Stockpiling Your Scraps: What to Save & Freeze for Stocks

published Oct 25, 2011
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

When it’s time to make a batch of stock, I don’t head to the grocery store. I just open the freezer. Inside I keep freezer bags full of scraps that by themselves are inedible, but when simmered slowly for hours, transform into the magical elixir that is from-scratch stock. So what should you be saving instead of tossing in the trash?

Bones and carcasses: Whenever I roast a chicken, I wrap up the carcass in foil and store it in the freezer a freezer bag. If I end up having any random poultry parts like chicken wing tips, feet, or necks, I toss those into the bag as well. When I have an afternoon free to make stock, I use everything in the bag.

Vegetable & herb scraps: Leek tops, wilted parsley, carrot greens, and other trimmings make great additions to stock. Just make sure to avoid including cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or brussels sprouts, which can overpower the flavor, or beets, which will turn the stock pink.

Seafood shells & bones: Shrimp heads or shells, and fish heads or bones can be transformed into flavorful seafood stocks. Crab and lobster shells work too.

Cheese rinds: Not only does adding the leftover rind of a hard cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino to a soup make it better, you can actually make a soup stock from rinds only. The subtly cheese-flavored stock can be the base for pureed vegetable soups or meatball soups.

Do you stockpile scraps in the freezer for stock? What do you like to save?