A stocky affair

With the colder weather rightly upon us, I've taken to making stock on a weekly basis. For years I was never one to do this, thinking that it was too fiddly, too time consuming and basically just a whole lot easier to buy it and be done with it.

However, if you've never tasted homemade stock, you are in for a real treat! It is so much nicer than the store bought variety and I have stumbled across a way of making stock that involves the least amount of effort! Let me share my tasty stock making ways with you...


To begin with, ingredients are collected over the course of a week. We go through a LOT of veggie peelings here and instead of tossing them straight into the compost and chook containers, I've been storing them in a container in the freezer specifically for a stock making session before they end up in there respective places.

So what goes in to stock?

Whatever you like...well mostly!

To our freezer container I add:

  • chicken bones from leftover roasts
  • veal bones from osso bucco
  • onion peelings, brown skin and all
  • celery tops and bottoms
  • carrot tops and peelings
  • tomato cores/ends
  • leek tops
As you can see, they are all scrappy waste offerings from the kitchen. I don't go out of my way to ensure we have stock making ingredients 'to hand', rather just save whatever I think is useful and freeze it. Once the container is bursting to the brim with the saved offerings from the week, I add them all to the slow cooker...usually jamming them in in their frozen state as inevitably I've saved too much...(!)

Yep, you can see they're straight from the freezer, the celery tops are limp and the carrot tops and onions have icicles covering them!

To the frozen scraps, I then add:

  • the odd garlic clove that is sprouting
  • parsley stems and leaves
  • a few bay leaves
  • several peppercorns


The whole lot is then covered with lukewarm water and turned on the low setting. I have been leaving it on overnight (at least 12 hours), to gently simmer away and do it's thing and in the morning wake up to a beautifully rich pot of golden stock..


The bulging pot is strained of the boney, vegetable debris and then poured through a sieve lined with muslin to catch any impurities lurking in the bottom of the pot. If you are after a super clear stock, it can then be clarified which involves whisking egg whites and eggshells into the liquid and straining again, however I don't bother with this step. Muslin does it for me ;)


In our modest size slow cooker I find that it produces 2-2.5 litres of stock without any problems. Now if my larger slow cooker hadn't died, this could be substantially increased, although I'm finding this quantity is just right to last us through the week until the next lot of stock is made.


To store the stock, I freeze it in 750ml containers and pull out one when making a soup, curry, casserole or pie..whatever. As the stock has simmered for such a lengthy time, it is incredibly flavoursome and really adds body to the finished dish! As a result, I am using less than what I previously did with the bought variety.


However, being chicken/vegetable flavoured, it never overpowers the dish..as I would suspect could be the case with beef bones (if using a lot) and definitely lamb bones (which I never use). Potato peelings don't make it into our stock pot either. This stock can go in anything to add flavour, while still allowing the character of the dish to shine through. If we were a vegetarian household I would still make stock, just omit the bones. Homemade tastes great! 

Chickeny, vegetabl-ly goodness...mmmm, yum! This surely has to be good for you! Plus, there is no packaging clogging up our bin and being made from a waste ingredient, like the pectin, it's free!

Do you make stock? What makes it into your pot? 


Comments

  1. Home made stock is the best. AND if you have food allergies like our family has some of the shop stock has milk in it...
    Love Leanne

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  2. I am loving this idea! I don't make stock because I've always thought it too time consuming, that I need to have particular ingredients and time to make it etc. I love that I can gather the ingredients through the week and it sounds so easy.

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  3. Thanks Christine, this looks great. I'm the same as Meg and thought it was all too hard. Now with my new slow cooker however....

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  4. My mouth is watering just from looking at your photos, I am sure it's delicious!

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  5. Like you, I always thought stock was too fiddly, but I have been using this method too for a while now and it is really easy. I have also used turkey, pork and fish bones so I have all sorts of different stock in the freezer for every occasion! I re-use our butter containers to store the stock and its so easy to just pull one out of the freezer (I try to remember to defrost it the day before, but rarely do) and add it to any dish. I now use stock in just about anything with a sauce, just because its there. The great thing about the slow cooker is you can really leave the stock for a long time without worrying about it, which was my main problem with having a pot on the stove. I usually cook my stock for 24 hours now, as recommended my Nourishing Traditions for maximum flavour and goodness. Another tip, is if I see celery etc in the specials bin I will buy it and put it in the freezer for the next stock pot.

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    1. Love the idea of using the butter containers, Liz! We've been using empty peach containers (aldi) but they're sometimes a bit on the large size for one session. 24 hours, really? I must get a hold of Nourishing Traditions.

