There are many benefits to making your own broth and I love to add it to almost everything we make! In this post, I'm going to focus on chicken broth but look for beef and others in the future!
I like to kill 2 birds with one literal stone so i'm going to tell you how to make broth and chicken at the same time :)
1. Place vegetables in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven, crockpot, or stockpot and add about 6 cups of water. This is a great time to use up any veggies that might be getting old or to use the scraps that you've been saving up just to make broth. I like to keep a baggie in my freezer and throw veggie scraps into it each time that I cook so that I have a stockpile when it comes time for making my broths! Typically, I use onion, garlic, celery, peppers, carrots, fennel, etc. and throw in anything else that might give us some added nutrients.
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Here is the start of my new broth veggie bag!
2. Now that I have my vegetables cooking, I simply place a whole chicken (skin and all) into my pot and then place the cover on and cook on medium low for around 8 hours. We buy organic, pasture raised chickens and I definitely would look at the source of your poultry before you go through all of the work of making broth. You can take the chicken out once it's cooked, harvest all of the meat for other meals and return the bones, skin, etc. back into your pot and add more water to fill the pot and continue to cook for another 8 hours or so. *Note: If you don't have a whole chicken and just have the bones, skin, etc. after cleaning it- throw all of that into your pot along with your veggies and cover with water- cook the same way :)
3. Once your broth is done cooking and developing all of its wonderful flavors, it's time to finish the process. First, I take a big colander and dump the entire pot into it with a large bowl underneath. If you have pigs, farm cats, etc. then this is a great meal to give them instead of throwing it away!
4. Now, take your broth and once again run it through a fine colander to get the remaining parts and pieces out.
5. Here you are! You now have a large bowl of gorgeous, nutritious chicken broth that you can use to add flavor and nutrients to many different dishes. If you have a large batch, I like to pressure can my jars and then store them in our cellar. This batch was a smaller one so I filled 1 quart and 2 pints that I will just store in my fridge because it's winter and I make a lot of different soups and comfort foods so I know this will be used up quickly! Some other great flavor tips are to use Young Living Essential Oils to add flavor and other amazing benefits to your food. In my broth, I've added 1 drop Thyme, 1 drop Black Pepper, and 2 drops of Lemon and it's amazing! I do this right before I pour it into the jars- now i'm supporting my Immune System even more with this extra pop of flavor!
You can also fill up a jar to keep in the fridge, and then use the remaining broth and fill up ice cube trays and put them in the freezer until they are solid. Pop them out and store in a baggie and simply add 1-2 cubes to whatever recipe that you want.
Before I pressure can my broths, I put the giant bowls of liquid in the fridge to cool. You end up with a bunch of fat that hardens on the top that you can then scoop off and put into another jar for frying foods, in place of butter. I bring my broth back to a boil, fill my hot, canning jars, and then place them in my pressure cooker for around 2 hours. Now, they are ready to be stored in our basement cellar along with all of our other nutritious, homemade canned goods that provide our family with healthy meals all year round!