A while back I wrote a post detailing how to make your own chicken or turkey stock using simple, nourishing ingredients. Your leftover bird bones, vegetable scraps, and some water are all you really need to make a delicious, sustaining health-food.
But some of you may be wondering what you’re going to do with that gigantic pot full of stock. Sure, you can always make soup, but how do you save it for later? I mentioned in my original post that you can easily freeze or pressure can your stock. Let’s talk about how to do each.
How to Freeze Stock
Freezing stock is pretty self-explanatory- simply pick your freezer-safe container and pour in the stock, making sure to leave enough room for expansion as the liquid solidifies. A couple considerations for freezing:
- Use conveniently sized containers for future recipe usage. I often freeze in quart-sized plastic containers for soup making, as many recipes call for about 4 cups chicken broth.
- You may want to consider freezing stock in a muffin tin, then popping out the stock cups and storing them in a freezer bag. Standard muffin tins will hold about 1/3-1/2 cup of stock, which is perfect for adding to sauces, stir fries, cooking liquid, or to replace some of the water when cooking rice.
- I have used glass jars to freeze stock in many a time, and I have accidentally broken said glass more times than I would like to admit. Expansion during freezing can crack the glass if you don’t leave enough head space. Quick temperature changes can do it too. And there have been times when I’ve fumbled and dropped the jar out of the freezer- which obviously doesn’t turn out too well. If you like to use glass, do take precautions to avoid such sad scenarios. 😉
How to Pressure Can Stock
Pressure canning takes a little more time upfront than freezing, but I love the convenience of having shelf-stable stock sitting in my pantry for immediate use. I use a Presto pressure canner and it has never failed me. (Always double check the manufacturer’s instructions before pressure canning.)
- Clean and heat your mason jars, lids, and rings. I heat my jars in the oven at 200 for about 20 minutes, and heat my lids and rings in hot (not boiling) water on the stovetop.
- Heat your chicken stock to boiling.
- Prepare your pressure canner with the manufacturer’s recommended amount of water.
- Ladle your hot chicken stock into hot, clean jars, leaving 1″ headspace. Wipe the jar rims with a clean towel and adjust lids and rings.
- Place jars of stock in pressure canner. Process pint jars for 20 minutes and quart jars for 25 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure. *Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for canner assembly, pressure release, pressure gauge monitoring, cooling time, etc. Failure to do so could result in serious injury!*
- After removing jars from canner, allow to cool and wait for lids to seal. (They are really hot for a long time afterwards- I’ve caught my stock still boiling a couple of hours after coming out of the canner!) The next day, remove rings and wipe jars clean with a damp cloth.
Ta-da! You now have beautiful jars of stock just waiting to be opened for soups, stews, sauces, and whatever other cooking projects you can dream up.
While I will freeze small batches of stock, pressure canning is my preferred method of preservation for larger batches. The convenience of being able to open it without thawing first just can’t be beat! (Even better is pressure canning homemade soups for later consumption. Another post on that later. 🙂 )
How do you like to preserve your homemade stock?