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.


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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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