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  6. I haven't yet made my own stock but I have been thinking about giving it a go. This winter we are eating a lot of homemade chicken soup and I think using our own stock would make it so much tastier. Thanks for sharing this recipe. :)

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  7. Like you Christine I thought stock was to fiddly and time consuming to bother making but you've encouraged me to give it a go through your no fuss method. Finally I might actually fill my extra large slow cooker to the brim.

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  8. Don't forget to add a dash of apple cider vinegar to help draw out all the beneficial minerals in the bones. And save the rind off your parmesan cheese chunk to put into the stock as well for a great flavour. I also freeze some of mine in ice cube trays and throw in a couple in a saucepan to braise vegies, delish!

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    1. Thanks for the tips, Bronwyn, will be trying the acv!

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  9. I make stock. I've dedicated an entire freezer shelf to it, and we keep homemade beef, pork, chicken and fish stock. I usually make it in a pressure cooker all in one frenzied weekend - I find the pressure cooker concentrates the flavours in a very short time. I make beef stock from beef brisket (with bones), then stash all the shredded meat in the freezer for an extra meal. Works well! :)

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  10. I make stock just like you do, but not in the slow cooker, I just gather what is around, often when I am doing a weekly fridge up date...or cutting up my weekly containers of chopped vegies....I have two containers that I fill and put in the freezer, I pulled out the last of the two today, so that means its stock making day too............

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  11. I had no idea it was so easy, I love the idea of just storing the scraps up in the freezer until the container is full. I like Bronwyn's suggestion of adding apple cider vinegar too - I really have to try this. If my "I want to do..." list grows any longer though I'm going to have to take a holiday from reading your inspiring blog! Thanks for this post.

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  12. I make stock often in my pressure cooker - it takes about 20 minutes. In it goes an onion, some celery and carrot (these later get fed to the dog), some peppercorns and parsley stalks. If I am making a chicken dish, I will joint a chicken and use the back and the wing tips. Cover with water and cook.

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    1. No pressure cooker here, unfortunately Paola. The shorter cooking time sounds tempting!

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  13. didn't know you could do this! I spend alot of time in the stock aisle in supermarket....you have converted me!!

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  14. i make stock weekly or so too..i don't freeze at all but i find each week i have bits and pieces to throw in..i tend to roast the bones with the aromatics and then when it's all nicely caramelized i boil it in a stock pot with the softer herbs like parsley etc..i find that it is so flavoursome that i can strain the first stock, add more water to the pot and boil it briefly and then strain it to get a slightly less flavoursome but nevertheless very tasty second lot of stock..

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    1. That's fantastic that you're getting two batches from the one lot of ingredients, Jane!

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  15. I made pumpkin soup last night and my husband came out and said it was the best soup ever. Not just what I've made (and I make alot) but ever! I couldnt think what I had done differently and then it dawned on me. I used homemade chicken stock made from the bones of our last roast. So there you go, it was free and yummy to boot. Cheers Lynda Melbourne Australia

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  16. Such a fantastic and simple piece of advice. I love homemade stock but always thought i would have to purchase specfic veges for it. This makes total sense. I can't believe i haven't thought of it before! Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Totally sold on this although short on freezer space, looks delicious. Seems so strange to use the onion skins. Should have bought those muslin baby wraps I saw in the op shop today. It really is ridiculous to buy the stuff when we have everything we need to make a better version in the garden.

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    1. The onion skins act as a natural dye, Kirsty..just like when dyeing easter eggs or even yarn!

      I was at the op shop yesterday and looked for muslin wraps for you but couldn't see any..

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  18. I'm sold and love the idea of storing away some scraps in the freezer. Scraps for the chooks, scraps for the compost, scraps for the worms and now scraps for the freezer. And to think there have been times in my life when I used to throw out the lot. Bronwyn also has some good ideas and I will try the cider vinegar trick and have a parmesan rind waiting as we speak!

    Too many good ideas Christine, you must write a book!

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    1. Ha, you're too kind, serendipity. I asked my daughter to print off a few of my most used posts a while back and she did a great job putting them in a folder for me ;)

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  19. I do meat stocks, veggie stocks only I use a pressure canner to do mine. I pressure the stock for about 30 minuites, then cool, drain, then clean the canner, do my jars, usually quarts, then fill my jars, and then pressure for about 30 minuites, cool and then remove the jars and cool overnight, and yummy broth and stocks. It makes short work of broth making down to a knat's eye.
    I pressure can as I have no room for freezing jars and the pressurization of bones helps leach out the good stuff. I usually crack the bones also to help.
    I used to be afraid of the pressure canner, but no more, it is the most useful piece of equipment you can have, and your jars will stay for several years. I also use both one time lids and Tattler lids.

