Stock is a liquid flavour base made by simmering vegetables and bones in water for use in many dishes like soups, sauces and stews. The main difference between stock and bone broth is that bone broth is cooked for much longer to release more nutrients into the liquid. Here are three ways I get zero waste stock and broth.
1. Homemade liquid stock / broth
I’ve been making my own vegetable, chicken and beef stock since I began my plastic free, zero waste journey four years ago. It saves me money, reduces packaging waste and can be made from food scraps. I literally throw my vegetable scraps or excess produce from the vegetable garden into a large pot and boil it down for a long period of time. If I’m making chicken stock or beef stock (or broth) I will add bones left over from other meals that I’ve stored in the freezer until I can use them. Just remember that scrap stock and broth won’t have the same qualities as following a specific recipe or produce consistent results. There are many recipes online for stock and broth if you want to give it a go.
2. Dried stock / broth
When I started meal planning for zero waste hiking I really wanted to ‘up my game’ and come up with flavoursome, nutritious hiking food. A key ingredient in many homemade dehydrated hiking meals was stock powder. I’d already tried dehydrating coconut milk with terrible results so I really wasn’t interested in trying to dehydrate other liquids at home, plus it takes ages! It was time to head to the shops and find a zero waste stock powder.
I know many of you aren’t interested in stock powder for hiking reasons but some of you may prefer to keep stock in the pantry rather than take up large amounts of freezer space with frozen liquids, and some of you probably just don’t want to make stock or broth yourself because of the time commitment. So here are three low waste dried stock/broth options I found in my local stores that I’m happy with.
The first one is San Elk Artisan Stock which is certified organic, gluten free, lactose free, yeast free, MSG free, additive free, and it has no palm products, no maltodextrin and is hand crafted in West Footscray, Victoria, Australia. The packaging is kraft paper cardboard which is reusable and recyclable. It doesn’t seem to be compostable because on closer inspection the inside of the tube seems to be coated with a light layer of plastic. I’ve emailed the company to confirm this (see the comments section below for the response from San Elk). The lid is secured with a sticker on two sides.
The second one is Tonemade dehydrated bone broth which is also certified organic using local real food ingredients and no preservatives or additives. It’s also hand made in small batches right here in Gippsland – Inverloch to be precise. The packaging is a glass jar which can be reused or recycled.
The third option I found is OXO Stock Cubes with the cubes packaged in aluminium foil and then a cardboard box which can all be recycled.* However, this product does contain ingredients like additives and preservatives that some people may be trying to avoid like MSG and gluten. It doesn’t contain palm products like some stock cubes do.
You might want to check out this great article I found by Frankie Bell from Additive Free Kids which also examines the ingredients of other stock and broth products, some of which look to be in glass jars, which might be in your local stores: Sneaky tactics to watch out for when buying additive free stock / bone broth
*Aluminium foil is usually too small and light to be collected at a materials recovery facility for recycling but if you scrunch all your foil into a ball the size of a tennis ball the sorting systems will be able to collect it for recycling.
3. Homemade dried stock / broth
I got the third method for getting zero waste stock from Bella of Stella’s Pantry. She gave me a recipe to make my own dried stock which doesn’t require dehydrating your own liquid stock because (if you’re lucky) you can buy the dried ingredients from a bulk store. Or, like me, you might already have some of the ingredients dried from your vegetable and herb garden. I haven’t made my own dried stock yet because I have the ones I purchased to use up first. Again, there are plenty of other recipes online to make your own dried stock or to dehydrate your homemade liquid stock if you want to do that.
Do you have any favourite stock recipes you’d like to share or stories to tell? I’d love to read them.
P.S. If you are near Traralgon, I have an event coming up on 5th July that you might be interested in. Check it out here.