Homemade Chicken Stock

I bet you thought it would be challenging to make your own chicken stock huh? Yeah, me too. But if you’re buying anything organic, you know there’s a premium price tag attached to the word. It pained me to throw out any part of the organic roasters I’m buying, so I looked into it.

Now whenever I roast a chicken, I freeze the scraps, including the skin and carcass. The next time I roast one, I combine those scraps with the scraps I’ve saved in the freezer and make a batch of stock. As it turns out, there’s no challenge to it at all. In fact, it is so easy, and the results are so superior to anything you’ll find on the grocery store shelf, you’re going to wonder why you didn’t do this before.

Chicken Stock BeforeJust put your chicken scraps, bones and all, into a stock pot. ( Trust me. Don’t add the organ meats.)

I toss in a handful of organic carrots, some celery, a halved onion or two, and some salt and pepper to taste. I don’t add any other seasonings. That way I can use the stock in any dish, and season it as the recipe requires. In fact, you don’t even have to add the vegetables, but IMO, they add depth to the flavor.

Anyway, if prepping and combining all of the the ingredients takes you more than 10 minutes, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t bother to chop, mince or dice anything. It’s all going to get thrown out in the end. Just take a vegetable brush to the veggies, cut them in half and call it done.

Add enough water to cover everything and let it simmer for about 6 hrs. Strain it to remove the solids, and poof!, you’ve got chicken stock. I told you it was easy. And the kewl part is, you know exactly what’s in it. No additives, no preservatives, no “natural” flavoring.

chicken_stock_afterRefrigerate it, skim off the fat, and it’s time to either freeze it, or can it. I choose to can it for a couple of reasons: 1) I don’t want to waste valuable real estate in the freezer and 2) it’s more convenient to have it on hand in liquid form, no thawing required.

Non-acidic foods like this require a pressure canner. I’m not going to go into the details of proper canning methods, but you can find instructions all over the ‘net if you need them. For those of you with some canning experience, the pints require 20 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure. Quarts require 25 minutes.

Worth noting:

  1. Unless you use cheesecloth, you’ll never strain all of the ground black pepper out of the stock. If that bothers you, use peppercorns instead.
  2. The stock can actually be made in about an hour if you use a pressure cooker to make it. I haven’t tried this method yet. You can research the specifics.
  3. Many people use vegetable scraps instead of fresh veggies. They freeze their onion skins, carrot peelings, etc. and pull them out to add to the stock. Personally, unless they can be cleaned somehow beforehand, the thought of tossing in onion skins gives me the heebee-jeebees. Of course it is possible that I am just a tad obsessed with using a vegetable brush.


Tomato Powder

Tomato PowderPretty, isn’t it? It’s the end product of four trays of fresh, ripe tomatoes that I sliced, dehydrated, then ran through the coffee grinder.

If you’ve never made tomato powder, there are a couple of things worth noting. #1 Dehydrate your tomatoes until they’re crispy and #2, let them cool completely before you grind them. If you don’t, and they gum up your coffee grinder, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’ve got my second batch in the dehydrator as I write this, and the tomatoes have just begun to ripen here, so there should be several pints in the pantry before too long.

You know what this means right? Organic tomato soup all winter long. How kewl is that?

Tomato Soup
Mix, then heat:
1 c water
1/2 c milk
1 Tbls tomato powder

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Homemade Glass & Window Cleaner, it’s Easier Than You Think

If I had a dime for every time I had to clean dog snot off the windows, I’d be independently wealthy, posting this from a white sandy beach in Tahiti, drinking something exotic from a coconut shell with a little paper umbrella in it.

I’ll admit that I’ve gone through a lot of commercial window cleaner in my time.  It’s funny how we tend to believe that if it’s not dyed, scented, doesn’t lather or produce suds, it can’t possibly work. But about four years ago I discovered that not only do some homemade cleaners work, they may actually work better, without using harsh chemicals.

Making your own window cleaner is economical and easy, using four ingredients that you already have on hand.  Honest.  You need just;

  • 1 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp of white vinegar
  • 2 or 3 drops of liquid dish soap

Just pour these four ingredients into a clean spray bottle and give it a quick shake.  See.  I told you it was easy.  And you made it for mere pennies.

This works great on windows, mirrors, chrome, even ceramic tile.  For a streak free shine on windows and mirrors, spray it on, then wipe it dry with crumpled newspaper.

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  • Published: Aug 26th, 2008
  • Category: groceries
  • Kewl Comments: None

True Lemon vs The Lemon Wedge

Okay, so we all saw that segment on Primetime (or was it 20/20?) about the nasties they found when they tested the lemon wedges that are served in restaurants all over the country. (If you didn’t see it, let’s just say they discovered a cauldron of bacteria, including…… gasp …… fecal bacteria.)

Next to coffee, a glass of ice water with lemon is my beverage of choice. To be honest, I was perfectly content not knowing that I was quite possibly consuming enough bacteria to kill a pony. But after watching that segment I just couldn’t lose the mental image of a turd floating in my glass.

Then, somewhere in my online travels, I came upon an offer for a sample of True Lemon Crystallized Lemon. It comes in single packets that can be carried in your pocket or purse. This stuff is pure citrus heaven. Not only does it taste like a genuine lemon, it has zero calories and zero carbs. And If you like variety, they make True Lime and True Orange too.

I’ve had no luck finding it locally, but you can look for it in the baking aisle of your local grocers. Sometimes, just to keep you on your toes, it’ll be in the powered drink mix section.

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