Time to take stock!

It’s Wednesday after Thanksgiving and it’s a dull day here in North Bay.  A great day to take stock in a few different ways.

One way to take stock is to make a stock 😊 and this is how I made it:

Place the turkey carcass in a large pot, fill with water and add onion, carrots, celery with leaves, whole peppercorns, parsley, bay leaf, dried thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4 hours. Once cool remove the carcass and other bits, let it cool and put in the fridge overnight.  Remove the fat that settles and strain the broth into mason jars, put the lids on tight, label, date and freeze them.

When ready, remove the broth from the freezer to the fridge and use it for soup and gravy. Making your own stock ensures that you can control the salt content and reduce the fat. I used my frozen turkey stock in gravy this year, it was the best gravy I think I have ever made and I can also reuse the jars!

I love turkey dinners, but once or twice in a week is enough. I am not a big fan of leftovers but I hate wasting food even more. I was talking to one of my two favourite home chefs named Denise yesterday. Denise #1 is known as the “Freezer Queen”, I don’t think there is anything that Denise won’t freeze – that may be a result of growing up in a family of 10 children, nothing is wasted. So today was the day…I froze leftover cooked turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing and cranberries, all separately! I froze them as I do with everything else by the dinner portion for two, so they thaw quickly and it takes no time to heat up. I will let you know how it goes.  I do it for soups, stews, chili and spaghetti sauce regularly. I also left enough turkey and stock in the fridge to make a chowder tomorrow.

I am sure that you will agree that it’s easy to lose track of what’s in the freezer(s) periodically. Items get shoved to the back, if not labelled it’s hard to figure out what it is or was and how long its been in the freezer.  When grocery shopping you pick up chicken breasts for supper because you have no idea if you have any in the freezer.

Ok, so here is where the taking stock comes in again:

Before putting the leftovers in the freezer, I took an inventory of what I have, both in the chest freezer and the one attached to my fridge. It took me 10 minutes total. I took everything out and sorted like items together, e.g. frozen fruits & vegetables, meat(s), bacon/sausages and breads/tortilla shells. Ps don’t forget to wipe the inside of the freezer clean before putting things back!  Taking stock saves you money…you will use up what you have in the freezer, it can help you plan your weekly meals and it will eliminate food waste. As you can see, the list is nothing fancy, however it contains everything in my freezers. I will use it to plan the next few weeks and help me with my grocery list.  I do the stock check about three times a year. If I am concerned about something being freezer burned or past its best before date it is gone, and if I feel that something is getting close then I might use it up over the next week or two. I throw very little out, which is the goal. I took a copy of the list and posted it on the side of the fridge, I’ll cross things off as I use them

If this is the first time you are making stock then bon appetit and if it’s the first-time taking stock it will take you a bit longer and when you see the waste and money being thrown out, you will see the benefit of taking that 10 minutes periodically and labeling things correctly.

If you have any suggestions or tips to add, please share them! I would love to hear from you!

Janet Ireland, Trained Professional Organizer


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