For many of us, there’s not much more nostalgic or comforting than a delicious bowl of chicken noodle soup. Condensed soups, and even higher-quality commercial canned soups, can hardly compare to the taste of the homemade stuff. And if you didn’t know it already, there are many health benefits to homemade stock as well. It’s so much better than bullion!
The good news is that making your own stock is simple, delicious, and almost free (once you’ve bought the bird, of course). It takes a few minutes to get it started, and maybe another 15 minutes to strain it and store it at the end- but that’s a small price to pay compared to purchasing stock at the store.
You will need:
- Chicken bones (or turkey bones)
- Salt & pepper
- Optional: Apple cider vinegar (this is my favorite brand but any kind will do- or make your own!), vegetables, seasonings, or other chicken parts- the neck, the heart, etc.
- Put chicken bones (and parts, if using) in a large pot or crock pot. Cover with water. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar (this draws out the minerals in the bones into your stock).
- Add salt, pepper, seasonings, and vegetables. I usually throw in at least carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. They can go in whole since they will cook down to mush anyway.
- Turn on the heat. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer 2-3 hours or more on the stove top, or overnight in your crock pot.
- Let cool. Strain the solids out, pressing on the bones and veggies to squeeze out every last drop of goodness into your stock. My stock often becomes cloudy with veggie pulp, but I’d trade a clear stock for more nutrition any day.
- I do NOT skim the fat, because there’s so much good stuff for you in the fat. (Not to mention the flavor!) But if you really feel a need to, now’s the time to do it.
- Pour the stock into freezer containers, label, and freeze. Or, alternatively, use your pressure cannerto preserve the stock. It takes a little longer at the outset, but I like it because I don’t have to thaw my stock before using it. It’s revolutionized the convenience level of home cooking for me. 🙂
Eat up. You can feed your family in feast or famine on frugal, substantive, homemade stock. Have you made your own stock? Have a favorite variation? Let me know so I can try it!
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