Homemade Fish Stock Recipe

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Mild-flavored fish like haddock or flounder are ideal for this homemade fish stock. Salmon and mackerel are too oily and strong-flavored to work well as pressure canning fish.
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"Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry," by Cathy Barrow, is a guide to preserving everything from fruits and tomatoes to black beans and meats, loaded with recipes to use what you make and clear, easy-to-follow directions to give even beginning preservers confidence in their endeavors.
2 hr 20 min DURATION
20 min COOK TIME
7 pint jars SERVINGS


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds (900 g) leeks, white and pale green parts, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 2 pounds (900 g) carrots, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons lovage leaves or 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 5 pounds (2.25 kg) bones and heads (see headnote)
  • 1 cup (8 oz., 235 ml) dry white wine or white vermouth
  • 4 quarts (64 oz., 3.8 l) cool nonchlorinated water
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 12 parsley stems
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme


  • Heat the oil in an 8-quart or larger stockpot over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots, and lovage and cook until soft and translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the fish bones, and sauté for 5 minutes, turning the bones frequently.
  • Cover the pot and steam everything for 5 minutes, then add the wine and cook until the wine simmers steadily. Add the water, peppercorns, parsley, bay, and thyme and increase the heat and bring the mixture to the edge of a boil, then turn down the heat. (Do not let the mixture boil, or the stock will become cloudy and taste bitter.) Cover and gently simmer the stock for 1 hour.
  • Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer lined with damp cheesecloth into another pot or a large bowl. Ladle the hot stock into the clean jars. Wipe the jar rims clean with white vinegar. Place the lids and rings on the jars and finger-tighten the rings.
  • Process at 10 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes. Let the pressure fall and the canner cool before removing the jars.
  • Let the jars cool completely, about 12 hours, then test the seals. The fumet is shelf stable for 6 months. For a variation on this fish stock, substitute the fish bones with the shells from 4 dozen shrimp or from 6 lobsters for a sublime seafood stock that adds remarkable depth of flavor to fish stews and seafood risottos. Want more pressure canning recipes? Check out How to Make Homemade Stock.
    Reprinted from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving by Cathy Barrow. Copyright © 2014 by Cathy Barrow. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Buy this book from our store: Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.

Learn how to preserve everything you might find at a farmers market — or in your own backyard — with the clear, easy-to-follow directions you’ll find in Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014) by Cathy Barrow. Recipes for delicious ways to eat up your stores are interspersed throughout the canning, smoking, curing and brining instruction, which progress from the easiest to the most complex recipes. The following homemade fish stock recipe is from chapter 2, “Canning Under Pressure: Groceries You’ll Never Have to Carry Home Again.” Use this and our other canning resources to keep your pantry stocked with fresh foods all year long.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.

Fumet, the fancy French word for fish stock, smells of the sea, in only the very best way. It is my go-to start for seafood risotto, chowder, and chioppino. It can be a little challenging to get your hands on fish bones and heads, which is why you want to make friends with your fishmonger. Mild-flavored fish like cod, flounder, whitefish, pike, and haddock are appropriate for this broth; fish like salmon and mackerel, with their high fat content and strong flavors, are not.