Monday, April 2, 2012

Making Chicken Stock

In our quest to become healthier, more frugal, and self-sufficient, we have been making our own things. Chicken stock is one of them. I think I only have one can of the store-bought stuff left on the shelf. I have been using my homemade variety a little over a year now and I love it! I can my chicken stock and sometimes I will freeze it, but I like canning it the best. No unthawing!

Chicken Stock

The ingredients are very loosely based. It really depends on what I have on hand. I also use the bones and leftovers from when we roast chickens. I will keep these in the freezer and pull them out when I get time to make broth.

1-2 chickens worth of bones and leftovers
3-4 carrots, roughly chopped into pieces
3-4 celery stalks and leaves, roughly chopped into pieces
1 onion, cut up into wedges
3-4 garlic cloves, whole
Salt to taste (I add roughly a scant palmful)
Whole peppercorns (10-12 roughly)
Water to cover the whole thing and then some

Put all ingredients except water into a big pot. I use the biggest one I have, but I am not sure of the size. Add the water. Fill 3/4 full.


Place on the stove. I bring my stock to a boil and then turn it down to simmer. Keep it covered to keep the goodness in the pot. I let this simmer for 2-4 hours at least. It just depends on how distracted I get.


After a few hours, take off the burner and let cool a bit. Strain the chicken and vegies out by either a strainer using a cheesecloth for more clarity in the broth. Strain into the biggest bowls you own. It makes this next step easier. 

If it is summer, put your strained broth into the fridge to cool and let the fat rise to the surface. If it is winter and cold where you are (30 degrees and colder), put it outside and out of reach of the animals. I use the inside of my grill which sits out all year round. My refrigerator room is premium space here. Let the broth sit for 24 hours. 

Bring the broth inside or out of the fridge. Skim off the fat layer at the top. I will leave it up to you as to keep it or not. I know people who do and use it when cooking. I don't. If canning the stock, this would be a good time to heat it back up again. 

If freezing the stock, fill your containers 3/4 full to allow room for expansion. Label and place containers in freezer. You are done.

If canning the stock, fill hot jars with hot stock, leaving one inch of headspace. Screw hot lids and rings on the jars and place into the pressure canner. Fill the pressure canner with 2-3 inches of water and place the lid on the canner. Use the canner according to the instructions you have. My canner is old and basic. Bring the canner up to 10 pounds pressure. Process the pint jars for 20 minutes, quart jars for 25 minutes (as per Ball Blue Book of Preserving). Let cool and bring the pressure down in the canner. Take out of the canner and listen for pings. Let cool, label, and put away for the day you want truly homemade chicken noodle soup!

My recipe makes me about 6-7 quarts of stock. I usually end up freezing some too. 

That is it! A basic and simple chicken stock that will blow you away with goodness! Yum!

Thanks for reading! Have a great night!

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