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Old 11-08-2007, 10:53 PM   #1
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Question(s) about Soup Stocks

I have been trolling the boards for a while and decided to ask a question that I have been wondering about. I love soup, was thinking about trying to make some from scratch. I am just wondering how long a stock would last after its made? If I freeze it, would it have a longer shelf life ? If so, how long would it be good for. How can you tell when its going bad. Is it worth the time to make it from scratch, or just buying it from the store the more realistic approch? Is there much of a difference in the flavor or quality of the product that you are trying to make ?

Haha, I know. I am just asking alot of questions. But I have been looking and havent really found an answer for these questions. Was hoping that a more experenced person might be able to give me some insight on this. I would truley appreceate it if someone could spare some time to answer one of these questions so the unknown would not be so intimidating to me. Thank you.

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Old 11-08-2007, 11:01 PM   #2
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Hi Patwik - you might try looking through these threads for some answers. I don't keep homemade stock more than about 3 or 4 days. Yes, keeping it in the freezer will definitely give it a longer shelf life. Yes, homemade stock is MUCH better but only if you have the time to do it.

You can also wade through these knocking out the obvious ones that don't belong. This gives threads throughout the whole forum whereas the above link just gives threads in the soup forum. There's lots of good reading here about stocks - especially the proper way to cool them!

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Old 11-08-2007, 11:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Patwick
Is there much of a difference in the flavor or quality of the product that you are trying to make ?
I'll answer this part. The quality of the stock is directly proportional to the dish you are making. The Better the Stock, the better the Soup/Gumbo etc. You can make good soup from Store bought stocks, but you will never make great soup!

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Old 11-08-2007, 11:10 PM   #4
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Hi patwik. Welcome to DC.

Homemade stock is far superior to store-bought broth. Making chicken stock is a relatively easy task that does not take a lot of time. Beef stock takes longer but is no more difficult.

Frozen stock will last virtually forever in a tightly sealed container in your freezer.

It's worth giving it a try. Once you taste the stock, you can decide if it's worth the effort.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:45 AM   #5
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Many years ago, microbiologists would take bones and meat and make a broth to grow germs.

I knew how to do that before I knew that was the same way to make stock.

Same process, but we did not add tasty bits, such as thyme. Whether the germs would have liked the good tasting stuff, I will never know.

Stock is an ideal growth medium for bugs.

Three days in the fridge, at most. You can boil it for a while and get some more time. But in my opinion the quality is degraded.

Just my two pennies.
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:32 AM   #6
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What they said!! Having commercial stock on hand is excellent for a sudden soup or casserole. If you are feeding people who just don't savour the flavour differences that a good stock will make to your soups, then use the commercial soup and save the good stock for special occasions or for when you just want to indulge yourself. Making a vegetable stock is extremely simple as you just need to accumulate your peelings etc and then add your herbs.

As to the freezing life of the stock, it should be determined by the basis of your stock and the clarity. I have never had any stock go off in the freezer (and I keep mine for eons) but I would have thought when you defrost it, it will be fairly obvious if it has gone.

We have a chef over here that advises us, his reading public, that under no circumstances to use commercial stocks, rather use water and a bouquet garni or other herbs, and certainly never use stock cubes or powders. I'm not a purist nor blessed with fabulously sensitive tastebuds, so I ignore him!
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:45 AM   #7
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Making stock can be very east, especially chicken or turkey, The one thing I don't do is let it boil ( a full rolling boil), but just a good simmer for about 30 or 40 minutes. I let it cool and use it for whatever and the rest goes into the freezer. It lasts a long time in there.
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Old 11-11-2007, 02:57 PM   #8
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If this is your first atempt on making stock, I wouldn't make too much. Make enough for one soup. try it, see if you like it. If yes, then next time you can make enough to freeze, if not next time you can make changes. But generaly, stock in the freezer will easily less for up to 6-12 month.
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Old 11-11-2007, 03:39 PM   #9
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Hi, Patwick. Welcome to DC.

Your question is very timely for me. Yesterday I stewed a whole chicken to have cooked chicken for some recipes. I routinely stew a 4- o4 5-pound chicken so I can have a nice quantity of cooked chicken meat.

I put the chicken into a large Dutch oven, add a quartered large onion, a large carrot that is cut into large chunks, and a stalk of celery and as many celery tops as I can get my hands on. I also add some freshly ground black pepper and a small amount of thyme and salt.

Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for a couple of hours. Remove the chicken and skin and take all the meat off the bones. Use the meat immediately or roughly chop and store in a freezer-safe container in the freezer.

