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How to Make Bone Broth and Stocks and Why You'll Never Go Back to Store-Bought Stock

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Why Make Your Own Chicken Stock?

I know what you're thinking: "Why should I go through the trouble of making my own chicken stock when I can grab a carton from the store?

Most importantly, correctly made homemade stock is far healthier than any canned version you find in a store.

Many store bought versions are very high in sodium, and obviously you can not control the ingredients, which likely include MSG, preservatives and other artificial flavors.

Homemade bone broth naturally contains calcium, minerals, and other immune boosting properties, and the added vegetables offer a wide array of vitamins--which is why your mother gave your chicken soup when you were ill as a child.

Store-bought broth is seriously lacking all of these incredible benefits. Even if the stock is correctly made, the canning process destroys most of the enzymes and much of the vitamins that make fresh stock so nutritious.

Second, making your own broth is much cheaper, making it a great option for those on frugal budgets. Off-brand stocks start out at about $0.60 per 12 oz can. Higher quality stocks cost about $3.50 for 32 oz. Low-sodium versions cost even more than this. This adds up to quite a bit when you consider that you can make it for free out of chicken and vegetables that you are probably buying and throwing away anyway.

The final reason you should make your own soup stock is that homemade stock tastes a hundred times better than store bought. If you haven't tried homemade stock, you are missing out. The taste of canned broth cannot compare to the rich, complex flavors of homemade stock.

Have I convinced you yet? Good. Let's make some chicken stock.

Basic Chicken Stock Recipe

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

6 hours

6 hours 30 min

Makes 3-4 Cups


Chicken Stock Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken or chicken carcas
  • water to cover
  • 1-2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 med onion, quartered
  • 1 whole carrot, peeled and chopped into fourths (optional)
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves, chopped into fourths
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole
  • approx. 1 Tsp salt (to taste) use 1/2 tsp or omit for lower sodium
  • approx. 1/8 tsp pepper (to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp parsley


Place a whole, uncooked chicken (neck included) OR chicken carcass (legs, wings, and breasts removed for other uses) in a large stock pot and cover with water with 2 tbsp vinegar. Leave it on your stove about half an hour to draw the minerals out of the bones.

Bring the water to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Skim off anything that rises to the surface as this foam contains impurities that you do not want in your stock. Simmer gently, lid ajar for about 2 hours; turn off heat.

Remove the chicken and let it cool enough to handle. Remove the meat (or any leftover meat) from the chicken and set aside. (This can be frozen for later use.) Put the bones back into the stockpot and add vegetables. Bring the stock back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer another 2-3 hours. Add herbs, salt and pepper and cook another 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Note: I usually buy a whole chicken, and remove the breast meat, legs, wings and thighs to use in other meals. Then I use the raw chicken carcas, (neck included) to make stock. You could also roast the chicken for one meal, and then use the leftovers (bones included) to make stock, or use the whole chicken raw, remove the meat after simmering for 2 hours, and put all the bones back into the pot .

Strain your liquid gold through a fine sieve or cheesecloth into bowl if you want and cool completely. Pour the broth into 2-cup storage containers.

You could also reduce the stock by boiling uncovered for about an hour. Pour the reduced stock into Ice cube trays to freeze; then transfer to ziplock bags for storage. Add cubes to rice or other dishes in place of chicken boullion.

A Note about Gelatin: The gelatin in homemade broth will give chilled broth a jello-like consistency. This is completely normal and will disappear when heated. This gelatin has tremendous health benefits!

Crockpot Beef or Pork Stock


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Use the same ingredients as chicken stock, except substitute approximately 4 lbs of bone-in pork or beef for chicken. (pork shoulder is a frugal but delicious choice) You can use 3 lbs, and use 1/2 quart less water.


Add meat with bone-in to crockpot and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add 2 1/5 cups water. Cook on high 6 hours, or until meat falls apart easily. Remove meat from bones and set aside for later use--Meat can be frozen for use in other recipes. Put bones, fat and all other ingredients (same as chicken recipe) back into crockpot. Cook on low overnight. Strain through cheese cloth or fine sieve and remove fat. Freeze as desired.

Vegetable Stock


2 1/5 quarts water

4 lbs vegetables (any that you have on hand!) Onion, Carrots, Celery, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, turnips, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, etc

2 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

1/8 pepper

1 tsp parsley

Vegetable Recipe

I use vegetable stock a lot in my cooking--especially during the lenten season. This is the basic recipe that I use. You can alter this to fit your pantry and tastes!

this is the easiest stock of the bunch! Put all ingredients into stock pot and heat to boiling. Reduce to simmer and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Strain the vegetables and simmer broth about 1 hour to reduce. For a heartier broth you could puree some of the vegetables and return to the stock. This is a great way to sneak more vegetables into your family's diet.

Should I Remove the Fat From Bone Broth?

I say, leave it in! Animal fats are much healthier than vegetable oils and add a lot of flavor, and despite the heavy campaigning otherwise, do not contribute to heart disease. But, yes, you can remove the fat if you really want to. The easiest way to do this is to allow the broth to cool overnight in refrigerator and skim fat off with a spoon.

I don't throw this fat away, however. Instead, skim off the fat and place in a small saucepan. Add a half cup of water and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup and refrigerate several hours. The fat will harden at the top and other sediments from the stock will settle at the bottom. Skim off fat and transfer to a small canning jar. Keep refrigerated.

Use this fat or lard in place of vegetable oil for sautéing rice, onions, etc.

Clarifying Broth

Clarifying the broth is not necessary, but it makes the broth look clearer and more visually appealing.  Clarifying removes the sediment that is too small to be strained out using a cheese cloth.  

To clarify broth

Crush 1 eggshell and mix with the egg white and 1/4 cup cold water.  (The yolk can be discarded.) Stir into de-fatted broth and heat to boiling.  Turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes.  Strain through 2 thicknesses of cheese clothe or a fine sieve.    

© 2010 Sarah

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