Making Chicken Stock

Chicken necks and backs. That’s what we use to make chicken stock. Then we process it in canning jars and store it in the pantry. You can also freeze the stock. My wife, Marlene, uses our homemade chicken stock as a base for the wonderful soups she makes. Nothing beats homemade soup made with homegrown chicken stock on a cold winter day (and homemade biscuits to go with it sounds good too)! The stock is also a great base for homemade gravy too.

It is remarkably easy to make your own chicken stock. Marlene uses the Ball Blue Book as a guide for making her stock. 

It starts, of course, with a stock pot full of backs and necks: 

Marlene fills the pot with enough water to cover the meat. Then she puts in coarsely chopped celery and onion. She adds maybe a tablespoon of salt, along with a teaspoon or so of black peppercorns. The Ball Blue Book recommends bay leaves too.

Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer for two hours or more, until the meat is tender. Here’s what it looks like while it’s simmering...

We pour the cooked mixture into a colander over another, smaller stock pot in the kitchen sink. The stock goes through the colander. The meat doesn’t. 

And that gives us a pot of golden-colored broth...

Here’s what the Blue Book says to do next:

“Allow stock to cool until fat solidifies; skim off fat. Bring stock to boil. Ladle hot stock into hot jars, leaving 1” headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam pressure canner.” 

Marlene doesn’t usually let the stock cool down until the fat solidifies. She lets it cool down a bit, the fat rises to the top, and she skims most of it off. Here are some of the finished jars just out of the canner...