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Stock Up on Homemade Stocks

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Whoever invented store-bought stock is a genius! Talk about product markup. A box, can or bottle of stock can cost three times as much as the homemade version, and in many cases, stocks can be made with food that you would ordinarily throw away. It's a frugal cook's dream! Even better, you can control the salt. In most of my stocks, I don't even add any salt. (If my final dish needs it, I add it later.)

Stocks are not something you make on a busy weekday night, but the hour or two you spend making them on a slow Saturday afternoon will make your rush-hour meals that much more flavorful.

Another funny thing about stocks: You should never taste one and go "Oh my gosh, that's the best thing I've ever tasted!" You also shouldn't want to spit it out. It should be flavorful without overpowering the other ingredients in a dish. Use it instead of water when cooking grains, steaming vegetables, and thinning sauces.

Some people have a few bags or containers in the freezer for stock supplies. I do, too. I store shrimp shells, chicken bones, mushroom stems, and extra bits of chopped onions, carrots, and celery when I've chopped too much for dinner. You can also save parsley stems. However, I do not recommend saving any part of a vegetable you wouldn't normally eat. That is, save carrot tops, peelings, onion skins, and garlic paper for your compost bin, not your stock pot.

Here are a few basic stock recipes to help you boost flavor with almost zero fat!

Vegetable Stock

Making homemade stock is so easy! Try reducing the stock and freezing it in ice cube trays; once frozen, pop out and keep in the freezer until you need homemade stock.

This entire recipe costs $1.90--three times the stock for less than what one box of supermarket stock costs.

Robust Vegetable Stock

This veggie stock has a stronger, richer flavor than most. I saute the vegetables for an extra layer of flavor, and I added extra veggies to the mix.

Get those knives ready! This recipe is a great chance to practice chopping. The smaller your veggies are chopped, the more flavor you can extract from them.

I love to use fennel and tomatoes in my stock, but feel free to switch it up with mushrooms, turnips, leeks, or asparagus. Stay away from Brussels sprouts, beets, or spinach. They will give your stock strong flavors or wild colors. Also, avoid adding potatoes since they are starchy and will make your stock cloudy.

Chicken Stock

After you've roasted a chicken or turkey (check out my recipes here), don't throw away the bones. They can be used to make homemade, low-sodium stocks, which can add flavor to your healthy, home-cooked meals.

Seafood Stock

Chicken and beef stocks are easy to find on store shelves, and many of them taste almost as good as homemade. It's a bit trickier to find seafood stock, and I've never found one that I really like. Thankfully, making your own is fairly easy.

Buy shrimp with the shells on them. Peel off the shells, use the shrimp in your favorite recipe, and freeze the shells until you're ready to make stock.

Mushroom Stock

If you want a stock packed with flavor, this is the one to make. I love it in both Italian and Asian meals. Add ginger for Asian-style stock and garlic if you're using it in Italian dishes.

Mushroom stems are tough and often woody, but who wants to waste expensive produce? Save them for use in stocks!

Stock vs. broth: Stock and broth are both flavorful liquids that we use as the foundation of soups and stews. Meat stocks contain bones, vegetables, herbs and seasonings; vegetable stocks contain only the latter three. Broth is made with the same ingredients, plus meat left on the bones.

A tip on storage: I like to reduce my stock in volume by half to concentrate the flavors. I pour the cooled broth into ice-cube trays, then freeze. The broth cubes go into a zip-top bag so I can pull out as little or as much as I need. I also freeze some in one-quart plastic containers.

Will you make your own stock? Which kind? How do you use stock?

