From Scratch…Chicken Stock

Welcome back to my kitchen! This is the second installment of ‘From Scratch’ where I show you how I make some of my cooking staples. Last Wednesday, I showed you how to roast a chicken. Hopefully, you saved your chicken carcass and drippings because that is the main ingredient to today’s food staple, Chicken Stock.

Homemade Chicken Stock

1.  In a crockpot, place chicken carcass, its skin and juices leftover after roasting. Not to worry if you didn’t save the juices or you ate all the skin. These are not essential, just useful.

 

2.  Grab some old veggies. Onion is the one vegetable that I would say is essential. The rest is up to you. Whatever you have in your crisper that is looking a bit sad. Now this is not to say you should use juicy or moldy produce, just the stuff that is on the oldish side. I like to use half an onion,  a couple of celery stalks, a carrot or two, and garlic gloves.

***TIP: Any time you have ‘oldish’ veggies (come on, don’t tell me it doesn’t happened to you) instead of throwing them in the trash or compost bin, throw them into a freezer bag and freeze ’em. When you’re ready to make chicken stock, just grab the bag and throw the veggies straight into your crockpot. 

 

3.  Cut Veggies into large chunks. Place into crockpot.

 

4.  Cover the whole mess with water. I put in at least 4 quarts of water. Just so you know, I never measure. I just pour in water until everything is well covered.

 

5.  Add 2 Tablespoons of  vinegar. This isn’t for flavoring, believe it or not. Vinegar is what draws out all the minerals, as well as, the gelatin the bones have to offer. Gelatin is what we’re after folks. That’s what makes it so good for you. So, don’t skip this step.

 

6.  Add a Bay Leaf for flavoring. Sorry, I forgot to get a picture of that.

7.  Set your crockpot on high. Put on the lid and wait for 12-24 hours. Remember, the longer it cooks, the more apt you are to get the bones to release that gelatin. And wow, you’re whole house is going to smell delicious

 

Here it is in summary:

  1. In a crockpot, place chicken carcass, its skin and juices leftover after roasting.
  2. Grab some old veggies. (1/2 onion, 2 celery stalks, 1+carrots, 4-5 garlic cloves)
  3. Cut Veggies into large chunks.
  4. Cover the whole mess with water. You want plenty of water because there will be some evaporation.
  5. Add 2 Tablespoons of  vinegar.
  6. Add a Bay Leaf for flavoring.*
  7. Set your crockpot on high. Put on the lid and wait for 12-24 hours.

*If you have them, throw in a couple of chicken feet. These make a great gelatinous stock. Sorry if that grosses you out.

After 12-24 hours

 

1. Set up this contraption: 1 qt jar + 1 canning funnel + 1 strainer (seriously though, a pasta stainer over a large bowl would work just fine)

 

2. Ladle (or pour)  your chicken stock over the stainer. The trick here is that you don’t want any of the solids (bones, veggies, etc) in your stock.

 

3. Let your stock cool. I leave mine on the counter for a few hours before putting them into the refrigerator. After 8 hours of refrigeration, your stock is ready for the freezer. You can pour it into freezer bags or into ice cube trays (great for smaller jobs and easy to defrost). If I use freezer bags, I lie them flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Then after frozen, the bags can easily be stacked on top of one another. Just be careful thawing freezer bags; mine usually leak. To combat leakage, I place the frozen bag into a large bowl.

If I use ice cube trays, I dump the little cubes into a plastic freezer bag. And then when I need some stock, I just pull out as many cubes as I need.

I haven’t ventured into freezing my stock into canning jars yet. It’s tricky business. From my research, pint size jars work best, but you have to leave enough head room for expansion. In other words, DO NOT fill your jars to the top. You’ll find a broken glass in your freezer. Not pretty. Just ask my friend, Traci. Tell ’em, Trac.

Do you make your own chicken stock? How do you store it? What meals do you use it in?

See you next Wednesday, for Part 3 of ‘From Scratch’, when I’ll be cooking up some yummy rice with my new chicken stock.

UPDATE: This blog was included in Sunday Night Soup Night blog carnival. Hop on over and check out some delicious healthy soup recipes. The pumpkin chestnut looks divine.

