Making your own chicken broth is so easy, I can’t imagine why anyone would buy that stuff in a can. When you make your own, you can control how much salt you use and there is no need to add any preservatives. You can store chicken broth in the refrigerator up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.
I make chicken broth 2 ways. I either cook a whole chicken in a huge pot of salted water, or boil a chicken carcass. Both make great broth, it just depends on my original purpose for the meat.
Most recipes for chicken broth use lots of vegetables. Then, at the end “discard vegetables”. I can’t bring my self to throw out perfectly good veggies, even to the chickens. If I have veggie scraps, like celery tops, laying around, I do throw them in. Otherwise, my broth is totally veggie-free.
Adding veggies to the cooking water adds flavor. I use my broth in other recipes, so adding flavor isn’t important to me. I can do it later. If you want to drink the broth straight-up & need some flavor, add carrots, onions, garlic or even parsley.
I’ve always thought I was making broth because I was cheap. Turns out, this stuff is good for you. It’s a great source of calcium.
Now that you know “why” let’s get into the “how”:
Broth with whole chicken:
If you’re using a fresh, whole chicken, start with a huge pot. Rinse your chicken (that you bought from your local farmer, right?). Set chicken in a huge stew pot and cover with water. Sprinkle in some salt. I don’t like the taste of salty food. One teaspoon of salt per quart of water is fine with me.
Turn on the heat. Bring water just to a boil. Put a lid on the pot. Lower the heat to low and simmer for a couple hours. The lower the heat, the longer he needs to cook. The longer he cooks, the better he will taste. Don’t boil your chicken too long at high heat, you’ll be chewing chicken gum. Keep it low-n-slow. Chickens like hot-tub bubbles, not white water rapids.
Check every half hour to make sure he’s still under water. You’ll now he’s done when you pull his leg & the bone comes off in your hand. The meat will separate easily.
Broth with chicken carcass:
If you roasted a chicken for dinner, pick off all the meat & store the carcass in a big, zip-top bag, in the fridge. The next day, you can cook the carcass just like you would a whole chicken. If you have little bits of meat left after simmering, pick it off for the barn cats (or pigs if you are so fortunate to have them).
Let the broth cool for a while before you pour it into Mason jars. I cooked my carcass in about 3 quarts of water. I filled 2 quart jars with broth. Then, I spilled one all over the counter, oops. That’s why I never eat in a white shirt.
Store Mason jars in the fridge. If you want to freeze broth, pour it into plastic containers. Or, pour into ice cube trays. When broth is frozen, pop out the cubes & store in zip-top bags.
Now you have fresh broth for chicken pie, risotto, or pasta with veggies & cheese.