Stock is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make at home because you can use just about any combination of bones, vegetables, and herbs you have on hand. The easiest way to cook stock is to use the bones, cartilage, or carcasses from a meat dish — so whenever you have a chicken dinner, you can put the scraps to good use. It lasts for a while in your freezer, too, so you can make it and defrost it whenever you need. Check out our guide to the best stockpots you can buy.
Stock is one of those pantry staples that professional chefs always suggest you should have on hand, thanks to its versatility. Sure, it serves as a base for soups and stews. But stock can also be used instead of water to add major flavor to things like sauces and risotto. "We like to call it liquid gold," says Paige Riordan, owner and executive chef of Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge in Mission Viejo, California. That being said, there is one major misconception about stock that we should clear up: vegetarian versions of it don't actually qualify. "It requires bones and cartilage because they're high in gelatin," Riordan says. "Vegetarian stock doesn't exist. It's marketing. You can get a lot of flavor out of veggie broth, but it will never truly be stock." So what goes into a stock? The basics are meat bones or carcasses, vegetables, herbs, and spices. But when it comes to specifics, there's plenty of room for improvisation. "Most people use onion, celery, garlic, and pepper," Riordan says. "But if you have some squash in the fridge that you won't use before it goes bad, you can slice it up and throw it in there. You can use an entire carrot, including the greens." I like to roast a chicken, eat it for dinner, and then use the carcass to make stock, leaving some meat and cartilage on the bones for a deeper flavor. If you have a butcher or a fishmonger debone your meat for you, just ask them to keep the bones — you can even store them in the freezer until you're ready to use them. How to make stock
While stock may seem impossible to mess up, there are a few things to keep in mind. "You can use cooked veggies, not just raw," Riordan says. "You just have to halve the cooking time of your stock, or else the vegetables will break down and become bitter." You also don't want to stir, because the motion will cause your stock to turn cloudy. If you notice a film developing along the top of the stock as it bubbles, don't worry. "You'll just skim that off when your stock is done cooking," Riordan says. Finally, make sure not to add salt. According to Riordan, "You're going to use your stock in a dish, and you'll season the dish while you're cooking. Salting the stock can result in an over-salted dish." It's like when bakers tell you to use unsalted butter in recipes — the same logic applies. It seems easy, right? But just in case you need some guidance, Riordan has shared her recipe for stock below. Just remember that your measurements don't have to be precise, and if you don't have all of these ingredients, you can swap in whichever veggies and herbs are in your fridge. Ingredients
Turkey or chicken carcass (if you're making beef or veal stock, use any of the bones) Celery tops and 1 large celery rib, cut into 2-inch pieces 3 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces, with top stems still intact 3 whole garlic cloves 1 bunch of any aromatics, such as parsley, tarragon, or dill A handful of whole peppercorns Any additional vegetables you may have in your fridge, such as turnips, shallots, onions, etc. Cold water
In need of groceries? Here are the best places to buy groceries online. What else you'll need
One large soup pot or Dutch oven with lid
Place bones and skin from chicken or turkey carcass into a large pot. Add vegetables and herbs, and then cover with cold water. Add peppercorns and bring to a boil. As soon as the water hits a rolling boil, bring the heat down to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for at least 3-4 hours, occasionally skimming the top to remove any film. Do not stir. You can cook for up to 24 hours, so long as you aren't using cooked vegetables. Remove the bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon and discard or compost. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Once strained, allow your stock to cool completely before storing it in the vessel of your choosing. (I like mason jars for this.) Stock can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days, in the freezer for 6-9 months, or pressure-canned for up to a year. Join the conversation about this story »
More like this (3)
