If you’re looking for a simple way to up your kitchen game and save money this season, look no further than your compost bin! All those onion skins, mushroom trunks, parsley stems, carrot tops, potato peels and celery ends have the makings of a delicious homemade stock.
Start with a freezer-safe gallon-size bag. Add vegetable refuse as you cook and store the bag in the freezer. Most households can fill a gallon bag with vegetable trimmings, wilted herbs, a lemon rind and few leftover chicken bones over the course of a just a couple weeks. Once the bag is full, put the contents in a slow cooker with a bay leaf or two, cover with water and cook on high for 12 hours. The longer it cooks, the more richly flavored your stock will be. Get ready; your house is going to smell great.
Remove the large debris with a strainer and discard. Those veggies have done their work – all the flavor is in the liquid now! Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth, skim off fat if desired, and transfer to canning jars (be sure to leave at least an inch of head-space between the liquid and the top of the jar) and seal with lids. Once the liquid has cooled to room temperature, the jars can be safely transferred to the freezer. Keep one jar in the fridge, so it’s ready to use.
Note: if making a strictly plant-based stock, be sure to include quite a few mushroom trunks or even some squash peelings as these will add a heartiness that more closely mimics that of chicken stock.
Next time you’re making soup, cooking up your favorite grain, or braising a cut of meat – use a jar of your homemade stock to add a depth of flavor to your dish. Give yourself a pat on the back for reducing kitchen waste and finding a thrifty pantry solution!
No time to whip up a batch before your next meal? Our Meat & Seafood team makes its own poultry stock in house as a way to reduce waste. Available frozen and ready-to-use. Or check out the growing selection of bone broth, stock and bouillon in our grocery aisle.