Taking & Making Stock:
A frugal homemaker will not waste her provisions. If you can purchase a good quality whole local chicken for half the price of already cut up portions, buy the whole bird. Learn to cut up the chicken yourself and freeze or use immediately. Once the back bones have been cut from the bird, you can easily wrap them and freeze for later use. Today was the day to prepare for the autumn and winter meals by making homemade chicken stock. I used about seven back portions including the necks to make my broth. Other ingredients added to enrich the flavor and nutrition were fresh carrots, celery, onions and herbs, as well as dried garlic slivers, black peppercorns and a smidgen of sea salt.
Today's batch should last well into winter. The next stock will be made from a turkey carcass after Thanksgiving dinner. Yesterday I took inventory of my freezer and pantry supplies and found only two jars in the freezer, and three in the basement pantry.
I prefer the taste of homemade stock from the freezer, however, it takes up quite a bit of space. For some of our needs, I pressure can it in quart size jars for longer shelf life. This frees up valuable freezer space and ensures we have some for year round use.
To make chicken stock:
Use your largest stock pan. Put seven to eight frozen chicken backs and neck pieces in pan. Add several whole onions cut in quarters; onion skin will impart a nice warm color, four large carrots, and three or fours stalks celery. Add your favorite herbs (mine are oregano, rosemary, thyme and black peppercorn) and a few teaspoons of salt (this is not much salt ... you don't want the stock salty). Fill pot with water a few inches shy of the top. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer (covered) for three to four hours or until all the chicken meat falls off the bones. Cool the stock and remove chicken and veggie pieces. You can pick through the meat and set aside. Strain the cooled broth several times and skim the fat. Pour into clean jars leaving a few inches of head space for expansion during freezing. Store in the deep freeze after the liquid is completely cool. Will last for about twelve months.
With any chicken meat you remove from the bones, place in a freezer safe container and cover with some of the broth. This will make a quick addition when you want to make chicken soup this winter.
I feed the cooked veggies to my dog mixed with her dry food over the course of a week.