Summary List Placement Every kitchen needs a good refrigerator but finding one that's energy-efficient, budget-friendly, and...Summary List Placement Every kitchen needs a good refrigerator but finding one that's energy-efficient, budget-friendly, and spacious enough to hold your weekly grocery haul is key. Our top pick is the Whirlpool 25 Cubic-Foot French Door Refrigerator because it has lots of useful features and looks and performs like a much more expensive fridge. When I was growing up, my family always had a standard white, freezer-on-top refrigerator. At some point, many of my friends started getting fridges with built-in water and ice dispensers on the door. I was enamored with this high-tech feature and never tired of helping myself to a glass of water. Of course, refrigerators have come a long way since then. Recently, at The Home Depot, my eight-year-old daughter and her friend amused themselves for half an hour playing with a futuristic Samsung Family Hub Smart Refrigerator. It's fun stuff, but smart fridges are expensive, and not everyone needs the advanced features. Most people just want an energy-efficient fridge with sufficient storage and a reasonable price tag, which is why our picks range from $700 to $2,000 with plenty of mid-range options in between. When choosing a fridge, consider which style you prefer. The most popular style of fridge comes with French doors and a bottom freezer. Other common options include the classic freezer on top, or the side-by-side freezer and fridge. It may sound obvious, but make sure you measure carefully to ensure that a new fridge fits into your allotted space. You should also measure all doorways and other possible obstructions like kitchen islands to make sure the fridge can actually get into your kitchen. You'll also want to consider inside capacity (measured in cubic feet) so you get enough space. Most new refrigerators are much more efficient than older models. Still, it's a good idea to look for the EPA Energy Star rating. The Energy Star Product Finder allows you to compare different features among refrigerator models to optimize your purchase. Here are the best refrigerators: Best overall: Whirlpool 25 Cubic-Foot French Door Refrigerator Best bottom-freezer fridge: Whirlpool 18.5 Cubic-Foot Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator Best side-by-side fridge: Frigidaire 22 Cubic-Foot Refrigerator Best on a budget: GE 17.5 Cubic-Foot Top-Freezer Refrigerator Best high-end fridge: LG 23.5 Cubic-Foot French-Door Refrigerator Prices and links are current as of 10/1/20. We updated the purchase links to remove any out of stock options, and we updated the photos to better show the inside of each refrigerator.SEE ALSO: The best mini fridges for your college dorm room, office, or home The best overall The Whirlpool 25 cu. ft. French Door is spacious, making it ideal for families. The sleek stainless-steel finish is fingerprint-resistant too, so it'll withstand young children. In 2017, Whirlpool expanded fingerprint-resistant capabilities to its stainless steel fridges. The result? No longer do families have to choose between beautiful stainless steel and fingerprint-free exteriors. Just wipe those smudges away with soap and water, and your fridge is like new again. The fridge measures 35.63 by 68.63 by 35.25 inches, and it's a very good-looking fridge with an ice and water dispenser on the door. Whirlpool's fridge also has its own temperature controls and adjustable dividers. Other high-tech features include LED lighting, adjustable gallon-sized door bins, and exterior tap-touch temperature controls. The measured water dispenser is a handy touch. Several buyers did complain that the stainless steel rusted quickly (though it's unclear where they live in relation to saltwater), that the unit is noisy, and that the large ice maker takes up too much room on the interior of the freezer. Pros: Sleek styling, extra external drawer, LED lighting, smudge-proof finish Cons: Some users complain that it is noisy and that the ice maker is too big The best bottom-freezer fridge The Whirlpool 18.5 cubic foot Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator makes it convenient to reach for frozen goods and the interior shelves are useful at keeping things organized. Whirlpool has been making refrigerators since 1955, and it's one of the best-known brands in the world. This simple, but solid fridge offers spill-proof glass shelves, a roomy interior, an ice maker in the freezer, and humidity-controlled bins. There is no water dispenser. It has the classic fridge look, except that the freezer is on the bottom instead of the top. The fridge measures 29.63 by 67 by 33.38 inches, so measure carefully. Inside, you'll find four fresh-food shelves, six door bins, and two freezer shelves for food storage. Whirpool's fridge also got the Energy Star seal of approval, so it won't consume much electricity. The one downside to a bottom-freezer fridge is that those who have trouble bending may find it difficult to access their frozen goods. Keep in mind how often you reach for frozen veggies, ice, or pints of ice cream before committing to a bottom-freezer refrigerator. Multiple professional reviewers highly recommend the Whirlpool 18.5 cu. ft. Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator in Stainless Steel for its sturdy construction and high performance. Pros: Affordable, highly-rated performance, roomy interior Cons: Some users complain that it is noisy, wobbly drawers, bottom freezers are not the most convenient The best side-by-side fridge The sleek Frigidaire 22 cubic foot fridge has a thru-the-door ice machine, filtered water dispenser, and other fun features not found in traditional side-by-side fridges. Some folks are still fans of the side-by-side fridges that were extremely popular in the 1990s. Practical advantages to this type of fridge include smaller doors and easy access to the freezer. It measures 33 by 69.875 by 34.5 inches, and stands at 22 cubic feet. This snazzy, counter-depth Frigidaire fridge with an ice and filtered water dispenser offers some fun features including a place to store frozen pizzas, wine bottle holders on the door, a meat drawer with its own thermostat, and a "Sabbath