Trash Can Soup Stock

This is really just stock or bone broth, but my kids like to call it “trash can soup” because the stock is made entirely from things we would have otherwise thrown away. It’s free. It’s an authentically “whole” way to eat. It’s a natural way to reduce food waste. It was a usual practice for our ancestors. Most importantly, it’s tasty and nourishing and straightforward to make. Any time we eat meat with bones in it, from a whole chicken to chicken wings to lamb chops to ribs to a spiral-cut ham, I save the bones along with any extra meat, skin, etc. They go into a ziptop bag in the freezer, labeled with the date and type. Any time I prepare vegetables or herbs, I save all the scraps: peels, ends, seeds, stems, as well as anything wilted or slightly past its prime. These all go in ziptop bags in the freezer, labeled. I have always saved and used all scraps, and don’t ever remember ending up with unusable broth. However, most of the internet recommends avoiding cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc.), peppers of any kind, and potatoes. Your call. When it’s time to make broth for a recipe or soup, I pull the oldest couple bags out of the freezer and dump them in a pot. Easy peasy.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs


  • Instant pot
  • Large measuring glass
  • Scraps bag
  • Bones bag
  • Tablespoon
  • Salt & pepper grinders
  • Large wire strainer
  • Fat separator
  • Large mason jar
  • Ingredient bowls


  • 1 Chicken Carcass OR ~4 cups of Any Variety Bones raw or cooked
  • 4 cups Vegetable and Herb Scraps
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 8 cups Water
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar optional
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • To cook the broth: Add bones and veggies to the pot. (Save the ziptop bag.) Cover with water. Cook.
  • In an instant pot: 30-120 minutes on high, natural release. (Note: use more time for larger bones.)
  • In a slow cooker: 12-24 hours on low, or 4-8 hours on high, adding water if necessary to keep the bones submerged.
  • On the stove top: bring to a boil, skim off any foam with a wire mesh strainer, cover and simmer over low heat for 4-12 hours, adding water if necessary to keep the bones submerged.
  • To strain the broth: Pour the finished stock through a wire mesh strainer into a batter bowl or large measuring cup (at least 8 cups) and discard the solids. (A large slotted spoon and/or colander will work in a pinch.)
  • To de-fat the broth: Let the broth cool enough that it won’t melt a plastic bag. (About 30 minutes on the counter, or speed up the process in the fridge or an ice bath.) Pour the broth into the saved gallon ziptop bag, held open inside a bowl or large measuring cup. Zip the bag and let the fat rise to the top. Hold the bag over a mason jar for storage or a pot if you plan to make soup right away. Hold the ziptop bag by one corner and snip the opposite bottom corner. Let the broth pour out. Pinch the corner closed with your fingers before the layer of fat begins to pour in. (The fat can be discarded or used for cooking or flavoring vegetables.)
  • To flavor the broth: At this point, I taste the broth and add salt & pepper and other seasonings as needed for the recipe in which I plan to use it.