Hint: Use one of your all-time favorite kitchen tools.

Did you know that the easiest way to make flavorful stock is with your slow cooker? As all Southern cooks know, stock is a must-have in the kitchen. Instead of picking it up countless times at the grocery store, though, you can easily make it at home. While homemade stock probably isn’t on your must-try recipe lists, it can make a lot of difference in a recipe, and it’s a great way to use leftover vegetable scraps or chicken bones. As if you needed another reason to love your slow cooker, you can use it in unexpected ways, including to make homemade vegetable, chicken, or beef stock. Here are our some tips from the Southern Living Test Kitchen for making the most flavorful vegetable, chicken, and beef stock in your slow cooker.

Vegetable Stock

Use trimmings and scraps from potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, and other veggies. Be sure they are clean and still fresh.
Toss in peppercorns, herb sprigs, and garlic cloves to give the stock complexity.

Chicken Stock

Roasted bones make a darker, richer stock than raw bones. Use collagen-rich chicken wings for a robust flavor and texture. The stock will congeal when chilled but will liquefy when heated.

Beef Stock

Acidity helps break down the bones; tomato paste, red wine, and red wine vinegar are best for beef. Meaty bones make great stock. Reserve any bits of slow-cooked beef for soups, stews, and pastas.