The Best Way To Use Turkey Bones

Some say that the best part about Thanksgiving is diving into a freshly roasted turkey with sides of sweet potato casserole, green beans, and savory stuffing. Others look forward to the abundance of leftover turkey meat, which can be used for all kinds of sandwiches, salads, and stews for days to come. Before you jump into making a variety of turkey-based dishes, just remember that turkey leftovers last up to four days in the fridge, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you're more of a freezer person, Glad Products suggests a 4-6 month time frame for freezing cooked turkey meat.

Now aside from using such leftovers to whip up creative dishes like a Thanksgiving turkey panini, croquettes with turkey and mashed potatoes, and turkey vegetable soup, you can also utilize those turkey bones. It's a great way to put your chef's hat on and use every part of the animal. So here's how to put those bones to good use after you've finished the Thanksgiving feast.

Rich and savory stock

One of the key ingredients in homemade stock is leftover meat bones, and, as The Kitchn explains, you can throw ingredients like the turkey neck, herbs, and celery, into a zip-top bag for the very best turkey stock. That way, when it comes time to boil everything together, all you'll need is a pot and water.

To make the stock, MasterClass recommends adding all of these solids (as well as other additions like black peppercorns, a mirepoix, and a small amount of apple cider vinegar) to a stockpot, then pour in a gallon or so of water. The mixture should then be boiled and simmered over low heat for up to five hours. As an aside, your kitchen will probably smell incredible. If you're uncertain about whether or not the stock is done, La Petit Noisette suggests sampling some of the stock ingredients, like veggies or bits of meat on the turkey bones. If they taste bland, that's a good sign because that means the stock now holds those flavors.

After the stock is done and any large pieces of solids and film are removed, the stock should be strained and then cooled before being placed in the fridge or freezer. The above process will yield a rich stock that can be used for pozole, ramen, gravy, and gumbo, as MasterClass notes. After all, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate life, loved ones, and food, and that goes for every single part of the turkey.