Ladle cooled stocks into freezer bags that you have already labeled with type and quantity.

Ladle cooled stocks into freezer bags that you have already labeled with type and quantity.

Many home cooks are afraid of homemade stock, believing that it is difficult to make. It isn’t. The best stocks are cooked for quite some time but actual hands-on work is minimal. If you have a free weekend day a few times a year–once each season is ideal–you can easily make enough stock to store in your freezer, where it will be available for seasonal soups, stews, risottos and sauces. When done in a slow-cooker overnight, stock practically makes itself. In a pinch, when you really need stock and absolutely don’t have time to make it, you can find it, freshly made, at several of our farmers markets. In a pinch, you can used commercial broth but a bit of knowledge will get you the best results. First, select broth that is sold in boxes, not cans, which impart a slightly metallic taste. Second, do you use 100 percent stock in a recipe. For example, if you are making risotto that calls for 5 or 6 cups of stock, add water to just one container of broth. If you use all commercial broth, the resulting dish may have a slightly off, cloying flavor.

Stock is nutritious and restorative and is best when made with grass-fed meats and bones, which are naturally higher in nutrients than corn-fed equivalents. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, sipping hot stock is one of the best ways to get yourself through it. If you’re up to it, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a splash of hot sauce and a crushed garlic clove to each cup.

For the most efficient storage, stack stock in sealed freezer bags.

For the most efficient storage, stack stock in sealed freezer bags.

Real Homemade Stock Now at Farmers Markets

Strong Stock

Slow-Cooker Bone Broth & Slow-Cooked Chicken Bone Broth

Fragrant Beef Stock Last recipe in the column so be sure to scroll down

Vegetable Stock, Chicken Stock, Beef Stock

Turkey Stock The recipe is in the narrative portion of the column, not in a separate recipe.

If you don't want to use plastic, store your stocks in Mason jars. To do so, leave an inch of headroom and cool the jars thoroughly in the refrigerator before transferring them to the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator, too. If they freeze or thaw too quickly, the glass will crack.

If you don’t want to use plastic, store your stocks in Mason jars. To do so, leave an inch of headroom and cool the jars thoroughly in the refrigerator before transferring them to the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator, too. If they freeze or thaw too quickly, the glass will crack.