For the past two years I’ve been on a “quest” to eliminate processed foods and sugar from my diet. I was surprised to find that many brands of store bought stock and broth has sugar added to it. So I started making my own from scratch. I started making it using a stock pot, but the process was too involved for me and I wanted something I could set and walk away from. Thank goodness for crockpots (and mine certainly gets used… A lot). It’s so simple too. Have bones leftover from a roasted chicken, don’t toss the carcass. I make my own roasted chicken, roughly once a month and I buy the expensive organic one, because I know I’ll be using it in my bone broth. During the month, before I make my stock/broth, I collect the leftovers from onions, celery stalks (the tops and bottoms, thoroughly washed), and peeled carrots (you know those annoying shavings you take off whole carrots, yeah those) and I save them in a ziploc bag in the freezer.
Then, when I’ve made my roast chicken (I’ll do a separate post for that and the leftover chicken pot pie too), I take the remaining carcass (I peal it clean of any meat remaining to use in my chicken pot pie with homemade crust) and put it in my crockpot, add my bag of frozen veggies (and if there isn’t enough of a particular vegetable (usually carrots) I add more of those), add water until it covers everything up to the top, and a teaspoon or so of fresh peppercorns.
I then set the crockpot on low for 10 hours and then set it again until it’s been cooked for at least 24 hours. I will sometimes add more water if I feel the level has dropped. You’ll know when the stock is done when the bone breaks apart easily when squished with your fingers.
After the stock is done I put it into mason jars, let them cool in the fridge and then put them in the freezer (make sure there’s enough head room in the jar to avoid cracking, which means you can toss that jar of goodness right in the trash).
Just to state the obvious, this also saves a good deal of money. Not only am I getting a solid staple that has many wonderful nutritious properties, I use leftovers and scraps to really stretch my money. The organic whole chicken costs about $13, however this will be used for two meals (roasted chicken and pot pie) and almost a gallon of chicken stock. The chicken stock would, by itself cost roughly $15, so the cost of the chicken has already been recouped. Then spreading it out across two meals, making it $6.50 per meal, it’s an even better deal. The pot pie, which is probably 42oz (or more) would cost upwards of $10 (Marie Callender’s 45oz pot pie goes for $9.99), but that doesn’t even include organic ingredients. A rotisserie chicken usually goes for $5.99, but that’s not organic either and is usually loaded with salt (although I do brine my chicken, so we’re not exempt from the higher salt either). So the cost of the separate meals and the stock would cost roughly $30, but instead I’m spending about $18 (when you count additional ingredients for the pot pie) and I’m getting wholesome ingredients with no additives or preservatives, so the health wins are even greater.