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About kathleen

I'm a stay at home chicken momma with 2 boys and a very understanding husband. In December of '09, we moved to our dream farm. I'm excited to try to become more self-sufficient. So far I have 1 rooster, 9 chickens, 2 goats (some babies on their way this spring), 1 llama, a dog, and a cat. Come along and join us, as we city-slickers figure out how to make our own homestead. You're sure to be entertained.
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38 Responses to From Scratch…Chicken Stock

  1. Nicole Timm says:

    Love this! It’s much easier than I thought 🙂 We buy whole chickens all the time, now I’m going to save my..ahem carcass (sorry the word kind of grosses me out)and make some stock! I feel as if I’ve been wasting all this time just tossing the carcass away lol 🙂 Thank you Kathleen!

  2. Connie says:

    Seriously. WHY are you so freakin’ amazing?!?! 🙂

  3. kathleen says:

    Connie,
    I don’t know…maybe the same reason YOU are. 🙂 We were just meant to be friends.

  4. Emily says:

    Now if I can just find a local not-too-expensive source for chicken. Which reminds me – how did your chicken harvesting go and are you still raising fryers? We have 5 chickens that are nearing the end of their peak egg production and are hoping to eat them. But I have never had any experience with getting them from the coop to the cooking pot.

  5. Stacey says:

    I totally agree with everyone else and say you make it look very easy!! I will have to try this soon (in the crock pot that is) as I do use chicken stock for several favorite meals! Thanks Kathleen!!

  6. kathleen says:

    Emily, yes that IS tricky finding chicken that isn’t too expensive. Our meat chicken adventure turned out well. Each family ended up with 11 chickens each. Of course, we would like to have more this next time, but are trying to still figure out the logistics. I would love to be able to sell some too, but I don’t think the fam is up to the maintenance it requires. We could do two batches of birds, but when I suggest it, there is a chorus of groaning around these parts. Hee. Hee. I’ll let you know if anything changes.

  7. kathleen says:

    I’m so excited to hear that some of you are going to try this!! My hope was you would see it’s simplicity and give it go.

  8. Hi Kathleen, thanks for stopping by my blog! Isn’t funny how we happened to post nearly identical posts at the same time? 🙂 Your chicken stock looks so lovely and rich! I host Sunday Night Soup Night, every Sunday, Fall through Spring. I’d love you to come and share this post, or any other soup/stock/chodwer recipes you have. Stop by any Sunday!

  9. kathleen says:

    Debbie, Thanks so much for the invitation to Sunday Night Soup Night. I’ve never done anything like that before. How does one join?

  10. If you go to my blog on Sunday (www.easynaturalfood.com) you will see the Sunday Night Soup Night post. There are instructions and information in the post. But if you scroll to the bottom of the post where it will say “Add your link”. Click on that and it will have 3 options: URL: (copy and paste the url of your stock post), Name: enter the name of your stock post (not your own name!!), Email: enter your email. Then you’ll be prompted to select an image from your stock post. Look forward to seeing you!

  11. kathleen says:

    Sounds fun. I’ll give it a go. Thanks again for the invite. I’m looking forward to getting more soup ideas.

  12. mjskit says:

    You make chicken stock almost exactly like me, using old vegetables from the crispy. It’s a great use for the celery that never gets used after one or two dishes. 🙂 However, I didn’t know that about the vinegar. Good to know! I’ll add that the next time. Thanks for much for your shout out on my soup! It’s really good and your stock would be great in it!

  13. kathleen says:

    Thanks for dropping by, mjskit! I love your blog. So many awesome recipes and your pictures are beautiful. The pumpkin chestnut soup looks almost too beautiful to eat. 🙂 Hey, about the aging vegetables, my friend Misty was telling me that after chopping veggies for other meals, she takes all the leftovers (carrot tops, leaves of celery, etc) and throws them into a freezer bag. Then when it’s time to make another batch of stock, she usually has enough veggies. I thought it was a clever idea. I also do this with the carcass sometimes. If you don’t have time to make stock the night you made your chicken, just freeze it and use it when you do. I thought it was pure genius.

  14. Wendy says:

    Here goes! The carcass is in the crock pot and the setting is on high. Thanks for the recipe.

  15. kathleen says:

    Ooooo. I can’t wait to hear how it comes out. Way to go! I wonder if you’ll be like me and wake up several times in the night feeling hungry because I can smell chicken cooking. 🙂

  16. Kecia says:

    I didn’t know about the vinegar part. I’ll have to try that next time. This is a great use for my crock pot. Can’t wait to try this next time. Thanks for the great tutorial. It always helps to see pictures.

