Homemade Slowcooker Stock

So this little kitchen hack I learned from my friend Lyndsay who I now believe is a complete genius! I love, love, love to make stock in the slow cooker - it's really the easiest trick ever.

If you're making a turkey or chicken then get out your slow cooker! After you eat and clean the meat off the bones but before you clean up - get your stock going. Homemade stock is very flavourful, simple to make and an easy way to reduce sodium (salt) intake. I also like knowing exactly what went into the stock.

What you will need:
  • bones from your turkey or chicken with the meat removed
  • 1 cooking onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, washed or peeled and quartered
  • 1-2 stocks of celery, washed and quartered
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • water
  • Put all the ingredients into your slow cooker and fill with enough water to cover the bones. I usually fill mine to 3/4 full. 
  • Cook on low for 8 hours or over night. I prefer overnight so I can deal with the stock in the morning. 
  • Place a strainer into a large bowl and strain the contents of the slow cooker. 
  • Divide stock into smaller bowls or shallow pans to help cool the stock quickly.
  • Once the stock is cooled I like to put different amounts into freezer bags and freeze until I need it. I usually will make 1 cup, 3 cup and/or 6 cup bags. Make sure to label your bags before you fill them. 
  • Fill the bags and place them on a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer. Freezing the bag flat makes them easier to store. 
  • Once the bags of stock are frozen you can remove the baking sheet.
  • Keep frozen until you need the stock and defrost in the fridge. Freeze stock for up to four months.
  • I have learned the hard way that sometimes freezer bags leak when you are defrosting food so now I put the bag in a bowl or on a pan with a lip to collect any liquids that may leak.
I use this stock to make soups, casseroles, and in any recipe that calls for it.

Food Safety Notes

When you are cooking a large batch of food like a pot of soup or stock it is important to cool your food properly to keep it safe. Our health inspector recommends cooling food as quickly as possible because most food poisoning happens when the cooling takes too long, allowing bacteria to grow.

The goal is to cool food down from 60 C to 20 C (room temp) within 2 hours (on the counter). Then from 20 C to 4 C within 4 more hours (in the fridge). Use a food probe thermometer to monitor temperatures.

Here are some ways to cool food quickly before placing it in the refrigerator:
  • Divide food into smaller quantities
  • Move hot food from large containers to shallow pans
  • Stir to help heat escape
  • Put the container of hot food in an ice water bath

Shannon RD
Registered Dietitian