
- To freeze small portions, spoon the stock into ice cube trays. Once frozen, store the individual cubes in a heavy-duty freezer bag. When you reach for these little stock-sicles to cook with, just keep in mind that cube sizes in a standard ice cube tray are approximately one ounce, or about two tablespoons.
Homemade Beef, Chicken, or Veggie Stock
- Leftover beef or chicken bones (disregard if you are making vegetable stock)
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 6 large garlic cloves
- 4 large carrots, broken into pieces
- 4 large celery stalks, broken into pieces
- Herbs and other spicesof your choice. We recommend any or all of the following:
- 15 parsley sprigs (or just scrap stems)
- 10 black peppercorns
- 8 thyme sprigs
- 3 bay leaves
1. Combine the beef or poultry bones, veggies, seasonings, and spices in a large stockpot. Cover ingredients by about 2 inches of cold water.
If you'd like to simmer the liquid longer (think 6-24 hours) for more concentrated flavor and less monitoring, try using a slow cooker instead of a stockpot on the stove.
2. Place pot over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 to 4 hours, skimming off and discarding foam occasionally. Add warm water to pan, as needed, to keep ingredients covered in water. Strain stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl pressing down on the vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Cool stock to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight. Skim solidified fat from surface; discard fat.