Stock is something we use almost every day, in whatever it is that we eat. But have you actually stopped to find out what’s in it?
I can’t even begin to list some of the ingredients, and although many are now artificial additives free, they still contain ingredients I can’t pronounce!
But it’s so easy to make stock, especially if you have a slow cooker – or crock pot, for my overseas readers – that you wonder, why spend money and buy?
Stock is super easy, requires virtually zero effort and is so cheap to make & tastes oodles better than shop bought one. If you haven’t made stock before you must start!
All you need is vegetables, roughly chopped, some water and a slow cooker. Oh, and some freezer bags and/or ice cubes to store it. That’s it.
I always start with onions, carrots and celery. They provide a strong, foundation flavour.
You can then add other veggies you have on hand. I tend to stay clear of the softer veggies, such as broccoli, courgettes & cauliflower. They are watery and don’t really give an in-depth flavour. They disintegrate & leave your stock a funny colour!
Recipes I’ve read say aim for roughly equal amounts of veggies, so that there is balance within the stock.
Other than that it’s up to you!
Wash Your Veggies
The only other recommendation is to wash your veggies properly. I mean, really wash them.
They’re going to be simmering for hours, breaking down their flavours and becoming concentrated in the stock. Any dirt or bugs on the veggies could also become concentrated, too which will make for a very poorly tummy!
Then throw it all in the slow cooker and simmer. This can be for three hours or eight hours – that’s totally up to you. The more you simmer the more concentrated the flavour. Just remember to add enough water to start with!
So, here’s to no more shop bought stock!
2-4 carrots (enough to balance out the onions)
3-4 celery stalks, roughly torn
6 to eight whole peppercorns
1 x bay leaf
fresh herbs – thyme & parsley
Roughly chop the veggies into big chunks after they’ve been washed (very) well. Some people don’t peel their veggies when making stock, but that’s up to you. Try & get an equal balance between your ingredients
Throw them into the stock pot & cover with enough water that covers all of the veggies (three quarters full)
Turn on the slow cooker – low for 10 hours and high for 5 hours. It requires little or no maintenance but makes the house smell good.
Cool the stock, once finished and before straining and bagging up. I put mine into freezer bags (perfect for more soup based meals, adding to bolognaise etc) and into ice cube trays for smaller portions.
And that’s it.
Easy, tasty stock with none of the nasties.
According to my recipe book, it’ll keep in the fridge for 1 week and freezer for up to 6 months!
I'm Tracey, nice to meet you. Mummyshire was 'born' three years ago after we moved from London to the Oxford countryside. Here I chart our journey adjusting to our new lives, the challenges of being in the countryside & surviving parenthood.