Homemade Stock – Healthful Broth Made Easy out of Kitchen Scraps!

Feb 14 2021
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Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad’s side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me for my birthday for many many years. She would buy a whole roaster chicken and boil it all day. She would put the resulting beautiful stock in one pot and all the meat off of the chicken would go in another pot. She would add fine, short, angel hair egg noodles to the broth and heavy cream to the chicken. The cream chicken we would pour over buttered toast and serve it beside the wonderful homemade chicken noodle soup. She liked a splash of ketchup in her soup ๐Ÿ™‚

It was just wonderful.

And the way it made her house smell will forever be the smell of “all is well” for me.

Funny story: I’ve mentioned this meal over the years at family get togethers thinking FOR SURE everyone had probably had the experience too… and I’ve been met with lots of blank stares…

I am VERY suspicious that my Grandma decided this was my birthday meal because she wanted an excuse to make it for herself lol I’m very glad she did!

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Over the years it didn’t matter where I was living or what kind of kitchen I had I’ve always made homemade stock and had it on hand.

(A whole movement all about “bone broth” has become really popular – there’s no denying just how good it is for us!)

When Lodi and I were first dating he got a terrible cold and fever so, of course, I went directly to my freezer for a jar of homemade stock. (It was probably turkey broth because it wasn’t far from the holidays when that occurred.)

With my gluten problems I don’t keep pasta around but I stopped at the store that day and picked up a bag of the fine angel hair egg noodles my Grandma always used and I made Lodi homemade soup.

I tucked him in on the couch and handed him a big mug of it to sip.

He devoured most of the whole pot of soup that day and never forgot it!

When I was single there were countless times over the winter months, after a long day at work, when I would come home and heat up a pot of stock. I wouldn’t even bother adding anything to it.

I would just drink it out of a coffee mug and it would make everything better.

If you can boil water you can make homemade stock.

I’ve figured a few tricks out along the way.

My first purchase for making stock was a pasta pot.

Yep, those big pots specific for boiling pasta are absolutely perfect for this. No more dumping a giant pot of boiling stock into a colander inside another pot sitting in the sink!

(Or forgetting the second pot and straining your broth right down the drain… ask me why I mention it… *facepalm*)

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

I have absolutely no idea who made this meme – I certainly didn’t! And I probably have no right to share it on my website for that matter either!

I had a Ah-Ha moment a few years back when I had purchased vegetables to make my homemade stock with and it seemed like such a waste… from that day forward I started saving ALL of my veggie scraps. Potato peals, bell pepper insides, onion peals, garlic peals, green bean ends, you name it, if its part of a vegetable I save it now.

However, even though the vegetables added wonderful color and flavor, they were a pain in the butt to separate out from whatever meat I was using.

So, I purchased another strainer that would fit inside the pasta pot.

(If you click on that link you’ll find that both this link and the one before it goes to an absolutely genius product: a pasta pot just like mine that comes with TWO STRAINERS – absolutely perfect for this!)

My Grandma always took the meat out of her stock but I don’t do that and I generally don’t boil whole birds either.

When I purchase chicken at the store I get whole hens and d-bone them. I section out the meat to freeze in dinner size portions for us. 2 wings, 2 drummies and 2 thighs in one bag, 2 breasts in another freezer bag etc. and then I use the rest of the bird for making homemade stock.

I use two to three chicken carcasses to make one batch.

The carcass goes into the first colander and then the veggie scraps go into the second strainer which I heavily salt and pepper. (The pepper granules stay mostly with the veggies instead of settling down to the bottom of the pot but they still impart all of their flavor and the salt helps the veggies break down while flavoring everything.)

I fill the whole thing up with water, put a lid on it and let it simmer for at least two hours.

Depending on the vegetables the flavor does differ a little from batch to batch for us and the onion peals give it a wonderfully rich color. Generally I don’t have to add more water to it, it cooks down to about 3/4s and that’s part of my cue that its ready.

I take the entire pot and set it in the sink. I pull out the vegetable strainer first and toss what’s left of the veggies. I pull out the pasta pot colander and set it by the pot in the sink leaving me with a gorgeous pot of homemade stock and the colander with the meat I was using.

I let it cool for a bit before tackling it and getting every last scrap of meat off of the bones.

It never ceases to amaze me how much meat we would normally throw away!

After everything cools I distribute out the meat evenly between the jars and then fill them up to around 3/4s with broth. I get around 6 quarts of stock per batch.

A tip I learned online: Never fill glass jars past their “shoulders” so the liquid has room to expand as it freezes.

I usually fill them well shy of that.

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Freezing with glass makes some folks nervous but of all of my years making stock I’ve only had two jars break on me and it was probably our fault bumping them in the freezer.

I take the lid off and pop it in the microwave on defrost if I don’t remember to move a jar to the refrigerator a couple of days before I use it.

These are the 2 Quart mason jars that I use. I used to just use 2 quart canning jars for this before I decided to treat myself with these short wide jars to make my life a little easier.

Our freezer is never more than a few days without a jar of homemade stock.

