You are here: HomeCooking TipsHow To Make Turkey Stock
Waste not, want not.   I heard that phrase from my mother constantly.  She was a child of the great Turkey Carcassdepression so she learned how to get the most out of everything.

Too many people throw away the turkey carcass after that Holiday meal.  Into the garbage, and  with it goes the promise of wonderful soups and stews and a great deal of nutrition.    So, don't throw away your turkey carcass....make a big pot of stock.  You can divide the finished stock into containers, label them and stick them in your freezer so that you have a stockpile of stock!!

It's really not hard to do.   Here are the simple steps.

First, pick every single little piece of meat you can off the carcass and save it to make soup.   If you are going to make some soup or turkey salad or something in the next couple of days, just refrigerate it.    Otherwise, refrigerate it, then put  the meat in a container and cover it with some of your freshly made stock and freeze it for later use.

Get out the biggest pot you've got and follow these easy steps:

    Cold water...I'll say it again  COLD WATER.
    1 turkey carcass, meat removed, use the wing tips, skin, and all the bits and pieces you can't  eat.
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 ribs of  celery with tops, chopped
    1 large or 2 small carrots, chopped
    1 large head of garlic, cut in half horizontally‚Ä®
    Put the following ingredients into a 4" square of cheesecloth and tie it into a sack, or use one of those little metal tea balls..    
    6-8 stems of fresh parsley, chopped
    1 bay leaf
    1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
    1/4 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
    1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
    1/4 tsp. dried basil leaves

Break up the turkey carcass, and chop some of the larger bones in half. Put the carcass into your largest pot, put in enough cold water to completely cover it and bring slowly to a simmer. Periodically skim off any scum that forms, and if you wish use a skimmer to skim off the fat. (This stock simmering process makes your house smell REALLY good!) Let this simmer for two hours, covered.

Add the vegetables and herb packet (hint:  if you use the cheesecloth,  tie the packet closed with some twine and tie the long end of the twine to the handle of the pot; this makes the bag easier to retrieve. The tea ball also works really well.) Simmer for one more hour, covered.

If you want a really clear stock, don't stir the pot while the turkey carcass is simmering.  Agitating by stirring makes your stock more cloudy.  Also, don't boil your stock....bring it up slowly to a simmer and never let it really boil vigorously.  This also helps keep your stock clear.

After the three hour cooking time, strain your stock.   The best way to do this is to ladle the stock out and pour it through a strainer which has been lined with a couple of layers of damp cheesecloth. Or ladle it through a colander if you don't have any cheesecloth.  Throw away everything else.   The nutritional value from the vegetables and carcass has now been transferred into the stock and the stuff that is left is completely depleted of any nutrients so you don't need to keep it for any further use.  Compost it or put it in the garbage.
If you're using the stock immediately, skim off as much fat as you can with a fat skimmer or a piece of paper towel, otherwise cool the stock right away by placing the container into an ice-water-filled sink, stirring to bring the hot liquid from the center to the sides of the container. Don't just put hot stock in the refrigerator; it won't cool enough to prevent possible multiplication of harmful bacteria.

To skim the fat off the stock easily, refrigerate overnight, until the fat solidifies on the surface, then skim it off.  Once it is cold it may seem a little gelatinous to you.  That's ok, it's goodie from the bones and collagen.  It's good for you and it will melt into liquid when you use the stock.

It will last about a week in the refrigerator so that gives you time to use it fairly quickly.  And it will keep in good condition in the freezer for about three months.
Makes about 6 quarts of stock.