Thursday, January 31, 2013

Frugal Tip: Make your own Broth

One of my favorite things to make is chicken broth. I think it is because it is so cheap and easy, and it has so many uses. You can add it in place of water in some recipes to add a richness. Or it can make instantly yummy soup. I use it in my white chicken chili, as the liquid in many chowders, or even to enrich my mashed potatoes when I'm doing them dairy free.

When you consider it from a frugal perspective, it's a huge win. If you order chicken broth in bulk from amazon it ranges from $2.67 (Swanson) to $3.75 (organic) per quart. I figure it costs me about $2 to $3 to make up a 5 quart batch, and less when I do big batches in my canning pot (3 gallons!). So that is about 40 to 60 cents per quart, a possible savings of $3.35 per quart or a total savings of $16.75 per 5qt. batch! Since the chicken bones are leftovers from cooking, they don't count, so my only cost is the celery, onions, and carrots I add.

So lets get going:

  • 1 chicken carcass, skins, bones and all. After you've had yummy roasted chicken for supper, or maybe raw after you've de-boned a whole chicken. either way. 
  • 1 bunch of celery ($1) all chopped up. Minus the bottom, which you could plant, or make art with...) You especially want to toss in the leaves, those add LOTS of flavor.
  • 1 pound of carrots, I use the baby carrots after they get old (a little dry looking) and the kids don't find them appealing.
  • 1 or 2 whole onions. The skins are FULL of good stuff, so don't peel, just chop coarsely and drop 'em in. 
  • Enough water to cover it all in a 6-qt pot or slow-cooker.

Let it all cook on low ALL night. I've recently discovered my 6-qt cooker cooks "low" at a much higher temp than my 4-qt that I got at my wedding 12 years ago, so use your discretion. In an older crockpot, you may want to go with "Medium" or even "High." We want this to get hot and stay hot.

In the morning, strain off the meat and veggies. I feed them to the chickens, but a friend told me you can snap the bones and do another batch!

Then bag for the freezer. This will fill one and a half gallon bags. I have found that the bags often get scratched or punctured in the freezer, and then leak upon thawing. So I started putting the bags in coffee cans, and filling and freezing that way. They stack great, and thawing is a breeze, since you can just set the can on the counter! If you want one cup portions, put one cup in a sandwich bag, and fill a gallon bag with the smaller bags, then freeze flat. :)


Proverbs 3:7-9
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;Fear the Lord and depart from evil.8 It will be health to your flesh,And strength to your bones.9 Honor the Lord with your possessions,And with the firstfruits of all your increase;

Originally Posted in April 2012, This continues to be one of our most pinned posts!

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Frugal Family 2013

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