How to Make Homemade Stock

If you have some experience preserving, why not learn how to make homemade stock for cooking? This collection of recipes will get you started.

| December 2014

Canned stock

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

Photo courtesy W. W. Norton & Company

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.

12/31/2014 2:37:20 PM

I began canning my own broth this year after my deer meat was delivered in large portions. I thought freezing in manageable sizes and making broth from the bones etc. would be a good idea. But like a lot of canning and freezing articles, it leaves us with shelves or a freezer full of beautiful food but no recipes to suggest how to use them. Can you follow through more often, in the magazine also, with good ways to use these wonderful foods we've put up? Thanks.

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