Friday, January 9, 2009

“Stocking” Bird Bones

Wait. Don't throw out those bones! Even if its that low quality Costco rotisserie birds and especially if it is a good organic free range, grass fed bird. Make those bones into chicken stock. If you don't buy whole chickens much a great alternative is using chicken wings as they are mostly bones and less expensive. If you have an in with a chicken farmer you might just get them for free as they are often wasted when packaging chicken parts.

Homemade stock is so YUM, and you don’t have to be all fancy about it. I have no doubts that all those extra ingredients and steps listed in the very complex recipes make for better end results, but how much better? Not worth it. I feel the difference between homemade and store bought is a lot. Not only is the flavor beyond comparison, it is healthier, more economical and storage efficient (homemade stock is more concentrated). Use stock in all your gravies, sauces and soups. Storage got to be a problem…not enough freezer space, so now I can it. Sound daunting? It’s not. Seriously, it took me 10 minutes. Here are the steps:

1 bird carcass
3 carrots, cleaned and cut in half (no need to peel)
2 celery stalks, cleaned and cut in half
1 onion, peeled and quartered
12 cup water
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in pressure cooker, pressure on high for 3 hours. Natural release. Place a strainer in a pot both large enough for what’s in the cooker. Dump contents of cooker into strainer. Press with a spatula. Cool then throw away the solids. In a clean pot line a mesh strainer with fine cheesecloth. Dump liquid through second strainer. I like to pour this into a fat separator and let set a couple minutes before pouring it into my jars (4 pints), but this is optional, I usually only get 2 tablespoons of fat from the whole batch. From here you can either freeze or proceed to can. I fill my pressure cooker 1/3 full with water, place jars evenly spaced on a trivet and pressure the jars for 90 minutes, natural release. Once cooled, date and store! Fresh stock lasts only 2 days in the refrigerator so plan your storage option.

This is my quick and easy pressure cooker/canner for small jobs. It fits 4 pint jars. Leyse 8qt. electric pressure cooker.


  1. Hey Kara, So..I just noticed that I forgot the cheesecloth step. The jars are in my fridge ready to be frozen or canned. Is it a necessary step and can I do it while they're cold, if so? Oh and I don't own a cheesecloth, any other options? GREAT....I'm really prepared here. :)

  2. I like a clear broth without pieces of vegetable, chicken skin or other floaties. You can use a fine mesh strainer, a paper towel (some brands work better than others)or clean nylons next time hot or cold.

  3. Hey Kara, I thought I read that you said homemade chicken stock only lasts a couple days in the fridge. Is that so? And if so what if I cooked my quinoa with it - do I need to use up the quinoa in 1-2 days? Cause I'm having a hard time doing that! Same when I make a big pot of soup - I want to eat it for lunch for a few days but I'm worried about it spoiling. THANKS!

  4. It does sour when stored on it's own, but you have a good 5 days for the grains that are cooked in worries. Same with soup...5 days.

  5. i just roasted an organic free range chicken tonight and am going to make stock for the first time! how do i do it if i don't have a pressure cooker? do i just boil it for a longer time?

  6. barely simmer for 8 hours. Freeze what you are not using in the next couple days.


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