Homemade chicken stock from garbage?

“Garbage?” you say.

Yes, garbage!

First let me start off by saying I am a writer, but I am also an avid gardener, food preserver, and a general foodie.

And I’m cheap.

I love preserving the old ways of cooking and putting food by, much like the character Phineas in my upcoming Men of Gilead novel, THE RHUBARB PATCH. Check out this cute scene about homemade chicken stock here.

Back to me being cheap. I love to see how much bang I can get for my cooking buck. Would you like to turn that $10 rotisserie chicken and scraps you were gonna pitch into 12-16 pints of stock? At the price of one jar of chicken broth, not only are you getting six helpings of chicken for dinner, but the leftovers gave you $20 bucks worth of FREE broth.

That’s my kinda savings.

Now some of you may compost, so what I am calling “garbage” might not be garbage to you. I compost too, but I found a better use for some of my kitchen scraps.

The “garbage” I’m referring to is the leftover chicken or turkey carcass(skin, fat and cartilage too), ham or beef bones and all your mirepoix peelings and scraps.

What is mirepoix? Check it out here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirepoix_(cuisine) Basically it’s celery, onion, and carrots. I believe Emeril called it the Holy Trinity of most dishes.

Now, if like me, you buy whole carrots because it’s cheaper and the flavor is better for cooking than baby carrots, then you have to peel them.

But don’t shove those peels or the green tops down your garbage disposal!

Bag of “garbage” scraps

Take every single one of them and stash them in a gallon freezer bag and put them in your freezer. Same for the celery butts and leaves, or just wilted celery that isn’t rotten but you don’t wanna eat. And the thick onion skins? Toss those in your freezer bag too. Just make note that the papery peels will make the stock cloudy. Personally I don’t care, but you might.

Now I take it a step beyond the basic mirepoix and save the tiny butts of my garlic and those green stalks that often grow inside the bulbs and toss those in my “garbage” freezer bag too. Also leeks and scallions are good to save. And the stems from your fresh herbs? Don’t leave those out! Heck, I’ve even saved parsnip, turnip, and beet peels too.

*NOTE* Don’t use cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cabbage. And avoid tomatoes and asparagus. It’ll ruin your stock.There are mixed thoughts on potato peels. Adding a few will thicken the broth, but too many will ruin it. I’ve never used any of these ingredients myself. If I’m making a roasted veggie stock I will save a few hot or bell peppers, but be careful as they can overpower the flavor of your stock too.

I’ve added lemons after squeezing them too. Sometimes I freeze them separate for free pectin in my jellies (I don’t like to waste) but one or two halves in a chicken stock brightens the flavor nicely.

Now after dutifully saving all these scraps, you can roast them with some olive oil and make veggie stock. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, this broth is DYNAMITE to cook rice or quinoa in. But if you want this trendy “bone broth” (aka known to the rest of us folks as grandma’s homemade stock) the next time you have a carcass you’ll be ready to go.

Mmmm! It makes the house smell so good!

Don’t you just love having a nice reason to say carcass?

No? Just me, eh? LOL

I make my stock in a crock pot. There’s really no point in doing it any other way, IMO. It’s just sooooo easy!

For the sake of this post, I’m making chicken stock, but if you have beef bones, make sure they have been roasted first, same with the veggies.

Step 1: Save all your scraps in the freezer: mirepoix, herb stems, garlic butts etc.

Step 2: You have a carcass! Yay! Now put it in your slow cooker, skin, fat, gunk in the bottom of the pan, drippings and any of that clear jelly like stuff too. Now don’t be squeamish, there’s lots of nutrients in there which are good for body, especially your hair, skin, and nails. (Do I have your attention now?)

Step 3: Dump in some of your frozen “garbage.” Leave enough space that the cooker is no more than 2/3 full.

Step 4: Cover with filtered water

Step 5: Add 1TBS cider vinegar. This breaks down the bones and helps leech out more nutrients. Let it sit an hour.

Step 6: Add salt to taste. Don’t skip the salt, you’ll regret it.

Step 7: Turn slow cooker to low…..I shouldn’t think I have to tell you to put the lid on now, but there ya go.

Step 8: Forget about it!

I cook my broth a minimum of 24 hours and have let it go as long as four days, adding water as I needed. Seriously, the four day broth was soooooo rich! Like liquid consomme. Now you can do 12 hours, but you will see that most of the bones and skin are still intact after that, thus leaving a lot of nutrients behind.So if you want all those healthy nutrients from the bones, cook it longer. I usually do 48 hours.

Step 9: When you’re done cooking, strain the broth well, making sure to get out all pieces of bone and veggie. What do you do with all the skin, cooked veggies and bones?

You didn’t think I was gonna say throw it away, did you?

You’re so silly!

The point of not wasting anything….. is NOT WASTING ANYTHING. After you strain the stock, add all the junk back to the crock pot and make another batch for a lighter stock. I may or may not add fresh veggies in at this point. You can cook a third batch until the bones disintegrate if you want, I’ve done that too.

Step 10: Cool your stock if you plan to skim the fat. I almost never do this unless it’s ham bone stock.Your stock should be a rich brown, not yellow.

You have three options:

See how rich and brown it is?

A. Use it within a week (storing it in the fridge, duh)

B. Freeze it for up to six months

C. Can it, my usual go to.

If you’ve cooled your stock, bring it back to a boil before canning. Now its the time to taste it, see if you need more salt.

You will need a pressure canner to can any homemade stock, including the veggie stock.


Unless you are planning on poisoning your family. Then by all means, water bath away!

Here are Ball’s instructions:


Stock can keep for a year, but I promise you that it won’t last that long. You’ll never be able t have chicken soup again without it LOL

Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I hope you found this helpful. Please post a comment, share this post and check out my other fun things I’m doing on the interweb!

And stay tuned for THE RHUBARB PATCH, coming summer 2017 from Dreamspinner Press.



1 comment for “Homemade chicken stock from garbage?

  1. Julie Nicolai
    May 5, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Thank you!!

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