Well I finally needed to free up some freezer space. Over some time I have been collecting chicken backs to make some stock. I ended up having 2 gallon freezer bags filled; about 8lbs of chicken carcass. I have only made chicken stock one time before this, but was very pleased with how it turned out. The recipe that I used was out of Ball Blue Book: Guide to Preserving book. If you do not have this book in your collection, I will post the recipe below. Wasn’t sure if I was ready to pull out the canner quite yet, but I did it regardless. It needed to be done and sooner is better than later.
Ready? Set? Let’s get to it…
Chicken Stock (page 63)
Yield: about 8pints or 4 quarts
1 (3-4#) chicken, cut into pieces4qt water
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions; quartered
2 bay leaves
*First of all, sorry for poor pics – my Mom still has my camera and my cellphone is not for picture taking 🙂
Now I don’t use a whole chicken. As I said before, I save my chicken backs and use them. Once thawed out, I measure the chicken – I had just under 8# – so I doubled the above recipe and of course, changed it up a bit.
You’ll want to combine the chicken and water in a large saucepot; bring to boil. I used a 12qt stockpot and a tad over 7qts of water. Even at that, it was filled to the top! Once brought to a boil, I had to skim the top off with a spoon and then add remaining ingredients.
Reduce heat; simmer 2 hours or until chicken is tender. I had excess veggies to use up so I ended up using 7 celery stalks, 2 carrots 4 medium onions, 4 bay leaves, pepper, and small dash of salt…. we didn’t have peppercorns and we rarely use salt.
When your time is up, or chicken is tender, remove from heat; skim off foam. You’ll want to remove the chicken (reserve it for something else if using a whole chicken). Strain stock through a sieve or several layers of cheesecloth. Now if your skimmer, like mine, was taken by mistake by your kids as a sword and in return lost forever, here’s another option… I personally scooped out what all I could with a slotted spoon and then strained the rest of the stock thru a splash guard. The spoon got all the big stuff while the splash guard caught all the small stuff and left over fat.
Now you have stock – but you’re not done yet!
Allow stock to cool until fat solidifies; skim off fat. Bring stock back to a boil in large saucepot. Ladle hot stock into hot jars, leaving 1″ headspace. Adjust two piece caps and process pints 20min/quarts 25min at 10 pounds in a steam pressure canner.
Now you’re done with several jars of delicious homemade chicken stock to use!