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PATRICIA-CR 2/27/2020
They are so good to keep at hand, frozen and ready to use. Report
ERIN_POSCH 10/11/2019
Thanks for sharing Report
I make bone broth, which means I simmer bones, either from a roast, or browned in the oven first, from organic meat. Beef gets summered for 48 hours, chicken for 8+. I first put in cold water and some apple cider vinegar and let it sit for an hour to help leach minerals out of the bones. Knuckle bones will add gelatin to the stock. I add bay leaf, onion, carrot celery, parsley, pepper corns. Himalayan salt and turmeric. I store the broth in the freezer in heavy glass jars I save from coconut oil. I never store the broth in plastic for fear of chemicals leaching. Report
I do make chicken stock. I use very little onion, season salt, garlic, pepper etc Report
I saw that they use all of the onion to make stock and it seem to turn out good. Not sure why they don't want you to use them but I am going to try it. Stock can be too expensive for some dishes when you need to make them. Report
I'm not sure why the author says to only use parts of veggies you'd eat. That is one of the benefits of stock, use the parts that would get tossed, at least in my family that's the case. I add garlic and ginget right to the pot. I also use an instantpot. Report
My Mom would always have us save the leftover meats for this very thing. I'm a chicken and veggie stock person and eat a lot of salads so it's a good means of additions to soups and even gravy for fish, rice and/or fowl. I like these recipes, thanx Report
I do this as a matter of course, as my mother taught me... leftover meat and beans go in the pot to make stock, same with left over veggie bits. It always tasted better than store bought, and I think it was the sodium content as we never salt to the stock, just to whatever dish we were making with the stock. Now that mom is gone... my dad continues the tradition/habit, but I think he adds salt. Report
I always have chicken stock in my freezer, it's easy and I use it constantly. Beef stock is more work, and unless you have a reasonable source of beef bones, it can get pricey. Generally, for beef stock, I buy knorr's concentrated beef stock, because mostly when I use it for sauces, I want it very reduced. I did buy seafood stock powder, as I don't use this as often, and wanted something easy. Vegetable stocks I find to be insipid, might as well use water. Report
This is great! I always have a problem with buying too much stock and it goes to waste! Making my own will definitely help! Report
I've made my own stock for years too. It really helps me control my sodium intake, and makes casseroles and soups much more tasty. Report
I've made my own stock for years. I freeze some but mostly pressure can it for convenience. It works well for those who have limited freezer space but remember you have to use a pressure canner not the boiling bath method. Report
Very informative article! Report
Love the ice cube tray trick! Such a great idea! Report
When we make a turkey we roast the bones in the oven for an hour or so and make the best stock. We never add salt because we add that when we use the stock later. We freeze it in 2 cup portions and use it all the time. Report
We roast a chicken almost weekly (on a vertical roaster in the oven, awesome because the bottom of the chicken doesn't sit in the fat coming off the bird - rather the fat collects in the bottom of the roaster) and I always make broth. I use a pressure cooker and put in 1/2 onion, carrot peelings (well washed) and the small center ribs of celery and celery leaves. The best part about the pressure cooker is that the broth takes 50 minues to be done rather than hours! Report
Freezing broth in an ice cube tray makes it easy to use just a bit. zip-lock bag them and use only as needed rather than having to thaw a whole container Report
I NEVER buy prepared broth that the factory dragged a chicken thru hundreds of gallons of water, added lots of salt, then packaged it for shelves in the grocery store. It is so easy to use your celery leaves, onions, carrots and lots of herbs to make your own. I buy chicken breasts with bone-in at sale prices and love to make my own. (Can use the chicken for casseroles or soups too.) Always have homemade broth in the freezer.
Also, when I cook a chicken in the oven, I remove chicken, add water to pan and bring it to a boil. Save it in container in freezer and add future chicken broth and water from vegetables such as potatoes cooked for mashing. If you drain that broth and don't save it, a lot of vitamins just washed down the drain.
Save the beef broth, too. Report
Sounds like a great idea. I am going to start making my own stock. Report
I was feeding my cat canned food until I ran out and happened to have chicken leftovers. He loved the "real chicken" so much that now I boil up chicken thighs for him and then save the broth for me! Report
When I make a stock with bones, I put 2 T. vinegar in the pot. This helps to get more "goodness" from the bones. I also leave the bones in while cooling overnight. The next day I skim the hardened fat, strain, and store. If the stock is really gelatinous(thick), I will reheat slightly in order to strain. Report
If you use silicone ice cube trays or mini muffin trays, instead of plastic ones, popping the cubes out will be a breeze! Report
my husband makes his own chicken stock. It is much better than what you buy, and not so expensive either. Report
Just made my own veggie stock today! Report
There areonly two of us we are retired but I am of the generation that does batch cooking. On a not too warm day I put chickens in to roast 2 at a time. I cook other items alomg with them often A tray of root vegetables. We eat one chicken, I pick off extra meat and put the carcass in the pot to boil or if it not convenient I freeze it for later. Most often I use my homemade chicken stock with the reamining chicken meat and make a pot of chicken stew, For a quick meal I thaw the other chicken to use breast for sandwiches or salad and again a pot of chicken stew, often with beans, black or any other canned bean thoroughly rinsed to reduce sodium. I keep fozen stock in my freezer for future use. Pat in Maine. Report