  17. kathleen says:

    Kecia, Thanks so much for stopping by the farm. I love using the crockpot for this because I have a gas stove and I’m just not comfortable with it being on all night long. Come on back and let us know how it went with using the vinegar.

  18. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with Sunday Night Soup Night! I’ll be hosting weekly through fall and winter, so I’d love to see you again with your next soup/stock/chowder recipe.

  19. Wendy says:

    It’s out of the pot and in the freezer. Yes, the house smelled amazing all day (and night) and did make me hungry. I probably should have used more water, only ended up with 2-1/2 cups stock but it was very easy and much more flavorful than the stock from the grocery store. Now I just have to check out that “soup” blog and decide what to use it for. Yum! Thanks again, Kathleen.

  20. kathleen says:

    Wendy,
    Yay, for success! I’m sorry you didn’t end up with much. That’s a bummer. I can’t remember if your Pumpkin Soup calls for stock. It seems like it would be good.

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  24. Jennifer says:

    I do this, but I pressure can the stock in quart jars. So easy to pop open a jar when I need some. I don’t have the patience to wait for frozen stock to thaw out, I’m afraid. 🙂

  25. kathleen says:

    Jennifer,
    That sounds so much easier!!! I like it. Do you know if the nutrition level changes with pressure canning? I’ve not done much research on this yet.

  26. Jennifer says:

    I don’t know for sure. I would assume you would have some loss from the heat, and more losses from exposure to light. You can store your jars in the boxes they came in, if you want to protect the contents from exposure to light, but the losses from heat can’t be helped. On the other hand, stock has already been exposed to plenty of heat anyway, so I would think further losses would be minimal. It all depends on what’s in there and how vulnerable it is to those two factors (heat and light).

    I found this chart http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/processing – as you can see, there are significant losses simply from cooking at all, especially in vitamins. Not so bad a loss in minerals. Since the benefits of stock are going to come mostly from the minerals, I am thinking pressure-canned stock wouldn’t be too much different from frozen.

    Another useful link about nutrition and chicken stock: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/03/26/food-for-thought-health-and-nutrition-of-traditional-homemade-chicken-brothstock/

  27. kathleen says:

    Jennifer,
    That makes so much sense. Duh. My chicken stock is kept at a simmer for 24 hours; it can’t get much worse than that.:-) I ask because I bought a $30 pressure canner (it was used) this fall and then talked myself into returning it. Now, I wish I hadn’t. Ugh.

    Thank you for the links too. I’m looking forward to peeking at them.

  28. Jennifer says:

    I just have a 16 quart Presto canner that I bought from Walmart for about $60. Unless you are into serious large-scale canning, a small canner should be just fine. I rarely do anything more than 7 qts at a time, and frequently do batches of only 4 or 5 pints, so this is the perfect size for me. Not $30, sadly, but still, not too much more.

  29. kathleen says:

    Well, it looks like I may be in the market again. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing all the wonderful information.

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  32. shuhan says:

    very helpful tips! I actually set my crockpot on low if I’m going to do it for a full day actually. my mum who’s the queen of making stock (she still insists on doing it in a black claypot over a charcoal fire) says you have to keep the stock at a very low, bare simmer, but of course I’m a lot more flexible with my stock. as long as it’s homemade, with lots of love and time, it’s gotta be good for you (:

    http://mummyicancook.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/make-your-own-stock.html

  33. kathleen says:

    Mummyicancook,
    Wow! Your mom makes her stock over a charcoal fire??? That’s amazing. Is this charcoal fire in her house? I am so intrigued. If you have pictures, please share. 🙂
    I agree with you that no matter how you make it, it’s still good. When you set your crockpot on low, does the stock simmer?

  34. shuhan says:

    there’s a photo of it on my blog. yup, back home we have an outdoor kitchen. it’s just a small little one actually anyoen could probably set one up if they want. she does it more for flavour, but I’m guessing that slow-cooking over a low flame contributes to more than just flavour.

    yes it does, but at the abrest barest simmer. I turn it on high till it bubbles (couple of hours), then immediately turn to low for the rest of the time.

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