What to do With a Turkey Carcass

Don’t throw away that bony turkey carcass after Thanksgiving dinner! Get to work making homemade turkey stock or broth. Using all of the turkey — even the bones — reduces waste and saves money. Homemade turkey stock tastes better than anything you buy in stores, and you can use it to make soup or use it in place of chicken broth or beef broth in any recipe. Let’s get cooking.

By the way, if you don’t have time — or if you are in a turkey and pumpkin pie coma after Thanksgiving dinner — place the turkey bones in a bag or container, label it, and toss it in the freezer for later. It will be just fine.

How to Make Turkey Stock or Broth

Once you’ve got all the meat picked off the turkey bones, take those bones and throw them in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Break up the bones if they won’t all fit in the pot, and use more than one pot if necessary. Then, add these things to the pot:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • generous sprinklings of thyme, parsley, sage, and poultry seasoning
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves

Add enough water to cover the ingredients, and then simmer on the stove on low heat for one hour. Strain the liquid and discard the solid pieces. Place your fresh turkey stock in freezer-safe containers with lids, label and date the containers, and store in the freezer.

It’s preferable to store your stock in smaller containers so you can use it in recipes that call for only small amounts of broth, such as 1/2 cup or 1 cup, but you can also store the stock in larger containers to use in recipes that call for more broth. Some home cooks also freeze the stock in ice cube trays, then store them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer so they can pull out one or two cubes when needed.

That’s all there is to it. Easy peasy. Happy eating!

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