After butchering all the chickens, Charlie saved the torsos for me. Do chickens have torsos? Or do I call it carcasses? Anyway, all the leftovers came to me. I’ve never made homemade chicken stock before, but it was time to learn. Turns out it’s an easy, stay-home-all-day job.
The recipe calls for 3-4 lbs of chicken. I doubled that because I was going to can it. Anytime I’m canning, I want to make it worth the time, especially when using the pressure canner. When I first purchased a little countertop scale, I was a little afraid I was wasting my money on something I’d rarely use. Turns out, I use it all the time. Farm life is measured in pounds, not tablespoons! Three torsos and necks = 7-8 pounds.
While the chicken starts boiling, I chopped the veggies and extras. Celery, onions, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Yep, the onions are from the garden. Then, everything gets dumped in the pot and simmers for 2 hours. (I read afterwards that some people prefer simmering for 4-6 hours, for stronger taste. I’ll try that next time.)
Once it’s all done simmering, the chicken and veggies are removed, and the rest of the broth is strained to get all the stuff out. I found this handy little cloth strainer and stand at a local farm store. It should come in handy with stock, cheese, and jelly.
Time to wait for the fat to float. This is going to take awhile, so it’s a good time to run to town. I have to laugh sometimes at how I organize my days. Errands are run at down times in the middle of projects. When I get home, I can skim the fat from the top of the broth.
Charlie and I bought some 1/2 gallon jars at the farm store, thinking I would can the stock in that size jar to be used for soups. Turns out it’s not considered safe to can stock in a jar that large. Good thing I always double check the safety guidelines. It would be better if I checked those guidelines BEFORE I was ready to can something. If I had been really lucky, I would have had quart jars and lids on hand, but I’m not quite that lucky. If I had checked guidelines before going to town, I could have brought home quart jars, but that didn’t happen either. Fortunately, I had some pint jars and lids available. I can make this work.
I only have 8 jars, so I have to freeze the rest, but that’s OK. It will be wonderful in Charlie’s rice pilaf.
Baby Riley is due any day now, and Carly is feeling VERY pregnant. I decided I needed to take her some chicken soup. Every single thing is straight from the yard. All she has to do is make it. How yummy is that!
**NOTE: Chicken stock needs to be canned in a pressure canner.
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