While I was planning and preparing for this new adventure of homeschooling, I was also trying to stay focused on the whole Nourishment theme for this month.
My Stevia extract turned out well but really didn't work in my coffee. *sad face* It just didn't sweeten enough.
I did make chicken broth, though.
I do this a couple times a year. I know the canned stuff isn't that expensive but it isn't that healthy either. Besides I have this whole 'waste not, want not' mentality that's probably carried over from a previous life.
The Renaissance Man smoked a couple chickens in the smoker he bought for my birthday. *no I did not want a smoker for my birthday*
They were delicious...as always! So once he cut all the meat off them, I threw the carcasses and remains in a stock pot and covered them with water.
I do this like my great grandmothers probably did. I read a few farm wife blog posts years ago and incorporated suggestions into my own techniques.
Once I have my chicken and water simmering, I'll throw in veggie scraps.
Yes I said scraps. Onion and garlic peels, carrot scrapings, the ends of green beans, the woody parts of asparagus...pretty much anything I wouldn't cook up for my kids.
(And for all my Vegetarian Friends, you can totally do this with out the chicken. Especially convenient if you're prepping a lot of veggies for something else)
I add salt to leach the vitamins out of the vegetables and vinegar (only about 1/2 cup) to leach the calcium out of the bones.
I keep it on the stove top, simmering every day for a week. (I do turn it off at night)
Then every day I'll add more veggie scraps or left overs to the pot, what ever I'm fixing for that days meals.
I'll also add more water if it falls below the bones
(a couple hours is fine for a vegetable broth)
Root vegetables work best, but not really potatoes. They're too starchy. They dissolve and create a cloudy broth.
Beans, peas and corn work well but not so much lettuce.
Although greens and spinach are fine.
Celery is great but only for like the last hour of simmering, otherwise it adds a bitter taste.
Any kind of kitchen herbs can be added but I usually stick with the ones that go together or the ones I used on my chicken in the first place. Sage, rosemary, thyme or oregano, basil.
We really like garlic.
Every time I make it, it tastes a little different.
After a week of simmering in the salt and vinegar brine, almost everything is mush.
Even the bones will crumble which is really creepy....but kind of cool.
I will strain the broth into a pitcher with a fine mesh strainer. Sometimes, if it isn't too fatty, I'll save the remains to mix with dry dog food.
There's a lot of meat on a chicken carcass and my dog is skinny. *Waste not, want not*
The pitcher of broth goes into the fridge overnight.
This lets the fat harden on the top and any floaties to settle to the bottom.
The next morning I'll scrape off the fat crust and pour the liquid into freezer bags, label and freeze.
I have no use for that much chicken fat and it upsets my dogs stomach, so, sadly, it goes in the garbage.
I used to do quart size bags but then I'd have to thaw out 4 cups every time I need 1 cup and the bag would drip or it would get lost in the back of the fridge, so I switched to pint size freezer bags.
I've also discovered that because of all the extra stuff I put in it, its' almost like a concentrated version so where as a recipe may call for a cup of regular store bought broth, I can use 1/2 cup of my broth mixed with 1/2 cup of water and not loose any flavor.
*A few notes about home made chicken broth:
If the chicken is cooked prior to creating a broth or even if you simmer raw chicken bones all week like I do, the broth will be dark; not that pretty pale yellow of the canned variety.
Adding vinegar to leach out the calcium will make it slightly cloudy.
I think the rule of thumb is 3 months in the freezer, 3 days in the fridge but I've kept mine in the deep freezer for up to 6 months and in the fridge for a week.