It’s been on my mind and my stove so why not put it out there?
We recently processed our pasture raised meat hens for our winter use. I had eight of the smallest deboned, and ground up. That left me with 8 chicken carcasses I for sure was not going to waste. Those birds were thanked for their service to our family and deserved every bit to be used. So two huge stock pots filled with bones, carrots, celery, leeks, onions, sea salt, pepper, sage, oregano, dill, and thyme. Then I cover the whole mix with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 6-7 hours. Your house will smell amazing by the way, no candle required. Strain and you can compost the waste or because the bones are really soft, some may go to the dogs. You can also dry out the bones and grind for bone meal for your garden.
Everyone does it different but one thing that is non negotiable is salt. Not enough and it will taste like dirty dishwater. I recently bought a 50lb bag of sea salt and my husband was like “What the actual Jennifer …..??”I was like “trust me.” ( He snorted. That statement is hit and miss with me.)
Stock, soup base, broth – regardless of what you call it, it’s so good for us. A cup of bone broth will boost your immune system, supports the production of anti-aging molecules, helps digestion, gut health, and joint mobility, keeps your collagen strong-the list goes on . So sipping one anytime is good, but in the winter it’s fantastic. Why do you think chicken soup is always offered for a cold?
So what to do with it after you make it?
If I’m in a rush and have made it, after it has cooled and I’ve strained it, I pour it into mason jars 3/4 full and freeze. It’s easy to take out a few jars to thaw in the morning. This batch I will be pressure canning. No room in the freezer for big batches like this. Bone broth can’t be water bath canned, it has to be pressure canned to be shelf stable.
You can do this even with cooked rotisserie chickens from the store after you are done with them. It’s a way to get more value, and nutrition from your food.
I also save veggie scraps and freeze them in a bag to chuck into the stock pot. It saves waste, adds great flavor, and reduces cost.
If I have some smaller carcasses and don’t have time to make stock (because honestly this farm doesn’t run itself) I will freeze them and just keep adding bones to them until I have enough for a big batch.
Making broth itself doesn’t really take too much time. It just simmers all day. It’s the pressure canning that takes more time.
We can grab these all year round to heat and serve, or use in soups, and other dishes. It becomes a bit like gold though-don’t you dare waste it! It’s superior in taste to anything store bought. And when we’ve made it ourselves from raising the animal to the canning, we appreciate every golden drop.
From my family to yours,