Monday, February 1, 2016

Homemade Chicken Stock & Broth -- Trim Healthy Mama Recipe

So what's the difference between stock and broth? Aren't they interchangeable? No. It's all about the seasoning. Stock is what you get from simmering the scraps of the meat, along with any vegetables you throw in. Broth is made when you add herbs and spices to season the stock.

Much of my cooking the last few years has involved various forms of soups and stews. When you've got a good broth base, a little bit of food can stretch a long way in a hearty soup. At first, I'd buy cans of broth---but when I was buying eight or more cans per meal, storage became an issue. Then I switched to bouillon cubes or granules---but the additives made me nervous and I had little control over the flavor. Last year, I started making my own stock and found it to be the least expensive, most flavorful, and healthiest option I'd tried. In fact, I spend just pennies every time I make a huge stock pot full, as I use scraps* that I've saved in the freezer.

Homemade Chicken Stock
Chicken, Vegetable, & Herb Scraps (frozen or thawed---doesn't matter)
3-4 bay leaves
splash of vinegar
large stock pot

Making your own stock is so simple that I feel a little silly writing this out. Still, it's something I didn't start doing until my mid-30s so I've got to assume this information will be valuable! So basically, just put your chicken, veggie & herb scraps, splash of vinegar (to draw out more nutrients from the chicken carcass) and bay leaves in the pot and fill it with water within 3 or 4 inches from the top. You don't have to cut anything up---just put it in there frozen, if you'd like. Put the pot on a back burner to boil. Once you've got a good boil going, turn it down to simmer and leave it for several hours. You'll know it's done when you've lost a few inches of water and the water has turned a beautiful golden color.

I use two straining methods to remove the scraps from the broth. I use my vegetable colander for the first straining, gently pouring the stock, a little at a time, through the colander and into a roasting pan. I throw the scraps away at this point, and then I clean out the stock pot and pour the mixture back into it---this time using a fine mesh sieve to get out the smaller stuff.

Now you can bag it in quart size bags and freeze, or preserve it in jars with a pressure canner. I'm thinking I'll start saving plastic food containers to reuse, but for now I use quart size bags. I usually get 5-6 quarts of stock each time I make this. I stand them up inside a baking pan and let them freeze, then I retrieve my baking pan and I'm good to go.

Using the stock is simple...just remember to thaw first!

When you're ready to use it as a broth base, add your own blend of seasonings. Some that we love include: salt, pepper, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, basil, and marjoram. I don't add any extra salt or seasonings when I'm making the stock because I don't always know what I'm going to use it for. This also helps me not over-salt the soup as I don't have to remember whether or not I salted each batch.

*A note on scraps:

Chicken: Oftentimes, I pick up a rotisserie chicken from Walmart to use in chicken taco salad or our favorite creamy chicken soup. If I go during the right time of day, I can get one from the day before at half price (about $2.50). I save the bones and skin from these in the freezer in a gallon-size freezer bag until I have saved up enough vegetable scraps to make the broth. Of course, you can always just pick up some fresh chicken on sale---but be sure to buy it bone-in and boil for awhile to get all the important nutrients out of the bones.

Vegetables: We always have a simple vegetable tray made up to serve with lunches. Usually just carrots and celery, with a separate bowl of cucumbers. When the carrots and celery start to dry out or turn a little brown at the edges, I put them in the freezer bag with the chicken bones. Onion scraps often come from leftovers on hamburger night (tomatoes, too) or from the other half of the onion when a recipe only calls for a small bit (this is becoming rarer---ha!).

Herbs: use stems and "less fresh" herbs from your garden.

Once you get in the habit of saving scraps, you'll find that there are actually lots of things you'd normally throw away that can be saved for a soup base or even a casserole.

Thanks for visiting the Homemaking Party! Have a beautiful week!

Looking for more great Trim Healthy Mama Recipes? Try these! 
Got one to share? Let me know and I'll add it to the list.

THM Lunches & Dinners

Creamy Tomato Basil Chicken
Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl
Spaghetti Squash Casserole (No Pasta Spaghetti)
20 Squash Recipes
Baked Spinach and Pepperjack Chicken

THM Breakfasts

List of THM Breakfast Ideas

Chicken Ranch Omelette

THM Treats
Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy

THM Misc.
Homemade Ranch Dressing
Make Your Own Chicken Stock & Broth
Zesty Burger Spread

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  1. This is so nice! Thanks for sharing this recipe and for always inviting me to come over here! Blessings

  2. Fantastic party, as usual! Thanks for hosting :)

  3. What a wonderful post! I pinned it, as it has so much great information that I do not want to lose or forget! You are such a dear blessing, sweet Sarah! I love and appreciate you and all you do for us here. :) Have a blessed day in Him!

  4. Thank you so much for hosting! Have a lovely week.

  5. I love to make my own broth! It is so good. Thanks for hosting!

  6. I like your new "digs"!! Great blog name too...! :)

    Thanks for the party, and for sharing the stock making tips!

  7. I love your blog! Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop and I always make my own Chicken Stock!

  8. We make our stock pretty much the same way. Frozen scraps and veggies, although I have never tried vinegar in mine. I must try it next time. Thanks for sharing at No Place Like Home.


  9. Thanks for sharing this inspiration. I make stock quite often and keeps it in the freezer. You just never know when you will need it! I also save left over veggies in the freezer to add to soups, stocks and what ever.

  10. I will take 2 quarts to go please! I have got to make some, it looks delicious and so much better than canned.

  11. I found this on So Much at Home and I was like wow I am not the only one making all this stock and freezing it. I do a whole chicken in the crock-pot and and get about a gal. Ziplock (that hasn't had any water added its just all chicken juices)when I am done

  12. Oh, I had to giggle at your little one blow-drying the chicken stock {{smiles}} I must say that's a clever idea and I will have to remember that in case I forget.

    Than you for the recipe and thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I read each one of them and love to respond back to those who visit! Please consider signing up for EMAIL NOTICES so you'll have a reminder of our weekly HOMEMAKING PARTY---and more! Have a wonderful day!

Mrs. Sarah Coller

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