Why you should … make your own stock from leftovers


Want to reduce your food waste, save money, and have a delicious home-made ingredient on hand in the freezer? Then make your own stock.  It’s less work than you think. Read on to find out more.


Pre-made stock is a pantry essential, but it can be expensive. You can make your own, mainly from things you normally throw away. The end result will be a tastier, healthier stock full of nutritious collagen and vitamin-rich marrow. Also, you can make your stock salt-free and then add salt to taste in the final dish you use the stock in.


Save your bones

Raw or cooked bones are great for making stock, as are meat trimmings.  So instead of throwing away the chicken carcass at the end of a meal, put it and any other leftover raw or cooked bones, skin or trimmings from meals during the week in a container in the fridge and by the weekend you’ll have a collection to make stock with.  If you don’t think you have enough when it’s time to make the stock, add in a few raw chicken wings or drumsticks, which are inexpensive but flavourful.


Save your veggie trimmings

The same thing goes for veggies.  Any part of the vegetable is ok if it is clean and not spoiled.  So, your carrot tops, radish tops, garlic and onion skins, and clean peelings of any vegetable, can all go into your container in the fridge, as can leftover roast veggies. Remember you will be straining the stock so you will strain out anything you wouldn’t like to eat, like skins. Always add a few whole veggies into your stock like carrots, onions, and celery to make sure you have that deep flavour base, as well as a handful of parsley and a sprig of thyme.


Other things to add

A parmesan rind is a great flavour enhancer, as well as bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt.


Making a basic stock

About 2kg of leftover or fresh chicken, lamb or beef bones, or a combination of cooked and fresh

Any leftover vegetables, peelings or trimmings

1 large onion

4 garlic cloves

2 large carrots cut into chunks

2 celery stalks cut into batons

A handful of parsley including stalks

10 peppercorns

Sprig of thyme

3 bay leaves


If you want to make a vegetable stock, don’t include the meat bones, and double the carrot, celery and onion quantities. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and fill with water to cover the ingredients by about 5 centimetres.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 3-4 hours, skimming off the foam every now and then.  If the water evaporates below the level of the ingredients, add a little more. Strain through a fine sieve pressing on the vegetables to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Discard the solids. Cool to room temperature. If you wish to skim off the fat from the stock, refrigerate overnight or for several hours, then skim off the solidified fat and discard.


You can also make stock in a slow cooker and leave it on low for as long as 24 hours to get all the goodness out of the bones.



If you don’t have an immediate use for your stock, pour it into several 500 mL Ziplock bags. You can store it in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to six months. Lay bags flat on a tray in the freezer initially so that they freeze flat, and then stack them to save space. 500 mL is a good useable portion and you can defrost it fairly quickly by removing it from the freezer a few hours before you need it or placing it in the normal part of the fridge the night before, if you are really organised.


So, keep your bones and scraps, and stock up on your stock!

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