Use dem bones!
We talk a lot about Reuse, Recycle, Restore and Renew around our home… I have a new challenge. Use dem bones!
Many of you, including myself, use a very costly supplement called Glucosamine for helping to maintain and repair cartilage in your joints. Have you ever wondered where Glucosamine came from? Bones! Do you have any idea how many nutrients are in bones? Why throw something out that is not only good for you but at the same time adds so many flavors to ordinary recipes that call for stock.
Homemade stock is something anyone can make for pennies, and it is far superior to anything you can buy. I just cut up a whole chicken for dinner, as usual, I set the back aside. Let’s just admit that there is so little meat on a back it is hardly worth preparing. But, it is excellent to use for stock. I usually do one of two things, if my time is limited, I stick the uncooked chicken back in a Ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer. Then when I have several saved up, I will throw them into a stock pot, fill it with water, season it with what I have on hand. Suggestions for seasoning: salt, whole pepper corns (3 or 4), a couple stalks of clean celery, a carrot or two, maybe a chunk of onion or a very small clove of garlic. I have even added a quartered apple for a GREAT flavor. YOU are in control of the flavors! Bring your pot to a boil, then bring it down to a simmer, let it simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let it cool for a bit. Strain the stock through a screen sieve and store. If you are using it within a week, you can stick it in the fridge. For longer storage, fill plastic or glass jars, leaving at least a ½ inch head space, and stick in the freezer.
TIP: Freeze the stock in ice cube trays. When frozen empty them into a freezer bag and store in the freezer. This method is great when you want to use just a little stock or even just warm up a hot cup of broth for a cold morning! Before you freeze your stock measure how much liquid your ice cube tray individual cubes hold. That way if your recipe only calls for ½ cup of stock, and you have premeasured your “cubes”, you know just how many to throw in the pot.
If you have a pressure canner, you can the jar and store on your pantry shelf. Last Thanksgiving, we roasted two large turkeys. When all the meat was picked to the bone, I cut the carcass up to fit into two large stock pots, seasoned and let simmer for a few hours. When all was done I canned 18 quarts of turkey stock. Again, this was for something most people just throw out!
If you are someone that uses rotisserie chicken, as many I know do, SAVE THAT CARCUSS! After you have taken all the meat off of the bones, break the bones up enough to put in a stock pot. Fill with water and season to your liking and voilá…you have homemade stock with what you’re probably would have throw away!