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What's your favorite grocery store stock and why?

yeah, yeah, I know I should make my own, but until I get some room in my freezer, it ain't happening.

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  1. I like "Better than Bouillion" in the low sodium version. Both the beef and chicken are good. Adam

    1 Reply
    1. re: adamshoe

      Have you ever tried Herb-Ox' no sodium chicken broth packets? Really nice flavor with no sodium; box runs around $2.19 for 8 packets...I had to cook really low-sodium for one of my son's last year...I've stuck with that particular product for myself...I really love it. I need to try the Better Than Bouillon...maybe I'll do a "blind" taste test.

    2. Ditto Better than Bouillon soup bases. I haven't seen the low sodium, Adam, but will keep an eye out for it. They make several flavors, and I recently picked up mushroom and just made a cup of broth to taste it. It should work great in mushroom soup or ragout.

      For organic, I like Imagine No Chicken in the shelf-stable boxes. Very rich for a vegetable broth.

      1. Third on Better Than Bouillon. They make quite a number of versions but it seems no stores carry all of them. Never seen mushroom, for example. My market carries both turkey and chicken, which IMO is a waste of space.

        Trader Joe's brand of bouilon, both chicken and beef, is less adulterated than the BTB, and better tasting. But it comes in a box of fast food condiment-style squeeze packets. That's very convenient for making a cup of broth, or boosting flavor in a gravy, but not practical if you are making a pot of soup.

        1 Reply
        1. re: greygarious

          I haven't seen bouillion in squeeze packets. But I do really like the Trader Joe's boxes of broth. I've used the chicken, beef, and vegetable. They are resealable 32-oz boxes, so they can go into the fridge if you don't need it all at once. Even the organic version is cheaper than any supermarket brand I've ever seen. It's also 70 mg sodium per cup -- far more than most others.
          [edited to add "sodium"]

        2. Swanson's --- low sodium, natural--- in the 32 oz. box, it works for me.

          1. Is this Better than Bouillion where the other boullion cubes are or in a different section of the store?

            1 Reply
            1. re: VAfoodie

              Yes, it's with the dry soups like Lipton, in the soup aisle. It is in a squat, round glass jar, probably around 8oz, with a mostly-black label. Costs usually range from $3.50-5.50 in the Boston area, depending on the store. It is a "base" - that is, a thick paste. Once I open one, I store it in the door of the freezer, where it is still possible to spoon some out without a struggle, although the fridge would probably suffice.

            2. i like the new concentrated broth from trader joe's. it's in a small box (smaller than their broth that's not a concentrate), and there are 12 packets inside. you can reconstitute each with a cup of water, but what i like about them is that if i want a more concentrated flaovr, i'll use a whole packet, but only 3/4 cup water, or half cup---or wine instead of water. i find they're great for quick pan sauces, and i like that the packaging is more eco-friendly. those "tetra" packs tha the other tj's broth is in are not recyclable, due to the plastic(ish) lining. comes in beef, veg and chix.

              1. If you're in Virginia, you must have a Giant nearby, yes? Their house brand Nature's Promise line has very good low-sodium, no-MSG broths in quart boxes that we always have plenty of on the shelf in the winter. (Well, technically ours come from Stop and Shop, but they're the same company.) And they regularly go on sale for pretty cheap too!

                1. college inn. nice clean flavor. also, cook's illustrated did blind tasting and they agreed with me.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pigtails

                    Second the College Inn - both the Chicken and Veg. So good you could even just heat and serve as soup - which is the test of good stock. I've tried all of them (and would love to find a great organic) but most seem salty or 'dusty' flavored IMHO.

                  2. I cannot stand any store-bought stock. Like you, my freezer is packed. Couldn't get a toothpick in there, yet I just made 6 quarts of beef stock and 6 quarts of chicken stock.
                    So what did I do with them...I canned them in my pressure canner. Store it in the bedroom closet.

                    1. Is it my imagination, or does the newer type of packaging, the aseptic type, seem to allow the product to taste better than canned?

                      I tend to use that Swanson Natural Goodness lower sodium chicken Broth in the aseptic carton for several reasons. It is easy to open and pour into whatever dish and then snap the top closed and place in the refrigerator. No cranking, mixing, or placing the extra into a new container. I also use a marker to label it with a disposal date. It keeps 14 days, or at least that is what it says on the carton. The unopened cartons don't require refrigeration, of course. The sodium is somewhat lower than some other products, but still not low enough for all reducing applications. And it tastes okay. It is cheap enough to use now and then, unlike Pacific. I can get the Swanson's for $2 for 32 oz. I would switch if I found something better tasting, equally convenient, and not too expensive. It is sort of a price/convenience/taste balance. Since I do make my own stock regularly, I use it in selected applications only.

