Build Your Own Broth

Broth or stock is a great Better Pantry ingredient to keep on hand. It adds extra flavor to rice or quinoa that water can’t match. It’s the liquid for most soups and stews. You can even simmer meat or veggies in broth instead of cooking fat to save calories without losing taste. But the best thing about broth is you can make it for free from kitchen scraps!
Basic stock recipes use some variation on meat, bones, aromatic veggies, and seasonings simmered together in water to extract all the flavor into a delicious liquid. Because you strain out all the solids, you can use scraps that you’ve already used the best eating parts of for other meals.

Homemade chicken broth in slow cooker

Save all your meat bones and use them for stock. I always recommend buying whole chickens because you can get multiple uses from them. Roast and eat the breast or thighs, pull the rest of the meat for chicken salad, and use all the scraps (bones, skin, tiny bits of meat that are too much work to pull) for broth. You can save beef, pork, or turkey bones for broth, too.

Most stock recipes call for onions, celery, and carrots, but you can use scraps for these, too. I save all the onion and garlic skins, carrot peelings, celery ends, and parsley stems when cooking other meals in a resealable bag in my freezer to use for stock. You can also add any wilted veggies that are on the verge of going bad to your stock, too. Don’t use too many carrots (no more than a third of your veggies) because they make the broth overly sweet. Avoid cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or kale because they get too bitter and sulfurous tasting in stock.

When I have leftover bones, I’ll toss the frozen veggie scraps I’ve been collecting in with them, add a little salt and pepper, maybe a bay leaf, cover with water and simmer it all together in a slow cooker for 4-24 hours. When it’s ready, strain out all the solid bits for the best homemade stock you’ve ever tasted! You can keep the stock in the fridge for a few days to use as needed. If you have more than you can use within 4 days, freeze it and use later. I usually freeze mine in a set of silicone muffin tins for single serving portions and store the frozen “pucks” in a gallon freezer bag. You can also use ice cube trays or small freezer bags (lay flat to freeze for easier storage).

Have you ever made homemade stock before? How do you cook with stock? Share with us in the comments!

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