Save those bones! How to make turkey or chicken stock in the crockpot

Most things just taste better when they are homemade and stock is no exception.  Many times foods made from scratch are way cheaper than prepared store items, and there is no doubt that they are better for you.  Making homemade stock is so easy there is no reason to ever let those bones go in the trash can again.  I like to put the stock ingredients in the crockpot right after dinner and cook it overnight.  In the morning it is easy to strain through a colander really quick and place it in a container in the fridge or freezer.  I use whatever vegetables I have on hand to season the stock.  These are always onions and garlic, but on occasion I’ll throw in some carrots and celery if we have some, or even woody asparagus ends.  Work with what you have on hand. Either way, the stock always comes out way more rich and flavorful than store-bought and makes a wonderful addition to soups, stews, rice pilaf, and many other dishes.

•leftover turkey or chicken skin and bones
•chopped vegetables that you have on hand- onions, garlic, celery, and carrot are traditional
•dash of cider vinegar (about 1 Tablespoon for a small crockpot of stock, 2-3 for larger crockpots)
•1-2 bay leaves
•salt, to taste
•lots of ground black pepper

Place the poultry skin and bones in a crockpot, filling loosely to the top.  I find that one chicken will fill up my crockpot, but I will end up doing two batches of stock with a turkey carcass.  Add in a handful or two of vegetables.  Add the vinegar, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.  The vinegar helps to get the vitamins out of the bones so that your stock is more nutritious. (or so I’ve heard).  Fill the crock pot with water and cook on low overnight or all day, for about 10-12 hours.

Place a colander over a soup pot or a large container.  Ladle the stock into the colander to strain out the large pieces of meat and bones.  Some small pieces may sneak through the colander.  That’s ok. They’ll just add more flavor.  Chill the stock for several hours to let the fat rise to the top.  Remove the fat with a spoon, if desired.  I remove the fat from chicken stock, but the turkey stock had hardly any fat, so I skipped this step.  Freeze the stock in plastic containers or glass jars.

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