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    1. I've had moments of temptation with pressure canners, denimflynz, I would LOVE To be able to preserve low acid food without freezing them. The size of the unit and storing it (and the initial outlay) are my biggest hurdles at the moment...

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  20. I do make stock on occasion, and I also save a bag of vegetable scraps until I'm ready to make it. I hadn't thought of making it in a crockpot overnight. Thanks for the tip. I will be trying that for sure with the next batch.

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  21. I always make stock on the stove, but this idea is brilliant! Thanks.

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  22. I like your method Chris, and I love the idea of the slow cooker as I could leave it on when I'm at the shop. I'm posting about stock this week too so I'll link here if I may.

    rosmar@1earth.net

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    1. Link by all means, Rose. This method could work quite well for you. ;)

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  23. I've made stock a couple of times but it all seemed like so much trouble. But I have never thought of putting the weekly stuff in the freezer. What a great idea. And then to use the slow cooker. Ingenious. I'm so trying this. I make a lot of soup and I'm not too keen on the rubbish they must be putting in those stock cubes.

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    1. Yep, I know Gordan Ramsay has nothing against using bouillon cubes on occasion, veggiegobbler, but all of those additives worry me too.

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  24. I have been making my own stock for years but never thought of using the slow cooker. Love!

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  25. looks simple and great
    thanks for good ideas for it
    not 'special' things, so it looks more 'do able'.

    looking forward to making it,. thanks!

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  26. Hi Christine
    I have been making stock for over a year now. I make three kinds - chicken, beef and lamb. Lamb is the elast often as I only buy 1/2 lamb every 3 months and then use the ribs for stock. We make chicken stock weekly as I buy only whole chickens now and portion it myself so I have the wonderful full carcass to use for stock. This is used up each week in soups (see my most recent blog post). Beef I make every two weeks with beef bones and short ribs that I get from our organic butcher. These also go into soups and stews. I have found the rich stock flavours have revolutionised the taste of our winter foods.

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    1. The stock revolutionaries - I like it, Wendy!

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  27. You know that stock looks pretty golden, fits in with the yellow theme beautifully.

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  28. Hi Christine. Just thought I'd let you know I made your Calendula Soap. It turned out great. Thank you. xxoo
    http://julie-beautyintheeveryday.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/wholemeal-apple-chocolate-cake.html

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  29. I love this homemade stock idea! I really must invest in a slow cooker and freezer.

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  30. This is great Christine. Thank you so much for sharing this idea and I had no idea that you could use onion skins and using a slow cooker too..sheer brilliance!!!

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  31. Darn it all wish I had read this before I threw those celery tops into the compost bin.......
    Will definitely give this a whirl and share it with my non-blogging friends.

    CLaire :}

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  32. Hi Christine - I also make stock weekly (but on the stove). I add white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar, either one will draw the calcium out of the bones. Also chuck in some fresh parsley about 15 mins prior to turning off. When you start using your own chooks for stock you will be amazed at the flavour difference too. One tip - if you can get chicken feet (yes really!) and add them (a few per stock even if its not chicken stock) the amount of geletin that is in your stock increases exponentially. it makes SUCH a difference! make sure you scrub them well if they are your own chooks feet ;) they get pretty dirty... Anyway - try it out... the stock will set to a jelly like consistency in the fridge and if you use enough even on the bench. And geletin is soooo good for you (check out 'broth is beautiful' at Weston A Price)
    Cheers Kea

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  33. Making the first batch of beef stock now after saving the vegie peelings all week in the freezer (normally they'd go to the bokashi bin, compost bin or worm bin). I had a chat to my butcher about bones to use and so on and he came out from the back freezer with a big bag of marrow bones for me that he cut up! I guess it pays to make friends with your butcher :)

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  34. Wow! Was a bit sceptical but just tasted the brew simmering away and it is sensational. Definitely one of the best tips I've had for a very long time. Thank you very much.

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  35. Oh you've inspired me. I've been using a lot of bought stock and would love to make my own. The idea of cutting out all of this packaging is appealing too.

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  36. Love the idea of freezing offcuts for stock! I now realise I've been so wasteful to buy stock ingredients! I make it once a week at the moment, that seems to be about the right frequency for us. Thanks for the tip!

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  37. I do stock (but nothing like your awesome effort!) this way - three dinners from one chicken:
    http://seemyfootprints.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/one-chook-three-meals.html
    it's not my idea but it's a great one to share and it works well :)

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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