Food Waste Homemade Chicken Broth

Published on December 2nd, 2012 | by Mary Gerush

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Weekend Food Project: Making Homemade Chicken Broth

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Homemade Chicken Broth

I’m a DIY kinda’ girl. I’ve experimented with homemade cheese, making butter from cream, and crafting my own granola bars. But until recently, I had never made chicken broth from scratch.

Because I’m trying to reduce my food waste, and I use chicken broth almost every time I venture into the kitchen, I decided to give it a try. Not only is making your own broth simple, it’s tastier than store-bought, you know exactly what’s in it, you save money, and you find uses for all sorts of food scraps that would otherwise have gone to the landfill.

I started throwing random chicken bones — necks and backbones from whole chickens I cut up, wing tips, even carcasses from my roasted chickens — into freezer bags. Then one lazy Saturday, I went to work. For my first batch, I went with chicken alone — no veggies,  but you can toss a wide array of vegetables, herbs, and spices in with the bird to craft broth with your unique flavor profile.

Recipe For Basic Chicken Broth

Recipe adapted from Roasting: A Simple Art by Barbara Kafka

Ingredients

  • About 6 pounds chicken meat and bones from cooked or uncooked chickens
  • Water to cover by 3 inches

Directions

  1. If using a whole chicken carcass, cut it into manageably-sized pieces.
  2. Put the chicken parts in a large stockpot, and add water to cover by 3 inches.
  3. Cover the pot, and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat so the liquid is at a slow simmer.
  5. Cook for 6 to 8 hours. Skim the gross stuff from the top as the liquid boils, and add more water as needed to keep the level above the bones. (The more you skim, the clearer your broth will be.)
  6. Pour the broth through a sieve into a large bowl or pot, and let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate.
  7. Remove any remaining fat from the surface.

At this point, you can strain the broth again through a dense cheesecloth or other fabric for clearer broth. It will last in the refrigerator for a week, but I highly recommend freezing it in 16 ounce freezer-safe containers. (I bought a slew of them on Amazon to have on hand.) When you need chicken broth, it’s ready and waiting!

If you want to infuse your broth with other flavors (versus going with chicken alone), common additions to the pot include carrots, onions, celery, herbs, salt, and black peppercorns. And this technique is versatile — you can use it to make other broths, like turkey, beef, and vegetable. Use the broth in place of water when cooking rice, barley, or quinoa to amp up the flavor. Or let it serve as the base for a stellar soup or stew.

Have you made your own broths? How do you do it? What do you toss in the pot? Please share your techniques!

Image Credit: jasleen_kaur via flickr/CC



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About the Author

Hi all! I'm Mary Gerush - a recovering corporate worker bee turned good-farm-real-food advocate and writer who wants to help people understand what they're eating. I tend a tiny urban farm in Dallas, TX, and hope to scale up one day soon. Omnivore through-and-through, there's not much I love to eat more than a butter-basted grass fed steak fresh from a searing hot cast iron skillet. Follow me on , , and !



  • http://www.greenmomintheburbs.wordpress.com Jenn the Greenmom

    We are somewhat addicted to rotisserie chickens from Whole Foods ( $2 off every Tuesday) and buy them fairly frequently on the nights I just don’t have time to cook; we get two meals out of one bird usually, roast chicken the first night, and then chicken tacos the next.

    I always save the carcass and bones and toss them in the freezer. When I’ve gathered 3-4 chickenbodies I put them into the crockpot with whatever veggie scraps I’ve saved and a whole lot of water, let them cook overnight on low, and it makes the BEST chicken stock I’ve ever had. I’ll easily get 3 quarts of chicken stock every time I do this, and I use it all the time…Just save and freeze whatever bones of whatever meat you eat and save them till you have enough to make a good stock.

    Thanks for this post!

  • Ann

    Works great with a turkey carcass. I leave some of the meat on the bones and make my mom’s Turkey Noodle Soup.

  • Mary Gerush

    Ann and Jenn – thanks for the tips! This year for Thanksgiving, I pulled out turkey carcasses from last year. (Is that too long to save a carcass?) I made broth for this year’s Thanksgiving and it was great.

    Jenn, I love the idea of using the crockpot. I will give that a try next time. I appreciate the comments!

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