mode" which allows it to be used by those observing Jewish holidays. Frigidaire's fridge is not Energy Star-certified, so that is something to keep in mind. There is a one-year warranty for parts and labor, so if you run into problems within that period, you're covered. Pros: Great price for counter-depth fridge, snazzy appearance, wine bottle holders Cons: Drawers don't glide open and shut easily, not Energy Star-certified The best on a budget If you are looking for a basic unit, the GE 17.5 cubic foot fridge is a good value for well under $1,000. GE refrigerators are well-known for their durability, and this model lives up to its famous name even though it is very affordable. Two adjustable glass shelves and two drawers with separate humidity controls provide flexibility in how you store your food. Easy access controls allow you to separately regulate the temperature of the fridge and freezer. The doors do provide features usually only found in more expensive refrigerators: can holders and extra deep bins to hold gallon-sized containers. For a small refrigerator, there is a lot of usable space. It measures 28 by 67.38 by 32.5 inches in size. This fridge comes with a limited one-year manufacturer's warranty. Fans of this fridge rave about the spacious interior, the famous GE dependability, and of course — the low price. Critics of the unit frequently claim that it is too noisy. Pros: Reasonable price, roomier than it looks, two adjustable glass shelves, white matte finish doesn't smudge Cons: Old-fashioned look, no bells & whistles, limited lighting The best high-end fridge If you want to splurge a bit more on a fridge, the 23.5 cubic-foot three-door (French-door) from LG offers all the basics along with superior humidity and temperature control. Refrigerators are appliances you probably rely on several times a day, and while, yes, most any fridge will do its job of keeping things cold without fail, some offer exceptional performance where thermostat control and temperature consistency, low noise, and ice making are concerned. Features include an external water dispenser, adjustable shelving, built-in water and air filters, digital controls on the front door, dual evaporators to keep excess moisture at bay (this is great for fruits and veggies), and a child lock for the water and ice dispensers. All in all, LG has been doing a knockout job on refrigerators, and this one, though a large step up from the other refrigerators on our list, is no exception. The fridge measures 70.25 inches tall by 35.75 inches wide (standard) by 28.25 inches deep (sans the fridge handle), leaving it a little on the deeper side, and likely to protrude from standard counters that have a depth of 24 inches. The brand purports the fridge space to offer 23.5 cubic feet of space, but Consumer Reports measures something more like 15.7 cubic feet total, with 11 cubic feet of usable space in the fridge and 4.7 cubic feet of space in the freezer. That might be a bit smaller than other fridges in our guide, but not by a whole lot. Pros: Chock-full of features to keep your food fresh, crisp, and consistently cool Cons: On the pricier side, may be too small for some households Check out more guides to kitchen appliances The best kitchen faucets The workhorse kitchen faucet is often taken for granted — until it breaks. Just think of how frequently you and other household members use it to wash your hands, get a drink, scrub vegetables, rinse dishes, wet sponges, and more. Ideally, you want one that stands up to everyday use. These are our top picks for the best kitchen faucets. The best kitchen sinks Like the faucet, the kitchen sink is heavily used and underappreciated. You want one that's highly functional, durable, and roomy, not to mention attractive and compatible with your kitchen's decor. That's why we combed through the most popular kitchen sinks on the market to bring you our top picks. Here are the best kitchen sinks. The best dishwashers High-quality dishwashers leave your dishes sparkling clean and dry while efficiently using water and electricity. When it comes to time-saving, a dishwasher is well worth the investment. These are the best dishwashers. The best shower heads To ensure your shower is as relaxing as possible, you will need to make some choices about the kind of shower head you want to use. You might be surprised by how many options are available. These are the best shower heads. The best bathtubs The bathtub isn't just a simple household fixture but an important vessel for washing and relaxing. With many different styles and models to choose from, you can find the right one for your family and home. These are our top picks for the best bathtubs.
Ahh, summer. The smell of charcoal and grilled meat, sweet buttered corn, and of course, and...Ahh, summer. The smell of charcoal and grilled meat, sweet buttered corn, and of course, and maybe a beer or two, if you choose. Growing up, we only had the basics when we grilled. All we needed was a simple charcoal grill, spatula, and chicken wings. However, now that my palette has evolved and I enjoy cooking a…Read more...
Eating healthy is good for you, no matter who you are or what your goals. But...Eating healthy is good for you, no matter who you are or what your goals. But it can be tricky to know where to start (especially if you don’t have a weight loss focus), so here are your basic guidelines for healthy eating. Read more...