I like to make my own stock and freeze it. It’s so much better than store bought because it’s easy to make and you know all the ingredients, no MSG and nothing artificial in homemade stock. The small grocery store around here sells a soup pack with many of these vegetables and herbs in it, so that makes it easy. But you can also save kitchen scraps to make stock. Here’s an example of what you can use, but certainly feel free to adjust according to your taste and what you have on hand. You can also easily eliminate the chicken and make vegetable stock.
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs, rinsed
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 carrots in large chunks
- 3 celery stalks in large chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
- 1 small turnip, quartered
- 2 parsnips in large chunks
- fresh thyme sprigs
- fresh parsley
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
Place the chicken in a large stock pot and top with the remaining ingredients. Fill with water to about 2 inches from the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool enough to handle while the stock continues to simmer. Hand pick the meat off of the bones and reserve, then return the bones to the stock. Simmer 1 more hour, skim the fat off the top, strain and pour into canning jars. You can also freeze stock in ice cube trays, then store in freezer bags so you have easy access to small quantities of stock.
I’ve never canned chicken stock, but that’s been on my mind lately. I think next time I’ll try canning it, since it will save on freezer space and I won’t have to wait for it to thaw. If you’ve ever canned stock, I’d love to hear about your experiences.