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. ;)