                      Better than Bouillon Beef doesn't work for me. It can't stand in for homemade in the things I might use it for, like a sauce. I don't have access to their chicken version, so I can't say on that score.

                      If freezer space is the issue, you could reduce your own stock and freeze it as ice cubes, which can be put in a glad freezer bag and stashed in any little spare crack of space. Use a freezer bag, not a cheapo imitation, or you will have freezer burn.

                      1. Our favourite is definately Imagine brand. It has some texture and taste and is not salty. I recall seeing a taste in, I think, Consumer Reports that rated it number 2. Not sure what came in first (was not a brand available locally).

                        1. My first choice for relatively quick chicken stock, homemade version, is to boil chicken wings with Cento chicken broth and water for 2 hours, which results in a delicious broth that tastes like real chicken soup. When I don't have this on hand, I use Cento chicken broth, the one prepared broth that tastes as close to real chicken soup as a canned one can, in my opinion.

                          I grew up on homemade chicken soup so I feel as though I know what the real thing tastes like (the chickens we used to make the soup had been killed the day the soup was made). College Inn chicken broth used to be good, but to me (and contrary to Cook's Illustrated's verdict) in the past few years the flavor has become more fake. Ditto Swanson's. I used to consider Swanson's the most real-tasting broth, but maybe Campbell's changed the formula or something, because it is not what it used to be. I feel lucky to have discovered Cento broth. I rely on it all the time.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mayiomoula

                            This is a tad late but, based on your reply, I tasted again the college hill stock rather than just dumping in the pot(!) as I have done for years. It really wasn't good - not bad but not what I wanted to taste.

                            While I've always made stock, it was a every month or so thing - I'd run out. Since tasting the canned again, I've resolved to have homemade stock in the freezer at all times. And have changed my routine a bit to make it happen - I buy frozen chicken backs and keep the bones from my cooking and veggie ends in the freezer. I throw them in the pot when I know I'll be home (laundry/cleaning day). At the same time, I have a second pot going for the vegetable stock. Every 2-3 weeks and I'm a happy camper (eater)! (Ok - it sounds silly but it was a tada moment for me . . .)

                            I have the remaining canned stocks just in case.

                            PS Thought I should update my recommendation based on the 'shrill' posting on Site Talk and that I may be inadvertently supporting/selling products. (and I didn't get my royalty check this month either!)

                          2. I was bummed when Traders stopped carrying Better Than Bouillion but have adapted to the Trader option that is quite good. Although I never use it alone. I always use the carcass of my roasted chickens, make a stock, it takes an hour , no hassle,with an onion. I let that sit over night in the fridge so the good gelatinous thing happens. I add a about a packet of the traders bouliion to any soup to add a kick of flavor.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: panarosmith

                              My favorite is Wyler's Chicken Granules, which tastes good and is also more useful than cubes. You can use as little or as much as you need. I don't use beef stock, using the browning on the bottom of the pan for stews and pot roasts. I wasn't impressed with Better Than Boullion. I don't make meat soups, vegetarian only, so I don't need large quantities of stock.

                            2. My favorite is Imagine Organic chicken broth. Less salty, more body than other commercial brands, it tastes like it actually has a chicken in its past...

                              1. No you shouldn't make your own except for something like chicken soup. I use stock for a ton of things, including rice, and making my own would take way more of my time than I am willing to give. I like Swanson's organic low sodium in the carton. Also the favorite of Americas Test Kitchen.

                                1. There are none. It really isn't all that big of a deal to recycle a chicken carcass with
                                  a carrot, celery stick, an onion, some garlic, a sprig of thyme and parsley, salt and water.
                                  Really it isn't and it is 300 percent that much better. I kid you not. Even the organic high end stuff is crap by comparison. If I don't have a pot simmering on the stove I feel deprived.

                                  1. I'm not a fan of liquid storebought stock, but I love the veggie bouillon powder by Knorr. I use it for soup, sure, but I also stir small quantities into dips and creamy dressings - it adds a little depth (and probably more sodium than I want to think of).

                                    1. My favorite used to be the Boston Market brand - does anyone know if they still make it?

                                      1. Kitchen Basics....I don't make my own stock for a number of reasons and KB is better than what I have made in the past.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                          i am a KB fan too.

                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                            3rd for Kitchen basics for store bought but it looks like I'm going to have to go on mission for Better than bouillion

                                          2. wanted to revive this thread based on a blind taste test that we did last night

                                            The Kitchen Basics stock won hands down over the Better Than Bouillion.

                                            I didn't have the low-sodium version of BTB - that may have been a key point, but in general the KB was richer in flavor and WAY less salty.

                                            At least in our opinion