Tuesday, June 8, 2010

46 Chicken Feet

This post is being shared on GNOWFGLINS Tuesday Twister!

Yesterday morning I helped a friend butcher 23 chickens. She gave me 8 of them! But she also gave me ALL the liver and ALL the feet! I was one happy woman coming home with my prize.

So, what does one do with 46 chicken feet? They make the most wonderful stock, being loaded with gelatin.

Needless to say, I carefully washed the feet and here they are: (Eww! Gross! ;-)

And here are the chopped up large green onions and old nobbly carrots from the garden that I added to the stock pot:

I also had 8 chicken necks and they went into the pot:

I boiled the chicken feet for 5 minutes and drained them:

Then I cut off the ends of the toes. (Have you fainted yet, Gentle Reader?)

Into the pot went the trimmed feet, the vegetables, 1 Tablespoon of dried thyme (sadly, I didn't have any fresh), a few small bay leaves from our daughter that lives in California, and enough cold water to cover it all well:

Then I added some black peppercorns. I would have liked to add celery, but didn't have any.

Here is the pot after it started boiling. As it cooks, you need to skim off that sort of gray looking foamy scummy stuff:

I started cooking it about 5 p.m. yesterday, and let is just barely simmer, covered, all night. Here is how it looked this morning:

Here is my colander, lined with one of the new unbleached birdseye diapers I told you about. It is sitting atop a large pot in the sink. I ladled the broth in there and dumped in the rest of the contents of the stock pot.

Here it is, draining:

And here is the strained broth:

When I looked in my canning book, it said to defat the stock, but I wasn't about to do that. I am not going to give you a lesson in canning here. If you want to do home canning, you need to buy one of THESE. Canning is not difficult, but it does need to be done properly, so get a good current reference to use. Here is most of the broth poured into pint canning jars:

And here is my 28-year-old pressure canner. It will hold 16 pints or 14 quarts at one time, so I did 16 pints:

Here they are after processing:

Now I have 16 lovely pints of homemade chicken stock to use for soups! Freezing would have been easier, but I don't have the space in my freezer.

Now, of course you do not have to have chicken FEET to make good stock. You can use a whole chicken! Most recipes call for the addition of carrots, onions, celery, and some seasonings. I never add salt to things that I am canning. I add it as needed when I use the product. I started canning when I still had babies, and did not want salt in their food. Exceptions are pickles and sauerkraut.

Please go lay down with your smelling salts and rest for a while now. ;)


  1. Wowee!! That's awesome! I recently got about 20 feet and I froze them to throw a couple in each batch of broth.

  2. Snipping the toes off, ewww. Our old pastor's wife said when she was a kid after her parents died and they were moved from relative to relative that one aunt made them eat the chicken feet soup. She just couldnt eat the feet. I know it makes good broth.
    How long did it take you to butcher that many chickens?

  3. I add a couple of chicken feet to my carcass when making my chicken stock. It gels very nicely. I freeze the rest of the chicken feet for each time I make a new batch. Then I have nutritious, thick stock every time.

  4. I think this is wonderful Wardeh! I really hope to get to a place where I am able to do some canning too. Baby steps for now, I'm just working on assembling all of the items to start your e-course. I find all of this incredibly fascinating and I am looking forward to making more from scratch, in large part due to posts like THIS one!

  5. Your broth looks so good. I have never made broth from the chicken feet. We use to live where we could raise our own chickens. A friend helped us butcher them, never did do well with that, my job was to pluck and cut off the feet. It has been raining here today so couldn't work in the garden and had a chance to read most of your back posts. Really enjoyed them and learned a lot. So much good info! Just became a follower.

  6. Thank you, Cheryl. Debbio, we started working on things about 8:30 in the morning, fetching and killing the chickens. We did stop for lunch and struggled some with heating the water outside, and finished about 3:30 in the afternoon. A neighbor came and plucked 3 of the chickens, but my friend and I did the rest. It was a good day and lots of nice memories.

