I don’t know about you, but we use A LOT of chicken broth in our house. Long gone are the days when we would stick a boullion cube in some water, that just doesn’t cut it any more for us. Don’t worry though, we don’t judge if you use boullion… my mom uses it too! However, we realized that we get a better nutritional return on our investment when buying chicken broth or making our crock-pot chicken broth instead.
At the moment, we have about 6 boxes of chicken broth in our pantry. When it comes to sticking to a grocery budget, that stuff can really add up. In order to help our budget out just a tad, I am trying to make chicken broth more often. This also means we get to eat chicken more often. Yum!
We also have more control over what is put into our chicken broth. Unfortunately for us, we haven’t been able to make the switch to local, pastured chickens yet. Once that happens, or once we’re able to have our own (YAY!), we’ll be able to get even more nutritional value from our homemade chicken broth!
I just save our chicken carcasses and any bones that weren’t knawed on by our children, and store them in a large bowl with a lid in our freezer. When the bowl is full, I know that we have enough bones to fill the crock-pot!
Did you dump your bones into your crockpot? Great! Now comes the fun part!
Well, you could just stop right there, maybe add some salt and pepper, cover it with water and call it good. ….but that wouldn’t be much fun.
I like to see what veggies I have in my fridge and what herbs I have available.
For this particular broth, I ended up putting in some:
Apple Cider Vinegar (about 2TBSP to help get the nutrients out of the bones)
Celery (Those leafy parts are great for broth!)
Onion (I like to leave the skins on, although some people say it affects the taste)
Carrots (Toss them in whole or cut them in half)
Garlic (Because everything needs garlic)
(I was able to get the herbs from my garden! …before it got cold again)
Your crock-pot should now be even more full than it was, but we still want to be able to get the lid on.
All you have to do it is cover it all with water as well as you can.
Turn it on high and leave it for about 8 – 12 hours. I put mine in around dinner time and left it overnight. You can also probably leave it on low – whatever you’re most comfortable with. You can even let it cook longer than 12 hours.
That’s what I love about cooking. You can play around with it and find what works for you!
….especially when it comes to something like broth!
Once it’s cooked to your satisfaction, it’s time to turn the crock-pot off and let it all cool down a bit. It’s okay if it’s still warm, we just don’t want to melt any bags or break any jars.
Next you remove all of the bones, veggies, and bits and pieces floating around in your broth. The big stuff isn’t too difficult to get out, I used a slotted spoon. For the little, floaty bits, it’s easiest if you have some sort of fine mesh strainer, or maybe even a cheese cloth. I couldn’t find my cheese cloth, so my brilliant husband suggested we use a cloth napkin (Hey look! Another use!). The napkin ended up working really well.
You could strain it all out at once into a large bowl, or do what we did and start filling your jars before all of the fine bits were perfectly strained out. The last jar was the most clear thanks to my hubby’s creative thinking!
Finally, you fill your freezer bags or clean mason jars with your broth. Just remember to leave a good amount of head space in your jar if you’re going to freeze it. The broth will expand when it freezes, and nobody likes a mess in the freezer! You can also seal your jars in a pressure canner. They’d be all ready for your pantry, and you wouldn’t have to worry about bursting broth in the freezer! Unfortunately you’d have to go to another source for that information, since we haven’t done any canning yet….
All that’s left to do it label your jars or bags and you’re all set to store them!
….or use them. Tehe!
Mmm…. Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup with homemade chicken broth!
Enjoy Your Broth and Happy Experimenting!
Do you have any tips or tricks for making broth?