One of the easiest and most flexible ways I like to save some money is by making homemade broth and stock. I find that chances are, when I’m meal prepping, I have a ton of veggie scraps that might otherwise get thrown to the chickens. Also, when I’m cooking a bone-in chicken or turkey, I save the carcass and simmer it for stocks, and I do the same thing with shrimp shells and fish heads too. I’ve found that making my own stock is not only frugal, it is also healthier because it cuts out so much of the sodium that normally goes into the store bought stuff.
Keep a few things in mind when making your own broth or stock:
- Vegetable scraps can be saved in an airtight container until ready to use for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. (Cooked beef or poultry bones should last 3-5 days in the refrigerator or you can freeze them. If saving shrimp shells or fish heads, I keep them in the freezer until ready to use.)
- The scraps shouldn’t consist of any part of the vegetable that was moldy or rotten.
- Use cruciferous vegetables in small amounts such as lettuce, cauliflower, kale, and chard as they can be bitter.
- Certain vegetables will add “color” to the broth, such as beets and onion skins.
- Some herbs can be very strong tasting and may overpower the whole broth. I would go easy on the basil and rosemary unless you are using it in a particular dish.
- Experiment and adjust the broth to your own taste preferences. (I tend to go light with the salt and heavy with fresh herbs.)
Here is my basic Vegetable Stock recipe. Feel free to add more of anything that you desire. I like to add a few dried shiitake mushrooms to my vegetable broth because it gives it a more earthy flavor. The more veggies and herbs you add, the richer the stock.