  7. Absolutely yummy looking! I was able to get my 15 cleaned, cut and in the freezer. All the backs, necks,and wings are partly cooked, and cleaned. 3 quarts of chicken in the cooker..and looks like I have enough meat still for 6 pints. Not sure yet how many pints of broth I will have. I wish I had a big pressure cooker like yours tho! Oh, and there are 18 bags of chicken in the freezer. ;)

  8. In the words of Amelia "Ewwww!!!"

  9. Anonymous, it sounds like you had a very successful project! Wonderful!

  10. Yolanda,
    I forgot to ask. When you can lots of pints and have to make two rows or levels in the canner, do you put something on top of the bottom row? Last year I put the thing from the bottom of another canner on top of the bottom row but I didnt know what you are suppose to do oficially.

  11. I wish you had photos of the chicken butchering :)

    I work at a restaurant. Yes, it's a pizza place, but the kitchen manager considers himself a chef. He and I were talking about different recipes and I mentioned I had bought chicken feet at the Asian grocery store in town. The look on his face was so priceless when I told him I use it to make stock. LOL. Some things scandalize people.

    The last time I made broth, my kids were in the kitchen with me. I took one of the cords that move the feet and I held the foot up and pulled the cord, to make it look like the fingers were moving. They got a huge kick out of that.

  12. debbieo, my big canner actually has two of those flat sort of racks with holes in there. You could buy another one here:


    PaulaB52, actually I did consider taking pictures of the butchering, but I thought that might be a bit TOO grizzly! :) That is hilarious about pulling on the tendon. I'll have to remember that if the grandkids are around next time.

  13. I never ate any chicken feet, but my grandfather ate them when I was little. One chicken would only go so far, so he ate the feet.

  14. Hello, I am Yiyun, Autumn's neighbor at Purdue. I got your blog from visiting Autumn's blog. You are sooooo cool!! The chicken feet broth looks so delicious and nutritious. I wanna try this recipe and make it for my kids.

  15. Actually I ever made the homemade chicken broth by myself. But I used the whole chicken to do it, not the feet. Another different point is I didn't add any water in it, I just steam the whole chicken in a inner pot with a lid and have steaming water in a outer pot(the function seems like your pressure canner). So the final product after 6 hrs's steaming is about 800 c.c pure chicken broth.

  16. Yiyun! I remember you very well! How lovely to hear from you. I hope all is well with you and your family. If you can, do add some celery to the broth. I hope to hear from you again.

  17. C.C. That is very interesting. I remember Autumn telling me that you would make a steamed bread too, and I tried that once with very good results. So, you just have a small amount of water in the outer pot for steaming and then all the goodness goes into that water?

  18. Sorry for the late reply. I had a long vacation with my kids at my mother-in-law's home(no internet). Actually I have large amount of water in the outer pot and it's large enough to steam the whole chicken for 5-6 hours to become the pure broth. The water of the outer pot won't go in the broth because the broth is in the inner pot with a lid on. All broth is totally from the whole ckicken's body without any water I added . That is why all the broth after long steamming is about 800c.c.

  19. C.C. Thank you! I will try that the next time I want to cook a whole chicken. I hope you had a lovely visit with your mother-in-law!

  20. This is something I have been gathering my courage to try. I'll have to do it when I am alone in the house, though. Lol. What she doesn't know is often healthful! At least that's what I tell myself when I'm sneaking veggies into her food on a regular basis.

  21. Just an FYI did you know that you can keep a zip lock bag in your refrigerator freezer and toss in the tips and ends of carrots, celery leaves, onion peels, etc. and use them in the stock and you don't waste any veggies? After they cook just strain 'em out and there is no waste and no taste difference. (you can use peels as well as long as the veggie it is from has been washed and has no wax on it. And feed the cooked leftover veggie peels to your chickens)


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