Are You the Kind of Cook Who Keeps a Bag of Bones in the Freezer?

published Oct 15, 2016
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

As we head into soup season (otherwise known as fall and winter), I believe we are divided into two camps of home cooks: those who keep a bag of bones in the freezer and those who don’t (yet!). Which camp do you fall in? Are you the kind of cook who keeps a bag of bones in the freezer for soup-making?

If Not, Here’s Why You Should

We’ve preached about the value of stashing vegetable scraps and Parmesan rinds in the freezer to boost the flavor of stocks, soups, and sauces. Well, bones are no different! You can save everything from chicken and turkey carcasses to pork and beef bones to fish bones and shrimp shells to make a better, richer pot of soup.

  • Homemade stock, anytime: Don’t feel like making stock after finishing off your roast chicken? No problem. Break down the carcass and store the bones in a freezer bag for another time. The beauty of keeping a bag of bones and an assortment veggie scraps in the freezer is that you can throw together a from-scratch stock when it works for you. No extra groceries, no trip to the store — everything you need is inside the freezer.
  • Enhance purchased stock: If homemade stock isn’t your thing, that’s totally okay. Use bones to enhance the flavor of boxed or canned stock and broth. It just takes a little simmering.
  • Boost the flavor of soup: Add meat bones to a simmering soup or sauce to boost the flavor with meaty undertones. Bonus points if you have a bone from meat that’s been smoked.

Even a Few Are Worth Saving

Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t have enough bones from a single meal. Even a few bones are worth saving. When stored in an airtight bag in the freezer, they’ll keep for months, and it’s easy to add to the bag over time.

Stocks to Make with Frozen Bones

We Want to Hear from You

Your turn! Do you keep a bag of bones stashed in your freezer? And what kind? Leftovers from your roast chicken? The bone from a meaty short rib? And most exciting of all, we want to know how you’re putting these bones to work in the kitchen.