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Make Your Own {Stock}

Homemade stock falls under the category of Free Food, for me. It is essentially made of ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away (or hopefully composted) and not only is it incredibly nutritious, but also versatile.

Stock comes in a few types- chicken and beef are common, but there is also vegetable and fish. What you make is up to you but the same basic steps apply, making this a pretty easy recipe.

Why make your own stock? 

When you make your own you know exactly what ingredients are in it. If you look at the ingredient list on store-bought chicken stock, for example, there are a lot of ingredients in there that I try to stay away from. Also, it can be high in salt. When you make your own, you can make it salt-free and add the salt to your cooking when you use it. Also, it is virtually free. A few minutes of your time, food scraps and water, and you have an infinitely better product. And that leads me to my final reason for making it myself- it tastes so much better.

How to use it?

Homemade stock isn't just for soup. Although, it makes amazing soup. I use it for gravies, risotto, pasta sauces, braised meat and vegetables, curries, stews, and of course, soup. It is an amazing alternative when a recipe calls for water. I even cook rice in stock and it gives the rice amazing flavour.

How much to make?

This depends on how much you will be using and how often. I tend to make a big batch when I have the ingredients, and then freeze it for later use in 1 litre tubs. So I generally make 4-6 litres at a time.

What is in it?

I suggest keeping it simple and using just a few basic ingredients. You can add more interesting flavours when you cook with it. 

Chicken- chicken bones leftover from a cooked chicken, onion skin, carrot peels, celery ends, and a handful of herbs (optional- bay leaf, thyme, rosemary)

Beef- beef bones leftover from cooking, onion skin, carrot peels, celery ends, (optional- bay leaf, rosemary)

Fish- fish bones, onion skin, celery ends, (optional- fennel trimmings)

Vegetable- vegetable trimmings such as carrots, celery, onion, broccoli and herbs (do not use potato or garlic peels)

Technique

I keep a freezer bag in the freezer where I store carrot peels and other vegetable trimmings. When I am prepping vegetables, I bring the bag out and put it on the counter so I can easily transfer carrot peels, celery ends, parsley stems and onion peels into the bag and then keep it in the freezer until I am ready to make stock. I highly recommend using vegetable trimmings and skin versus the actual vegetable because there is more flavour and colour in it. 

When I have roasted a chicken, I store the remaining bones in a bag in the freezer (same goes for other meat) and when I have time to make a batch of stock I have it ready to use.

Put bones and vegetables in a large pot, add a bay leaf or herbs if using, cover with cold water and put on the stove. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, make sure to add water if needed. Lower the temperature to medium and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Then drop to a simmer for about an hour. Watch the water level and top up if needed. 

I then strain out the food scraps and I am left with beautiful stock. I cool it down using an ice water bath, and then transfer into 1 litre containers, label and freeze. Be sure that it has completely cooled before placing in the freezer.

Enjoy!

~Kimberley