How to Make Homemade Stock

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When you know how to make homemade stock, you can control exactly what goes into the jars — no ingredient list required!
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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.

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 instructions, which progress from the easiest to the most complex recipes. The following guides for how to make homemade stock are from chapter 2, “Canning Under Pressure: Groceries You’ll Never Have to Carry Home Again.”

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

Many energetic home cooks make their own stock, and certainly all good cooks rely on stock for recipes. I won’t lecture you on the value of homemade stock, or the economy of using bones left from other cooking projects. Instead, I will sing the praises of stock on the shelf; of jars sized for the job, a pint or a quart, depending on whether you are making a sauce or a soup; or of a freezer free of leaky plastic bags of stock or stacks of bulky containers that leave no room for your ice cream. We have priorities, people!

Stock making is an afternoon’s work, but it is not the kind of work that precludes doing other things. Get those bones in a big pot and then maintain a simmer for hours. When the stock smells wonderful, it’s ready. Break the work into two days, using a long rest in the refrigerator to separate the fat. (I find it enormously satisfying to remove that cap of fat.)

If your stock boils, proteins from the bones will accumulate at the surface. These are harmless but unattractive, and they should be strained out before canning. If some remain, they can be removed when the jar is opened.

Some bones, especially those from commercially raised chicken, may throw off cloudy gray foam. Scoop it off the surface of the stock with a clean stainless steel spoon; otherwise, it will remain even after straining. Consider pastured chickens the next time.

Having shelf-stable stock was one of the primary reasons I began pressure-canning. It’s exceedingly practical. Please note that these four recipes are salt-free. I never add salt to stock (or fumet), preferring to add it after opening the jar. It’s far easier to add salt than take it away.

A note on equipment: The best results will come from using a 16-quart or larger pot, or two 8-quart pots or another combination that adds up to 16 (or more) quarts.

3 Recipes for Pressure Canning Homemade Stock:

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe
Homemade Beef Stock Recipe
Homemade Fish Stock Recipe

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.