It’s a rare thing these days, buying stock in a box or can. Before the holidays arrive full of turkey, chicken, and family members visiting I spend time to prepare and freeze stock.
Stock will keep in sealed containers in the freezer for about 6 months. Make sure to label anything you freeze for later use. Portions that are easier to manage are a good idea. Most of my containers hold 2 pints (about 4 cups), I use this as soup and stew base. Smaller containers, even freezer bags, work well for gravy. Sometimes when you roast drier types or cuts of meat, there’s not a heck of a lot liquid left in the pan. That’s where a bit of stock can extend or replace the pan drippings when making gravy.
To make your stock you need any of the following vegetables, spices and herbs:
- bay leaves
- black peppercorns
- cardamom pods
- cumin seeds
- caraway seeds
Then, if you want meat you can collect chicken, turkey or pork bones and freeze them in freezer ziptop bags until you have enough to make stock. When I buy whole chickens, I save the neck, wings, and legs. Either roasted or raw, freeze the extra bits for your stock. Bone marrow helps add richness to the stock. Beef can be used too, we just don’t have many beef bones leftover at my house!
Salt, should you add any at all, should be minimal. The stock is a component for something else, the destination might already contain salt so you don’t want to end up with sea water soup.
Ready? Throw the chunks of veggies, palm full of seasonings, the optional meat components into the biggest pot you own. Add water until everything is covered. Bring to a boil slowly, then reduce to low heat for an hour or longer. The longer you simmer the stock, the more concentrated it will be due to evaporation.