Last week, I shared a recipe for slow-cooked pork shoulder.
Dinner may be eaten, the leftovers frozen for a later date, but we’re not finished with our shoulder yet!
Now it’s time to make stock. And it’s quick and easy if you do it in the slow cooker.
A tetra-pak of ‘real’ stock from the supermarket costs over $4 a litre. Stock you make from leftover bones and vegetable scraps costs just a few cents.
I worked out it costs around $1, including electricity, to make 3 litres of stock – a saving of $11 compared to bought stock.
But is it worth the time?
Hands-on work, all up, is no more than 15 minutes, including washing the empty jars. To put it as an hourly rate, the savings compared to supermarket stock works out as an equivalent of $44 per hour.
making pork stock in the slow cooker
You’ve slow-cooked your pork shoulder, served dinner, eaten, relaxed and then shredded the remaining into meal-sized portions and delegated the dishes.
No need to wash the slow cooker though. Throw the stripped pork bones back in. If there’s still onion left over from cooking the pork shoulder, leave that in for flavour.
Now add some vegetable scraps. I keep a bag in the freezer for vegetable scraps including onion skins, carrot tops, celery leaves, parsley stalks and garlic skins. Sometimes I also keep beef bones in the freezer and add one or two to the pork stock for an added depth of flavour.
Add some water, peppercorns and salt and turn the slow cooker on low, to bubble away while you are sleeping.
The total prep time for the stock is about 2 minutes and you don’t have to wash the slow cooker…well, not just yet anyway.
The next morning, remove the bones and pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a container or bowl with a lid. Refrigerate. Any fat in the stock will solidify on top, making it easy to spoon off. Total prep time: around 5 minutes.
Now in the evening, when the stock is cold and the fat is hard, scrape the fat off the top of the stock. You can discard this fat or keep it in the fridge and use it for cooking.
Then spoon or pour the stock into clean jars or containers to freeze. If you like, you can strain off the sediment (or leave it in the bottom and discard), but I usually don’t bother.
Make sure you leave some headroom in your jar. The liquid will expand as it freezes, so you don’t want any broken jars in the freezer!!
Label your jar with the contents and the date and freeze.
Enjoy having top quality stock on hand at all times without the stock cubes or the price!
Pork Stock from Leftover Bones
leftover pork bones
frozen vegetable scraps or 1 onion and a carrot, chopped (optional)
6 or so black peppercorns
1/2 – 1 tsp. salt
splash of cider vinegar (optional)
- Strip meat from pork bones and return bones to the slow cooker.
- Add vegetable scraps, salt and pepper, vinegar and enough water to cover, depending on the size of your slow cooker, approx. 2 – 4 litres.
- Put the slow cooker on low and cook overnight.
- Strain stock into a container and place in the fridge until cold.
- Scrape fat off the top and spoon stock into containers.
- Freeze until needed.
You can some beef bones to your stock for a darker colour and different flavour.
You can add a bay leaf or two if you like.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.