This is my favorite method for making low cost stock by using kitchen scraps in my Instant Pot
What is stock?
Stock is a nutritious liquid made from boiling bones and other animals tissues, along with vegetables and herbs, that is commonly used as a base in soups or sauces. The term stock can sometimes also refer to bone broth which is made exclusively from bones without added vegetables. There seems to be quite a bit of confusion and overlap between the terms “stock” and “broth”, but in general a stock contains animal bones, a broth (and specifically vegetable broth or vegetable stock) does not, and is made only from plant ingredients. With the exception of bone broth.
Are you confused yet? Let’s just move on.
The advantage of using animal bones and tissues in a stock like this is the extraction of gelatinous collagen and minerals which you just cannot find in a plant based product.
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is a protein found in animal tissues and a huge percentage of our own bodies. It boasts a huge resume of potential health benefits ranging from skin, muscles, bones, hair, and nails to gut health and weight loss.
I’m a believer that when we use as many parts of a plant or animal in our diet as possible you are going to reap benefits far beyond selective eating. Nature was created as a whole, not fragmented.
Rather than buying expensive supplemental collagen, this stock allows me to gain natural benefits for a fraction of the cost from home.
Why Kitchen Scraps?
Kitchen scraps may initially sound a little odd as something to use to make
Using kitchen scraps allows me to make this stock for very little cost. I’m using the bits and pieces of other meals that I would have normally thrown away or thrown to the chickens. Repurposing these items again allows me to gain another valuable produce in my kitchen, and in the end the chickens still get the scraps as a tasty snack.
Here’s how I do it.
What Scraps to Keep for Stock
As I’m going about my regular meal preparations I keep a gallon ice cream pail available for anything useful I may want to keep for making a batch of broth. I keep the pail in my kitchen freezer between meal preps and pull it out as needed to refill. Once the bucket is full, I have enough scraps for a batch of stock.
NOTE: Be sure whatever you do choose to keep is not rotten, moldy, or covered with dirt. Food that is truly bad should not be included.
Items I keep in my freezer bucket:
- onion skins, scraps, and tops (this includes scallions, chives, leeks, etc)
- carrot peels, tops, and cuts
- celery cuts and leaves
- garlic skins or cloves
- cauliflower stems and leaves*
- broccoli stems and leaves*
- woody asparagus ends
- bell pepper cores and cuts
- chicken or turkey bones or carcass from a roasted bird
- chicken skin or feet
- beef, pork, or any other meat bone that has been previously cooked or uncooked
*some recommend not adding brassica/cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, and turnips to broth because of the bitter flavor it can infuse in your bone broth. I personally have not noticed a bitter flavor when using these items, but this usually only comprise a small amount of the total vegetables used. The bulk of my scraps include onions, carrots, celery, and bones since those are the items I use regularly (often daily) in my kitchen.
What Scraps NOT to Keep for Stock
Although there are many good vegetables and meat products that can add to a delicious broth. There are a few things I avoid using and you should consider too.
Things I DO NOT keep in my scrap bucket include:
- potatoes or their skins
- cucumber skins and cuts (especially store bought which are covered in wax)
- turnips, radishes, rutabaga, etc
- dairy products
- eggs or egg shells
- fruit or fruit peels
- anything moldy or rotten
Additional Ingredients & Supplies
In addition to your kitchen scraps, you may want to add a few extra ingredients for flavor. To my stock I also add bay leaves, peppercorns, fresh parsley, and salt to taste. The apple cider vinegar aids in extracting the minerals from the bones as they cook. You can choose to leave any or all of these items out if you wish.
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 6-10 peppercorns
- fresh parsley
- salt to taste
- 4 quarts of water
- a glug of apple cider vinegar (the kind with the mother)
For this recipe you will also need the following supplies:
- Instant Pot (I have an 8 quart)
- Ladle or scoop
- Sieve or strainer
Preparing the Stock
After you have collected approximately one gallon pail full of scraps (4 quarts), transfer the scraps (frozen or thawed) to your Instant Pot. Add any desired herbs or spices and apple cider vinegar.
Fill to the max fill line with water. For me this is typically around 4 quarts of water.
Place lid, and turn knob to sealing position.
Set to cook on high pressure 4-5 hours. Four is the minimum I do, but is helpful if time is a factor. I find a little more time allows for the bones to better break down. Ideally, you want the bones to basically crumble. Then you know all the good stuff inside has been released.
Once time has expired, you can do a natural or manual pressure release, and removed the lid.
Next, ladle the liquid stock through a fine meshed sieve, or a colander lined with cheesecloth into a large bowl. Anything, that will catch the chunks and particles, but let the liquid through will work just fine.
Finally, once the stock has been filtered, you can use it immediately, place in the fridge for use within the next couple days, or freeze for long term storage.
Don’t Forget the Scraps!
One last thing! What you choose to do with the cooked scraps is totally up to you. They can be disposed of, added to a compost pile (minus the bones), or given to your chickens (That’s what I do!!).