Stocking Up

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Today we celebrated with Jim’s mom and sister. I used homemade turkey stock I had on hand in the freezer for the turkey gravy (gravy recipe courtesy of Pioneer Woman.) More on that later . . .

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If you haven’t embraced making your own chicken, turkey, vegetable, or beef stock, now is a great time! Save that Thanksgiving turkey carcass, or ask your holiday hosts if they want to part with theirs. Stock is healthy, easy, delicious, and economical.

I got hooked on making homemade stock thanks to Lisa Leake’s encouragement on her  100 Days of Real Food blog. Basically, real food to Lisa means bypassing food purchases that boast more than five ingredients on the label. Anymore than that and, Lisa contends,  you will probably be eating chemicals. Homemade stock requires only real food ingredients which is a necessity for Jim and a cooking goal for me.  I really like her approach; implement one new healthy choice at a time until “real food” is the norm in your daily menu planning.

Lisa’s blog introduced me to a simple homemade chicken stock recipe in the crockpot, and I’ve been doing vegetable, beef, chicken, and turkey stocks from scratch ever since. She’s into cutting out refined sugar, eating organic when possible, and frugal food shopping. I’ve done some of her challenges to cut out processed foods from my cooking. Very fun and motivating!

 

Katie Kimball at Kitchen Stewardship offers a quality stock recipe as well. Her blog covers a wide spectrum of topics, going beyond recipes and meal planning. If it’s healthy and homemade, she’s game to talk about it. Interestingly, her technique for stock is a bit different from Lisa’s as she focuses on pulling the most nutrients possible out of the bones. Her stock is made in a large pot on the stove and requires a few more steps. Katie is a bit more into the science of cooking, providing explanations to how her methods may be more nutritional. What I appreciate about Katie’s blog is when she learns something that improves the nutritional benefits of her recipes, she doesn’t hesitate to share these findings and the rationale behind the changes. She’s always trying to do better in the kitchen, and so am I.

Keeper of the Home, an quality blog of frugal living, also has an excellent homemade stock recipe. It’s similar to the one at Kitchen Stewardship. What these two blogs have in common is the emphasis on adding vinegar to the stock water to pull out nutrients and the importance of creating gelatin with your stock.

For specifics and steps to making homemade stock, check out any of the blogs above. In the meantime, here’s a quick look at what I do to get you started.

Crockpot Method (Lisa Leake et al)

  1. Place bones of a beef roast, chicken, or turkey carcass in an 8 quart crockpot. Or if you are making vegetable stock, place vegetable scraps such as the ends of celery and carrots, skins of onions, tips of snap green beans, and the outer covering of garlic. For the meat stocks, add celery, carrots, onions, and/or garlic. It doesn’t matter how much or how many.
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Just throw the whole chicken carcass or other leftover bones in the crock.

2. Fill crockpot with water, vegetables, and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Use whole fresh veggies, scraps from a recent meal you made, or odds and ends that you saved in your freezer.

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I pulled these veggie scraps out of the freezer. Save those scraps for stock!

 

3. Cook on low for 12-24 hours.

4. Strain broth into a bowl.

5. Pour into glass jars. Leave a good inch from the top of the jar.

6. Freeze or use some immediately for a soup or casserole. My crockpot makes 8 cups of stock.

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Heads up on the gelatin: if you don’t crack the bones or add vinegar to the water, you may not get that gelatinous goo that’s so good for you. Also, the vinegar draws out good stuff from the bones that is touted to help keep the body healthy. I would encourage you to do a little research on this gelling thing and it’s benefits. Kitchen Stewardship and Gnowfglins are good sites for info.

For my inspiration on the crockpot method, see Lisa Leake’s crockpot recipe.

 

Stock Pot Stove-Top Method (Katie Kimball et al)

  1. Place bones of your choice, or assorted vegetable peels and scraps, in an 8 quarter stock pot. Fill with cold water.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and let sit for 2 hours. Simmer on low for 24 hours.
  3. Strain broth into a bowl. Let cool.
  4. Pour into glass jars. Leave a good inch from the top of the jar.
  5. Freeze all or save a few cups in the fridge for soups and casseroles. For a more detailed recipe, see Katie Kimball’s recipe. 

Besides using homemade stock for extra nutrition in your recipes, I’ve never considered that just drinking the bone broth straight is also good for you.  Personally, I haven’t given it a try. I just got used to oil swishing, for Pete’s sake! Sigh . . . maybe after Thanksgiving and my next batch of stock.

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One of our Autumn backyard visitors. And no we don’t eat our wild turkeys. They’re our friends!

 

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