Zero waste DIY: Crock pot turkey stock

Was it Thanksgiving when I mentioned making turkey stock from bones inherited from my mother, and Jennifer (hey, Jennifer!) mentioned in the comments that she makes it in the crock pot?

Figure 1: All the things!

Huh. Yeah, I guess it was.

Anyway, Easter meant another feast at my parents’ house, and since no one else seemed to want it, another pile of bones and scraps for yours truly. Good timing, too, because I’ve been out of chicken stock for months now. I actually bought a huge can of (non organic) broth a few months ago and decanted that into single serving portions that I froze, but even that’s been gone for a while.

So I was pretty jacked is what I’m saying.

But between Easter, and work, and kids’ activities, and general stuff, it wasn’t looking good for my broth project. Eric and I were in the kitchen discussing when we’d have time, and I was lamenting the fact that I needed at least two hours, plus more for it to cool, and that was just not going to happen.

And then I remembered Jennifer. The day was saved!

Turns out making stock in a crock pot is super easy: bones and veggie scraps, fill it with water and let it go. I put it together in the morning before work, set it on a special “start out high than switch to low” setting, walked out the door, and walked in again that evening to the fantastic fragrance of cooked broth. I love it when I make something but don’t even have to be there.

Figure 2: Thank you, little crock pot, for all you do for me.

I decided to turn it back to high for a couple of hours while I messed around the house, just to get it to condense a little more, and that worked like a champ. I ended up with seven pints of broth, which I was super happy about. Eric picked through what was left and salvaged some decent turkey pieces, although they’re a little tough from all the cooking. We stuck them in the freezer with vague plans of chopping it up in the food processor before actually using it to … um, help with that.

Not very challenging, which is probably why I am a big fan of this whole ordeal — making crock pot broth is just such a terrific time saver because you don’t have to tend it. Plus the broth is gorgeous. The girls have been requesting a lot of leek and potato soup as of late (recipe a la Everyday Food magazine years and years ago; we eat it hot), so we are now officially set on that one key ingredient.


We went grocery shopping as a family Saturday evening, and that always means a higher bill and a little bit more of a chance for some non-zero waste behaviors. My family is so, so good and has learned so much this past year — they’re doing so much better than I hoped! — but they are still human. And they don’t go shopping as much as I do and don’t know where the unpackaged or minimally-packaged good stuff is.

So we’re checking out, and the kid bagging our groceries is looking at all of my bags of produce and jars of bulk, etc., and was spending a bit of time investigating each before putting them into our cloth grocery sacks.

That was cool, she said when she put the last bag in the cart. Usually people have trouble just remembering their bags.

That made me laugh. I really do think I do the bulk of my evangelizing just by showing up with reusables in tow.

P.S. Since the bag ban took effect March 1 for three major shopping outlets, I have noticed more cloth sacks, and even a few produce bags. People are calming down about the whole ordeal — we haven’t had a letter to the editor complaining about it in weeks!


I hesitate to write this next part, because I know you’ll just feel sorry for us, but at the same time, you’re all involved in our life right now and … an update seems in order.

Which is just: Bear, our dear, sweet boy, was hit and killed by a car on Tuesday afternoon.

Johanna is taking it the hardest, Pearl is totally confused, and Eric, Abby and I are heartsick but resigned. He was just too pure for this world, as Abby pointed out recently — he had no fear and was just too trusting.

I don’t know, you guys. It just sucks.

Next up: More updates?