What super-food can you make for pennies, maybe even for free? Chicken broth is healthy, very simple to make, and supports your immune system. And did I say it’s inexpensive?
Whenever I make chicken for dinner – at least once a week – I remove the bones and put them in zippered freezer bags. The bags go right into the freezer.
Anytime I use onions or carrots or other soup-type veggies, the peels, tops and bottoms are saved in another zippered freezer bag. Celery leaves, onion skins, the ends of peppers, leftover tomato slices, garlic papers, and more are added to the “stash”.
When I have enough chicken bones and veggie scraps, or when the freezer is full, all the bags are emptied into the stockpot, and I add enough filtered water to cover the bones. I add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help draw calcium out of the bones. If desired you can add herbs and peppercorns. If I have leftover spaghetti sauce or salsa I’ll add that instead of the herbs. I usually slice a clove of garlic into the pot. I don’t add salt, so that I can add it when I use the broth in another recipe.
I bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer all day long. If any foam forms on top, I spoon it off and discard.
When it’s finished, I strain the solids from the broth, then run the broth a second time through muslin or cheesecloth. If you want an even richer, thicker stock, you can transfer the strained broth to a slow-cooker and continue to cook overnight with the lid ajar so it will cook down.
I prefer to refrigerate the broth overnight so I can remove the fat after it cools, but this step is optional. Either keep the broth refrigerated for up to five days, can it, or freeze it in zippered bags or freezer containers. I package mine in one-cup and two-cup portions. I prefer canning to freezing, since the bags take up a lot of room in the freezer. Canning the broth requires a pressure canner.
This chicken broth is not only free, since it’s made from what is essentially throwaway bones and scraps, it’s also sodium-free unless you decide to add salt. It’s thick and flavorful. It’s so much better for you than the thin stuff from the store that contains a high amount of sodium and other additives.
The above photo helps illustrate just how thick and gelatinous this broth is. Right out of the refrigerator, you can’t pour it, you have to scoop it out of the jar. What can you make with this broth? Soups, chicken stew, sauces and gravy, chicken’n’noodles, add it to casseroles and other recipes that call for stock or broth, use it to make delicious mashed potatoes or rice. You can drink a cup of warm broth to boost your immune system. The possibilities are truly endless. Do you make broth? Do you can it or freeze it? How do you use it?