The one stock I try to keep on hand year around is simple ham stock. It has so many uses and often can be substituted in place of chicken stock. If you enjoy any good bean or pea soups, like lentil or split pea, give this stock a try. It’s easy and keeps well in the freezer for months. Whenever you make your soup, bake a batch of cornbread and you have a delicious and filling meal.

ham stock

Photo: Mrs. 4444 Cooks

You will need:
Large stock pot or large, heavy pot
Slotted spoon
Ladle
Freezer bags or containers
colander/soup strainer

Large, meaty ham bone or 2-3 ham hocks
3 large onions cut in wedges or chunks
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 large bay leaves
3 stalks celery, with leaves, cut in chunks ( optional )
2 large carrots, cut in half ( optional)
1 tsp salt or seasoning salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp peppercorns or pepper to taste

1tsp rosemary ( optional
1/2 tsp tarragon ( optional )
3-4 quarts water

Directions :

Place all ingredients in pot and bring to slow boil. Boil on med low for 15-20 minutes, reduce heat to simmer and continue simmering at least 4 hours. Stir along the way and skim the foam from the top. The longer you simmer, the stronger the flavor. After about 2 hours, have a taste…add more seasonings if desired.
Cool, discard bones and other ingredients. Ladle into freezable container until ready to use.