A basic bone broth is the best thing to have in the freezer, and it’s basically free if you do it right and are willing to put a little effort into your everyday cooking. The key is saving all your scraps and bones in the freezer in large (30cm x 30cm) freezer bags until you have some time where you’re sitting around the house for a couple hours. I save stems from kale and broccoli, plus any veggies that are past their prime. I also exclusively buy meat on the bone: chicken, t-bone steaks, etc. Depending on the recipe, I’ll either debone the meat before or after cooking and stash them in their dedicated freezer bag marked “bones” that’s lives in the freezer. And you better believe I’m taking that turkey carcass or ham bone home from Thanksgiving dinner. If you don’t have a freezer bone collection, you can sometimes get chicken or pork soup bones from the grocery store for very cheap.
I prefer making my own stock because I’m wary of preservatives that go into ready-made stock, and I can control the flavouring and salt content. Plus, cooking with real bones gives your broth that collagen-y stickiness that you can’t get from store-bought soups. This might be food for you, but it DEFINITELY tastes good.
- A large freezer bag’s worth of bones – I put all bones in here, regardless of what kind of meat
- 2 large onions, stem cut off and quartered
- 6-10 cloves of garlic, bottom cut off and smashed with the side of your knife
- 1 large carrot, not peeled (but washed), cut in large chunks
- 3 stalks of celery, cut in large chunks
- Whatever frozen veggies you’ve saved for this purpose
- salt to taste at the end
Note: I don’t add any seasonings because I’m after a very very basic broth. This gives me the flexibility to use it in any dish, no matter what flavour I’m going for.
Let’s do it!
- Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker, pressure cooker or pot. Depending on what you’re using, you’ll want to cook this for:
- Slow cooker: med-high at 6 hours
- Pressure cooker: high pressure at 30 minutes, depressurize normally
- Stovetop: 1-2 hours
- Taste the soup. If it’s bland, add some salt and simmer uncovered on the stove until it reaches the level of flavour you want.
- Pour the soup through a drum sieve to separate out the solids from the liquid.
- When it’s cooler, run the soup through an oil separator to get the grease out. This is the one I use and love:
- Freeze it in batches. I keep takeout soup containers like the one in the main photo for this reason. When I need it, I just run hot water on the outside and the frozen broth pops out easily into a soup pot for cooking. Another option is to put the soup in flat containers like below, then pop the frozen soup out and put into smaller freezer bags, which you can easily label and stack in your freezer.
The great thing about this is that is saves room, plus you can have different volumes of broth available.
IMPORTANT: Never use glass (learn from my mistake) and always leave room at the top because the broth WILL expand while it freezes!
And that’s it! You have homemade broth that you can use in soups, stews or just drink straight when you’re feeling under the weather and can’t get the effort to actually make anything.