During winter, we make a lot of soups and stews. It’s so easy to bake a chicken one day, save the bones and carcass, and make chicken stock the next day. If you haven’t made stock before, you’ll probably be surprised by how easy it is!
Making Homemade Chicken Stock
Start by putting all of the bones and the carcass into a large pot (I typically use my 7-quart dutch oven).
Bring it up to a boil, then turn it down and let it simmer for several hours. You can strain and use it right away, but I like to remove the bones from the pot, then refrigerate the stock overnight if I’m going to can it so I can skim more of the fat out.
After pulling it out of the refrigerator, strain it through a mesh strainer into a large bowl to remove any more stray bones, fat, etc.
I like to strain it one more time as I pour it back into the pan (wash it first). You can use it right away, or bring it back up to a boil if you’re going to can it. You can add sea salt, pepper and garlic to taste if you like. I canned this batch plain so I can add spices according to the soup I’ll make with it.
Canning Homemade Chicken Stock
While you’re waiting for your chicken stock to come back to a boil, clean your jars and fill them with hot water. Set them out on a towel with your other canning tools. At the same time, put all of your lids into a small pan and boil them.
You’ll also want to put your pressure cooker on your stove and put 3 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar in it. Be sure the rack is in the canner. I like to start getting it heated up now.
After your chicken stock comes to a boil, dump the water out of one jar and fill it with chicken stock. Use your headspace measurement tool to be sure you have 1-inch of headspace.
Then use a damp towel to wipe the top of the jar. Carefully place the lid over the jar and screw the band on to fingertip tight. If you’re using the TATTLER reusable lids, be sure to follow their directions precisely.
Using your jar lifter, move the jar to your pressure cooker.
Repeat with each of your jars until you’re out of stock or your canner is full. Mine holds 7 quarts, but I only had 6 quarts of stock.
For the pressure-canning portion, I recommend you follow the directions that come with your pressure canner, as I’m not sure if other pressure canners vary from ours.
Once you are ready to remove the jars from your canner, use the jar lifter to transfer the jars back to the towel (you don’t want to place them directly on your counter). After they are completely cooled (usually overnight), remove the bands, check the seals to be sure they took, label them and move them to your pantry or food storage.
And you’re done! I love having a bunch of chicken stock ready to go for winter. I also do the same thing with our Thanksgiving turkey. We get a lot of stock from that!
If you have questions about any of the tools used to pressure can chicken stock, be sure to read my post on canning supplies.