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It’s been a few weeks since my last post. I’ve been a little under the weather. Luckily, a freezer full of homemade chicken stock came to the rescue.

chicken stock

Making my own stock is one of my favorite things to do. It requires at least a 6-hour span of time at home, but the whole house is filled with the relaxing, homey scent of soup on the stove. It also requires that you have some chicken bones laying around. Whenever we cook a whole chicken or bone-in thighs or even chicken wings, we save them and pop them in the freezer. That goes for vegetable scraps, too. The ends of the celery and carrots you trimmed off? Save it in the freezer. The bell pepper that was about to be too old to eat? Slice it up and save it in the freezer. Those fennel fronds you didn’t know what to do with? …You see where I’m going with this!

There’s no recipe set in stone, but my method usually consists of one chicken carcass, a few onions, carrots, potatoes, and whatever other vegetables or herbs I have laying around. Throw them all in a big pot, cover with water, and simmer at least 6 hours. When the time’s up, carefully strain and weed out all of the bones and vegetable bits. I store mine in pint-sized jars in the freezer. When you’re ready to make soup, use in place of store-bought broth, or boil your grains in it to give them a little extra flavor.

Not convinced? Here are 5 more reasons you should be making your own stock.

1. You control the sodium. One of the major issues with canned stocks and soups, and canned foods in general, is the sodium content. I never salt my stock until I use it in a recipe – and I know exactly how much salt I’m using.

2. You don’t need to worry about BPA. Many canned items have BPA, which could increase your risk for breast and other cancers.

3. It’s less wasteful. Whole chickens or bone-in cuts are usually cheaper per pound than their boneless, skinless brethren. And, instead of just throwing out the bits and bobs of vegetables and bones, you’re putting them to good use.

4. It’s delicious. If you simmer it long enough, the collagen in the bones is released which gives you a glorious, thick liquid. The texture, in my opinion, is unbeatable.

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