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Turkey Bone Soup Stock

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Turkey Bone Soup Stock

Turn leftover turkey bones into a delicious soup stock

Leda Meredith

After you've dined on the roasted turkey and enjoyed the leftovers in sandwiches the next day, don't waste the bones! Turkey stock is a delicious foundation for soups and sauces, and you can freeze or pressure can it for future use.

Besides the turkey bones, all you need is water, a few aromatic veggies, and optional seasonings. For the bones from one turkey, add:

  • 1 onion, peeled, halved and studded with 2 whole cloves
  • 1 celery stalk, cut in half
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 6 black peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 sprigs thyme (optional)

Instead of the veggies and herbs above, you could make use of odds and ends that were leftover after you prepared the turkey feast. All of these scraps are good additions to turkey stock:

  • Celery leaves
  • Carrot leaves and root ends
  • Parsley stems
  • The green parts of leeks
  • Onion ends and skins
  • Thyme and oregano stems leftover after you've stripped the leaves (avoid strong herbs such as rosemary, sage and cilantro, which can overpower the flavor of the other ingredients).

There are two basic ways to make turkey bone stock - stovetop or slow cooker:

Making Turkey Bone Stock - Stovetop Method

Put the vegetables, optional herbs and turkey bones into a large pot. Cover with water.

Bring to a simmer. Do not let the stock boil or it will be cloudy. Reduce heat so that there are just a few bubbles appearing on the surface of the stock as it cooks.

Cook, uncovered, topping up with boiling hot water if necessary for 6 - 8 hours.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Blot the top of the turkey bone stock with a clean paper or cloth towel to remove excess fat, or refrigerate and remove the layer of fat that will congeal on top of the chilled stock.

Making Turkey Bone Stock - Slow-cooker Method

Place the vegetables and herbs (if using) into the slow cooker. Put the turkey bones on top of the aromatics. Cover with water. Cook, covered, on high for 1/2 hour. Change the setting to low and cook, still covered, for 6 - 8 hours.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Blot the top of the turkey bone stock with a clean paper or cloth towel to remove excess fat, or refrigerate and remove the layer of fat that will congeal on top of the chilled stock.

  • Turkey bone stock can be refrigerated for up to one week. For longer storage, freeze or can your stock.

Freezing Turkey Bone Stock

Let the stock cool slightly (no longer than 1/2 hour) before transferring to freezer containers.

A good space-saving method is to pour your stock into plastic freezer bags and lay these flat in the freezer.

If using upright freezer containers, be sure to leave 1 inch of head space since the stock will expand as it freezes.

Turkey bone stock will keep in the freezer for 4 months. It is still safe to eat after that, but may develop an "off" taste.

Canning Turkey Bone Stock

For long term storage at room temperature, you need to pressure can your soup stocks. Important: soup stocks must be pressure canned. You cannot safely process soup stocks in a boiling water bath.

Pressure can pint jars of turkey bone soup stock at 10 lbs. pressure for 20 minutes, 25 minutes for quarts (adjust for your altitude if necessary).

Tip:

Too tuckered out from all the holiday cooking to even think about making one more thing? Freeze the bones until you have the time and energy to make the soup stock.

Tip #2:

When making bone-based stocks, add a splash of vinegar to the water. You won't taste the vinegar in the final product. It helps to release the calcium from the bones resulting in a more nutritious stock.

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