Since I do a whole lot of cooking, I use a whole lot of stock! This is one of my life tips. Anytime a recipe calls for water, always use stock instead. It makes a HUGE difference. Sometimes, I have to buy the shelf-stable stock out of necessity, but I try to make my own when I can. The boxed stock at the grocery store is full of sodium, and whatever chemicals that allow it to stay “good” at room temperature on a shelf for like, ever.
Making your own stock is huge money saver. I cook 3 meals a day, so, anytime I’m cooking, my scraps go in a freezer bag, and it gets tossed in the freezer. Or, when you have produce in the fridge and it’s one of those “I need to use it like today, but I really just want to order a pizza” nights. Just toss those veggies in your freezer bag! Stock is a perfectly acceptable purpose for an on-its-way-out vegetable! I always clean my veggies before hand. Fresh celery, for example, is super dirty, and once it’s frozen and thawed, it turns into mush, and is impossible to clean. So, wash before you freeze! My vegetable stock usually consists of- onion and onion ends, carrots, peppers, garlic, shallots, radishes, celery stalks and celery leaves. They say not to use onion skins because they make the stock bitter, but I usually use a little because they also make the stock a really pretty golden color. You can toss in herbs that are drying out too, I almost always have parsley and thyme in my freezer bag. I don’t save potatoes, I don’t think they offer much to the stock flavor wise. I also don’t save anything that is bitter, like brussel sprouts or broccoli. Brussel sprouts never have time to go bad here, we love those little shits. Anyways, when your bag is full of goodies, toss it all in a big pot with some water, a couple bay leaves and let it simmer on low all day long, BAM stock. No chemicals & no crap.
Once my stock has been simmering all day, I take a large bowl, and put a colander on top. Then I lay my cheese cloth in the colander, and slowly pour the liquid and all the mushed up veggies in it, collecting the stock in the bottom bowl. (I’ve done this in a rush before, and poured my stock right down the drain. Don’t do that. I was pissed.) The cheese cloth will catch the majority of the gunk, and you’ll be left with beautiful golden homemade stock.
But, don’t toss those mushy veggies just yet, their job isn’t done! Once you’ve poured everything into your cheese cloth, grab the 4 corners of the cheese cloth and twist it up. Use your spoon to push on the cheese cloth veggie ball to squeeze out all the yummy goodness they’re still holding on to.
If you are making vegetable stock, this is much easier to do when the stock has cooled. If you are making chicken/turkey/beef stock, I definitely suggest doing this when your stock is warm, so the fats don’t cool and rise to the surface before you can strain it. You can totally skip the squeezing step if you need to, but fair warning, there’s usually like an entire cup worth of yummy stock just hanging out in those veggies!
This is also great way to use up a left over rotisserie chicken, a thanksgiving turkey carcass, or some beef bones. Another way to save some cash! A rotisserie chicken is what, like $7, which is an inexpensive meal in itself, then use it again to make 4-5 cups of stock!? Forget about it!! I follow the exact same steps for beef bone broth, except I let my bones soak in diluted vinegar water for a few hours, and then I usually simmer as low heat as possible for like 24 hours.
Storage- I like to freeze my stock in 1 cup bags, most soup recipes are going to call for 3-4 cups of stock. I also like to freeze some in ice cube trays, then store in a freezer bag and I can pop a couple into my meals when ever my meal calls for a liquid. I use ours very quickly, but I typically don’t like to save anything in my freezer for more than 3 months.
So fresh and so clean clean.
Thanks for reading! How do you make stock? What are your favorite veggies to use for things like this?! Have a wonderful Tuesday!