One of the first things you should know as a homesteader is how to make broth. Broth comes in very handy and is chock full of good stuff! It’s super easy to make and honestly you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner. First things first, in order to make a great stock you do have to save some things first. Remember the point of a homesteader is to use as much of what you have so you don’t end up throwing away “money.”
When you buy veggies you always cut off the bottom and then most of the time the tops of celery, carrots, onions. Save those. Scrub them up a bit so they aren’t super dirty and place them in a freezer bag marked broth scraps.
When you buy a whole chicken at the store, thighs, or drum sticks you also want to save the bones. I usually use a whole chicken because I can cook it in a crock pot and peel off the meat. The other bones like thighs and legs you have people usually eating off them..and well eww 😕 Once you peel all the meat off the chicken carcass then you can put that in freezer bags also if you don’t have time to mess with it right then.
Ok so now you have your veggie scraps and you have chicken bones. That’s all you need, well sorta 🙂 (BTW you can use any bones…pig, cow, deer it just makes different flavors of broth and on those you want to braise the meat on the bones first in the oven then add them. I prefer chicken stock to all others for some reason so that is what we will make today.)
If you don’t have a crockpot..buy one..seriously. The crockpot is the busy homesteaders friend. Take your crockpot and add your veggie scraps, about a handful is good. Next add 1/4 c of apple cider vinegar. Believe me the vinegar makes the difference. The reason we add this is because vinegar is an acid. It will “eat away” at the bones and pull out the calcium and other minerals in the bones. Next add your bones and fill the crockpot full of water. Then add a bay leaf, and some spices. I like to use pepper, parsley, garlic powder, thyme, basil, and sometimes italian seasoning. You need to add salt so add in about 2 tsp of it and wait to add more till later. Now the easy part..let that cook on low for 24 hours. So make your dinner, peel your chicken, put it all in the crock and by that time tomorrow you will have stock to make a soup for dinner! 😎 Cool huh! You can do this more than once on your chicken bones but I have found that the flavor isn’t there as much with a second batch.
(Some people add chicken feet to gel their stock…I figure one of two things..1. eww chicken feet and I just can’t bring myself to use them and/or 2. You are shopping at a store for chicken at this point because you are just starting out on this venture and they don’t sell chicken feet 😛 )
So let’s break it down into a recipe shall we?!
1 chicken’s worth of bones
1 handful or so of veggie scraps
1/4 c. Apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt (to start with)
1 tsp of pepper (to start with)
2 tsp of thyme
2 tsp basil
2 tsp parsley
(italian seasoning or any other spices of your choice)
Place chicken bones, apple cider vinegar, and veggie scraps into a crockpot. Fill with water. Place in spices. Cook on low for 24 hours. Stir and taste, add salt and pepper to finish it off to your taste. When finished Strain off the broth, place in freezer containers and freeze or use right away. ( I freeze them in 2 cup increments because most recipes will call for 2 cups.)
There you go..now after your first batch you should feel like a true homesteader 😀