Once they’ve feasted on a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, most people toss the carcass. A frugal cook will see the value in using the carcass to make a delicious turkey stock that can be used long after the holidays are over.
Turkey Stock Beyond Soup
Making a soup stock or broth from a turkey can be a money saver and a great way to use all of the turkey. With the turkey bones being larger than a typical chicken, you may need a large stockpot.
You can use the stock to make more than soups. Small freezer containers can be used to make gravy or use the stock to replace all or part of the water used for cooking rice/risotto, green beans and dried beans. Using turkey stock will give an added delectable flavor to all of these. You can also use it as a substitute for any recipes calling for chicken stock.
Recipe for Turkey Stock
You will need a large stockpot to accommodate at least 14-16 cups of water and the turkey carcass.
Place in Stockpot
Place the turkey juice, skin, carcass and neck (don’t use giblets) into the stockpot. You may need to break the bones for a better fit in the stockpot. The bones will be pliable from having been cooked and easily bend and break.
Depending on the size of your stockpot you will fill it with cold water until it is about an inch from the pot rim. This could be anywhere from 10 – 16 cups of water or perhaps more, depending on the size of your stockpot.
- Place the stockpot onto the range eye and turn on low heat while you prepare the other ingredients. Don’t boil.
Add to large stockpot (if using a smaller stockpot, decrease ingredients by 1 -2):
- 3-4 large onions, cut in quarters
- 5-6 stalks of celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into circles or cubes
- 1.5 teaspoons of whole black peppercorns
- 4 stems with leaves of fresh parsley and/or thyme (chopped)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, whole
- 1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar (to draw out bone juices/flavors)
Bring the stockpot to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Cover and allow the broth to cook for 3.5 hours.
- Do not allow stock to come to a second boil.
- The longer you slow cook, the more flavorful the turkey stock will absorb.
- You may want to occasionally skim off any foam that surfaces while cooking and discard.
Once cooked, remove the larger pieces of bone with a pair of tongs and discard. You can strain the liquid through a sieve or wire mesh strainer into another pot. If you wish to create a clearer stock, you can strain a second time by lining the strainer with a couple of layers of cheesecloth. Discard cheesecloth and dredges when finishes.
The stock can be used immediately, or you can store it in the refrigerator for a week. The refrigerated stock will congeal, and the fat will solidify on top of it. You can skim off the fat and discard. Once the congealed stock is reheated, it will melt and can be used in liquid form.
Storing Turkey Stock
You can store turkey stock in freezer containers. These will last between 4 to 6 months. If you prefer dry storage, then canning the stock is easy. You’ll use either pint or quart jars.
Canning Turkey Stock
If you decide to can the turkey stock, you’ll still allow it to cool in the refrigerator first and remove the fat solids on top of the congealed stock.
- To can the turkey stock, bring the congealed stock to a boil.
- Fill the sterilized hot jars with the stock.
- Leave a one-inch headspace and add lids and rings.
- Process the jars at 10 pounds pressure for 20 minutes (pints) and 25 minutes (quarts). Be sure to adjust if needed for higher altitudes according to the canner guidelines.
Allow the canner to cool down then remove the jars and place in a cool place undisturbed for 24 hours. You should hear the familiar ping/pop as the lids seal. After 24 hours check if the lids sealed. When you press in the center of the lid, there should be no movement. If the lid gives under your fingers (moves up and down when pressed), the jar isn’t sealed. This jar should go into the refrigerator and used within a week.
Turkey Stock Saves Money
Taking advantage of the entire turkey helps keep your grocery bills in check. When you make your own soup stocks, you have control of the ingredients and know exactly what you are serving your family.