Thanks for the recipes, I would like to make stock but wasn't sure how to. Still unsure about the difference between broth and stock. I drink broth when I am sick but I haven't ever heard of someone drinking stock. Report
I've just started making my own stock recently and it's so easy I wish I'd done it sooner. I make a cooked chicken about two or three times a month and if I don't have time to make stock right away, I put the carcass in the freezer for later. It's much cheaper and as the article says it has way less sodium than the store bought versions. I also make vegetable stock. I don't usually make beef on the bone so not sure about beef stock, but I don't actually use beef stock much anyway so it's not a big deal to get that ready done for cheap (I usually stock up with coupons when it's on sale). I freeze them in ice cube trays like it says as well. Report
I make my own stock. Usually turkey and also vegetable stock. I prefer it being able to control the salt content. Report
So glad to see other stock junkies out there! Home-made stock is the magic ingredient that makes any meal special. And, yes, Coach, I love that it's inexpensive and cuts down on waste! Report
Sounds great. Will have to give this a try! Report
I also don't have any freezer space to spare. I hate buying vegetable stock though, because I use it so rarely and I use such a small amount at a time that a lot of it goes to waste. I can't wait until I can get a house and a big freezer. Then I can make so much more in advance!! Report
I've heard you can use the scraps from when you peel your vegetables to make stock. Just freeze the scraps until the day when you feel like making the stock. I can't wait till I get a freezer in the future, it will make saving so much easier! Report
It's a GREAT idea, but I'd need such a freezer! I live alone, so the amount of time I'd need to accumulate enough of any single type of ingredient to make stock-making worthwhile would be ginormous. Fantastic for those with families, though--and it's how I grew up; Mom cooked down just about anything that stayed still long enough to be reduced to stock. Report
I roast a chicken nearly every weekend for dinner on Sunday and then use the carcass for stock. I make it in the crock pot. It couldn't be easier. Report
Thanks for the info. Sounds like a very good idea! Report
Great idea. I make soup often, but never think of making stock and freezing it for later use. Thanks for the tip. Report
I recommend Bone Broth from grass fed animals: soup bones, marrow bones, etc. Super anti-inflammatory and all sorts of other benefits! Report
Made 4 qts. of veg. stock last weekend w/ all the "Coolies" in my Freezer.. Report
Oh, also, maybe someone has already mentioned this, sorry didn't read all the posts. But the Mushroom Stock you speak of... You said to add garlic for Asian flavors and garlic for Italian flavors... I'm guessing you meant to say "add GINGER" for Asian flavors? I love ginger... I might go get some mushromms and make this one myself! Report
I, too am a vegetarian (+fish) but i don't really cook at home.... Thank you for the list of what DOESN'T go into stock - I was wondering if I could use the peels and carrot tops to make stock. Now I know I can't, so I will continue to buy the Imagine and Pacific Foods Veg Broth and No-Chicken Stock. Report
I'm a vegetarian so I make vegetable stock. I like making my own because I can control the ingredients especially the salt. Report
Thanks for reminding me that my stock stash is getting low, but never fear my late winter veggies are nearly done in the garden and spring veggies are well on their way! Time to "stock up on stock." Making you own stock is a great way to give all your dishes tons of flavor, but easy on the pocketbook. :-) Report
I just made vegetable stock on Sunday. I haven't frozen it yet because I intend to add something to it first but making stock is so simple and so good. Report
I like to make chicken stock and use that to cook grains and freeze until needed. I have never tried veggie stock, but I will have to try that. Report
I'll start making stock. I love soup Report
I love making soup stock. I freeze mine in muffin tins, and then put it briefly in hot water to loosen the little pucks it makes, then put it in a Zip-Lock. It's a little less fussy than ice cube trays, and I usually use at least one puck's worth anyway. Report
My veggie stock is always free (but keep carton on hand, just in case). Every time I trim/peel veggies (onion peels, ends of veggies) or have veggies that have been in fridge a bit too long (have that less & less, thank goodness) I pop them in a plastic bag & throw in freezer, then when I'm ready to make stock, I put in a huge pot (usually with 2 or 3 bags worth of 'garbage'), fill with filtered water & make the BEST stock ever! Cost: FREE!!! Normally it would have gone in compost, which it does AFTER it's been cooked into stock. Report
Great thoughts! For a recipe I was preparing the other day, I cooked B/S breasts with water, poultry seasoning and a bit of salt and pepper. Later, I took the broth and added and simmered carrots, celery, some broken-up whole-wheat spaghetti pieces and the leftover chicken...yum yum! Sodium is definitely off the charts in canned stock, so this is a healthier version, for sure. Report
I have made turkey soup stock before and froze it, it was so good when I ended up using it but I don't do it as much as I should. think I will look into this more Report
I have made chicken stock from roasting chicken. Also make turkey soup from leftovers and bones. Haven't done the beef for a time. Will have to keep it in mind. Report
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