Let me tell you, I sure feel like I haven’t been able to catch up with life since Thanksgiving. We’ve been busy with friends, Christmas shopping and wrapping, planning for our trip to North Dakota and I don’t know what else. I wash the dishes and the next thing I know, the sink is full. We do all our exchanges and returns, but somehow there’s another pile in the corner. Laundry is done, but ends up on the floor instead of the closet. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like having kids!
Luckily, Ty and I are both very forgiving of the mess and aren’t too hard on ourselves. And with all this comes an upset in our regular routine, so my cooking hasn’t been as consistent. I did, however, finally manage to simmer my Thanksgiving turkey bones for some of the jiggliest, most gelatinous turkey stock I’ve ever made!
Stock vs. Broth
This seems to be the question of the century (okay, maybe just in the real food world). What I’ve come up with is broth is only simmered for a couple hours or less, while stock is simmered for four hours to 48 hours. The longer it simmers, the more the bones break down which releases their nutrients and minerals (the reason this stuff is good for you!). This is why stock gets all jiggly while broth stays liquid.
Homemade Turkey Stock
- Veggie ends and leaves
- Meat bones
- Save your veggie ends and leaves. As I chop my onions, carrots, and celery, I keep a jar for the parts I’d usually toss. I stick this in the freezer and add more as it comes. Ever have wilted celery? Perfect for stock! Garlic going bad? Throw it in! Seriously.
- Save your bones (and skin and neck and giblets). I’d say the most common stocks are chicken and beef. I think this is mainly because that’s what people eat the most of. Who really eats a full turkey outside of Thanksgiving? So save the bones after you’ve devoured your meat. And if you don’t eat the giblets like we do, throw them in too!!
- Throw it in your slow cooker. So when it comes to actually making the stock, all I do is throw the bones (and skin and neck and giblets) in my slow cooker, dump in the jar of unwanted veggie parts, add enough water to cover the ingredients, pour in a tablespoon or so of white or apple cider vinegar (to help break down the bones), put the lid on, turn to low, et voilà! A pot on the stove works, too – just bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low. I did this with my dutch oven since my turkey carcass was too big for my slow cooker.
- Wait. The longer the bones simmer, the more they will break down and release their nutritious, minerally goodness. 12 hours is usually good for poultry. 24 hours is better for beef. (Think about how much denser and thicker beef bones are vs. poultry.)
- Strain and cool. Pretty self explanatory. I stick it in the fridge to cool.
- Remove fat and store. So once your stock is cooled, you’ll notice it gets all jiggly (this is a good thing!) and you might also notice a white layer on top. This is fat that has separated. It should be hardened and you can simply scrape it off with a spoon. Some people use it to cook with; I don’t. Just not my thing. The stock will stay good for about a week in the fridge, so if I’m not going to use it all up before then, I measure out 2 or 4 cups worth, place in freezer bags, mark with the date and amount, and freeze.
- Use in any recipe that calls for broth or stock. That’s it! And since I don’t season my stock, it’s pretty much a blank slate for any recipe.
*No bones? No time? Just make a quick vegetable broth instead! Simmer your same veggie ends and pieces covered with water for an hour or so, then strain. Use right away or save for later!
I ended up making two soups with my stock – Mexican Chicken Chowder from the Against All Grain cookbook and a cabbage soup I made up. Both were perfect for lunch!
So what did I actually buy for this week’s grocery haul? A lot of greens! Ty and I decided we need to up our vegetable intake, so we abandoned our favorite tortilla chips and added in some turnips, cabbage, and lettuce. It was all from Mariano’s for a total of $62.45.
- Green Bell Pepper – $.99/lb @ Mariano’s; $.37 for 1 large; I’m really showing this because the other week I picked up a green pepper from Trader Joe’s where it was $.99 for just one! Sometimes it’s hard to compare prices of Trader Joe’s to regular grocery stores because they do per item instead of by the pound. This is a good example.
- Cabbage – $.39/lb @ Mariano’s; $.67 for a whole head!
- Red Leaf Lettuce – $1.00/lb; one head of lettuce was only $.53 – I bought two!
- Gala Apples – $1.00/lb; 5 small for $1.90; I always opt for the smallest pieces of fruits I can find, especially apples and bananas. I just think our fruits are sometimes just ridiculously large and I like to keep my portions in check by buying the smallest piece of produce I see.
- Filippo Berio’s Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil – $5.27/25.3oz bottle @ Mariano’s; this is what we use to make our weekly homemade mayo! Regular price: $7.69. Sale price: $6.27 plus I had $1 off coupon – get yours here!
Join the newsletter
Learn how to spend less and live more with the Crafty Coin newsletter.
Get my latest posts and tips sent to your inbox!