To make my stock, I turn up the heat under the liquid still in the pan. When it comes almost to a rolling boil, I remove the lid and cook until it's reduced by half. To determine if it's reduced by half, I measure the depth of the liquid with a metal ruler. Yesterday the level was 2 1/2 inches. When it measured 1 1/4 inches, it was reduced by half.

I then strain through a fine sieve lined with a coffee filter and pour the strained stock into glass jars. I put the covered jars into the refrigerator several hours or overnight so the fat can solidify. Once the fat has firmed up, I spoon it off and put the jars of stock into the freezer.

Yesterday, I got 3 pints of very rich, tasty stock and enough cooked chicken for 3 of my favorite recipes. So, for our $3 chicken, we'll have several entrees and some nice stock.

It's been years since I've purchased commercially-produced chicken stock/broth.
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Old 11-11-2007, 06:06 PM   #10
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Patwik, definately try some home made stock.

I made some turkey stock yesterday to use on Thanksgiving (yes it's going in the freezer!). I always have canned Swanson in my pantry. Nice to have on hand. But IMO Thanksgiving is one of those times that calls for the real thing. I do a brown stock by roasting the turkey pieces (or saute) with carrots, onions, celery, bay, etc until I have lots of color going on. Then I deglaze with white wine, add cold water and herbs with maybe a can or two of chicken broth and simmer away for about 3 hours. Sounds like a long time but you don't have to be standing by the stove watching. Go about the house and take care of some other things while the pot takes care of itself.

Another straining idea is to line your colander with a few sheets of paper towels. The white thicker ones. After I strain and taste it. If I think the stock is still a little on the watery side, I may but the stock back on the burner to get it more concentrated.

BTW, Katie, you and I are on the same kitchen wave lengths lately. Wasn't it last weekend that we were both making Italian red sauces?
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Old 11-11-2007, 06:48 PM   #11
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I use both homemade & commercial stocks. When I have the necessary poultry parts available, I'll make my own stock/broth & freeze it - both by the quart, pint, & in ice cube trays (each cube equals approximately 1/8 cup or 3 tablespoons or so).

However - I also make sure to have a number of cartons of Swanson's chicken broth on hand at all times. Not the "organic", which I find bland & insipid, but the regular. Once I open a carton & stick it in the fridge, I mark the opening date on it with indelible marker. According to the Swanson's folks, the broth is good for 2 weeks after opening. If I don't use it by then, I pour it into ice cube trays & freeze it (although since I frequently enjoy it as an afternoon beverage, I rarely have to do this).
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Old 11-11-2007, 09:11 PM   #12
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I would like to make one suggestion re chicken stock....if you can use a kosher chicken for the stock, there is a world of difference in the taste. One can also purchase the "halal"(sp) chickens that are used by Muslims, killed in the same way as the kosher chickens.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:06 AM   #13
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I've really got to chime in here. Canned stocks have definitely improved but you just can't beat a good, properly done, home made stock. Just can't. I've made decent borsch with "store boughten" and borsch to rock your boat from home made. There are some genuine stocks on the World's Best Borsch tab at Books by Volunteers who serve Ukraine Orphans . You will see acouple most excellent recipes from CharlieD.
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Old 12-31-2007, 06:02 PM   #14
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I have seen several suggestions similar to this, but here's what I do once I make stock.

I use whatever I need of the stock for whatever I was making, and then I continue to simmer the stock until it is reduced to about a half or a third. I then pour it into ice cube trays and allow it to cool at room temperature (it will be faster in the tray than in the pot because it is more exposed to cool air).

When it is close to room temp, I put the trays in the freezer. And once the stock is frozen, I pop the cubes into sealable freezer bags with the air squeezed (squozen?) out.

Now you have frozen, concentrated stock for the next time you need it. Just add water in the amount you reduced by, and you have really nice stock. And having it in cube form means you can add just a little if you need it, as for a sauce.

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Old 12-31-2007, 09:22 PM   #15
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I have always found store bought stock to be a bit weak in flavor of course you could reduce it for more flavor, poultry that has been roasted and you save the bones and simmered with a bouquet garni and a rough cut mirepoix makes a great stock.If you want a beef stock again you really want to roast those bones along with carrots,onions and celery until they are really brown.I like the Minor soup bases as an extra kick or even by its self if thats all I have that brand is reasonably priced and not bad at all its a paste rather than the salty bullion sguares you get at the store.Home made stock freezes great and dont be afraid to add one kind of stock to another it only helps the flavor.
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Old 12-31-2007, 10:28 PM   #16
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Real stock is so much richer it's not even funny. Store bought stock never seems to have as much body in it either.

Not only is the real stuff better, you can adjust it in ways to benefit the final product. Store bought stock and bases will work in a pinch, but there really isn't a comparison. It is timely though.
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