As soon as I use the last jar I head to the store to get a couple of chickens or (more likely) I already have all I need to make more in the freezer. (We eat a lot of chicken so I almost always have a bag of bones waiting to boil and I always have a bag of veggie scraps in the freezer too that I’m constantly adding to!)

Pasta can easily be added or substituted with almost anything to make just about any kind of soup. I’ve added cheese and cream and broccoli to my homemade chicken stock and made a mouth watering broccoli cheese soup. Chicken tortilla stoup isn’t far away with the addition of chicken, cream cheese and a jar of enchilada sauce or salsa!

For something different try quinoa instead of noodles for chicken quinoa soup! (It doesn’t get mushy like noodles do, so it keeps much better!)

Homemade stock is also a great base for many types of gravies and pasta sauces too. (I use my homemade turkey stock to make cream gravy *drools* and chicken stock makes incredible chicken alfredo sauce.)

Its great for cooking rice in because it adds so much flavor and I like having cooked white and wild rice in the freezer for easier week night meals.

(Tip about wild rice: Don’t just boil it in your stock. If its the REAL DEAL Minnesota Wild Rice it needs to be boiled a good half an hour (and rinsed at least a couple of times during) in plain water first or it will taste and smell like a fish tank. I’m convinced that when I hear anyone say they don’t like wild rice its because it wasn’t properly prepared.)

If you’re making soup and going to cook the noodles (or rice or whatever) directly in the stock – err on the side of caution – its really easy to add too much!

For a long time I cooked any starch separately before adding it to the stock so I didn’t add too much because a few times I ended up with a pot of noodles and no soup lol Still good but not what I was going for!

Obviously: You can use any bones you like!

I’ve made homemade ham stock many times in the past using leftover bones out of big Xmas hams. (Ham stock is amazing for making beans, cabbage or cream of potato soup! And you won’t believe how much ham would have been wasted!)

I actually prefer using turkey instead of chicken as I find the stock is more flavorful…

When I make our turkey for thanksgiving I D-bone it first and one carcass is enough to make two batches of stock. (In fact that’s exactly what I was using when I took the photos for this post.)

If I’m feeling really ambitious I’ll buy whole turkeys when they go on sale after the holidays but a turkey is a big, time consuming, bird to tackle!

I actually made two turkeys this last Thanksgiving (both were gifts from employers) so I had enough bones in the freezer for four batches of stock! That’s over $50 in basic Swanson chicken broth OR over $120 of organic turkey broth just waiting for me to make it!

(If I was purchasing stock for the amount of times I use it then we’re easily saving over $600 a year!)

Not to mention all the money we save on sauces and soups which we literally don’t buy at all!

For a treat this winter I used our homemade chicken stock to make totally easy (and cheating) chicken and dumplings.

To our stock I add two cups of cooked, shredded chicken, chopped carrots, celery and onions and then cook it down until the veggies are done. I thicken the stock a little bit with Wondra flour (another cheat I picked up from my Grandma that I always have on hand) and then I add raw, cut up, buttermilk Grands biscuits.

I put a lid on it and the biscuits cook in about ten minutes.

It will forever remain one of our winter staples!

I use only what would normally be thrown away in most kitchens so I think of this stock as totally free. I’m still just amazed at HOW MUCH wasted meat there is on bones and broth is so good for us!

(And store bought stocks are notoriously high in sodium, expensive and missing so much of the flavor and good-for-us things that we can only get by making it ourselves.)

When our dog Annie had dental surgery she too got to enjoy our homemade stock when solid food was too hard for her to eat. Though I did make her a special batch that excluded the onions because they’re toxic to dogs.

When we’re sick there really is no substitute!

Homemade Stock using kitchen scraps. My Grandma on my dad's side knew my favorite meal growing up and she made it for me every birthday

Comments

  1. Darlene
    February 14, 2021 at 10:57 am

    That is so good. I have done this for years and my family always loved it. It is so good. I always save the hambone and put in onion and white beans and make a soup. My boys and grandchildren love it. You are right, can get so many meals from a chicken or turkey, or ham. Great post.

    • February 16, 2021 at 9:39 am

      Thanks for commenting Darlene!

  2. D Gehman
    February 14, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    I have 2 2.5 gallon bags in the freezer – 1 for veg scrappage and 1 for leftover veg. Scrappage makes stock and leftovers make soup or stew. I lucked out and made a friend at an international market and he will save me things that no one else wants – turkey feet and wing tips, chicken and turkey hearts, hog jowls/knuckles/bones, calves/lambs tongue/kidneys/hearts – all of it makes lovely dinners.

    • February 16, 2021 at 9:39 am

      OMG What a wonderful resource to have! Thanks for commenting!

  3. February 16, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Yum!!

  4. Patty
    February 22, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Your soup looks and sounds delicious, I can almost smell it here ๐Ÿ™‚ I make stock from my leftover bones too. One thing I read years ago (it might have been from Martha Stewart) is to roast the chicken or turkey carcass before simmering it – it gives it a richer flavor and deeper color. I don’t care so much about the color, but the flavor part seems true. I hadn’t thought of saving my veggie scraps (most go to the chickens or the deer, lol) but I might try that too.

    • February 22, 2021 at 9:31 am

      Patty roasting the bones first is a great idea! Thank you for coming by and commenting!

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