Many people (including me) use the terms homemade chicken broth and stock interchangeably. Some folks say they are different, some say they are the same. From what I have read, they are different.
My understanding of the difference:
Both homemade chicken broth and stock benefit from adding vegetables to the stock when you cook it. It is not required, but since I've started adding those veggies, my broth is soooo much nicer! I highly recommend giving it a try. Easy chicken stock (and yummy too).
Gather your supplies
Chicken pieces: Any chicken parts will do. I prefer to skin my pieces, but again, it is not necessary. Approximately 6 pounds will be enough for a batch in my large stock pot. (This is with meat on. If you have bones, you won't need as much.) I usually get at least 7 quarts out of this.
Vegetables and seasonings are optional. This could include 2-3 stalks of celery (chopped in large chunks), 2 onions (quartered), or 2-3 carrots (chopped in large chunks). OR if you have leftovers collected, use a large baggy full of veggie leftovers, onion skins, celery hearts, carrot ends/peelings, etc.
Place chicken pieces in stock pot. Fill with water. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables and seasonings if you are going to use them. Simmer until chicken is done, about 1 hour.
Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove chicken pieces. Let the chicken pieces cool until you can handle them well enough to remove the meat. Remove the meat from the bones and save for other uses. (It's great for chicken enchiladas, chicken casseroles, etc.)
Cut or break any large bones into shorter pieces if at all possible. (This might not be the case, and that's okay.) Be careful not to burn yourself. Return the bones to the stock pot. Don't be too fanatical about this step. If you are handling a thigh bone that won't easily break, it is not a big deal. Just toss it back into the pot. The purpose is to allow the water more access to the nutritious marrow in the bones.
Next, you have 2 options to cook the carcass and bones:
Remove chicken pieces and vegetables. Discard. Strain broth to remove any small bones and pieces left in the broth. I have a colander that I use. You can use cheesecloth if you want a very clear broth. I don't mind little bits, so the colander is good for me.
Now you have a nice, nutritious, homemade chicken broth for use in recipes. This can be frozen or canned.
Many people who are cutting back on fat will allow the broth to cool, so they can remove the fat. I don't bother with this step...but it is an option. Allow the broth to cool, and then place in the fridge to chill completely. The next morning, there will be a layer of fat floating on top. It is easy to remove that fat with a slotted spoon before storing your broth.
Save leftover chicken bones or carcasses and vegetables in your freezer until you have enough to make your chicken broth or stock. Keep a couple of freezer baggies reserved just for this. One for onion skins, carrot peelings, or celery stems and the other for chicken bones.
Melissa writes in with some extra tips...
"I save the scraps from veggies and use those instead of using fresh, whole veggies. So carrot peels and ends, onion skins and ends, the small pieces of garlic that are too difficult to peel to use, the ends of celery or the leaves when I'm making recipes where those aren't really practical to use, the stems from thyme and rosemary (I grow both in my garden and basement year round, so I'm always using fresh).
I keep them in a freezer bag in my freezer and when I make beef/chicken/lamb stock I use the scraps. Then I don't feel bad about throwing them away b/c they would have been thrown away anyway.
For vegetable stock I save all of the above and mushroom stems, leek tops, spinach that's no longer edible, small pieces of ginger, broccoli and cauliflower ends and asparagus ends. Again, when it's all done, I would have thrown them away anyway but this way they add a great flavor to my stocks before they get thrown away!"
Thank you, Melissa. I'd not thought of saving herbs and some of the other veggies you mention.
Gather your supplies:
Start by preparing jars and getting water in your canner heating. If you are not familiar with how a pressure canner works, check this page.
Pour hot broth into hot jars. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place on your lids and rings. Leave 1 inch headspace. Process using pressure canning instructions.
(Remember, always adjust for your altitude.)
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Page last updated: 10/2/2019.