Learn how to preserve everything you might find at a farmers market — or in your own backyard — with the clear, easy-to-follow directions you’ll find in Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014) by Cathy Barrow. Recipes for delicious ways to eat up your stores are interspersed throughout the canning, smoking, curing and brining instructions, which progress from the easiest to the most complex recipes. The following homemade chicken stock recipe is from chapter 2, “Canning Under Pressure: Groceries You’ll Never Have to Carry Home Again.” Use this and our other canning resources to keep your pantry stocked with fresh foods all year long.
You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.
For years, I dutifully stored wing tips, backs, and chicken carcasses in the freezer. Every few weeks, I "stocked up" and made and froze cups and quarts of it in zip-lock bags. All that is just fine until the scream-inducing moment when the bag slips from the freezer and lands on your toe. And have you ever put a zip-lock bag of stock in the sink to defrost, only to find that there was a hole in the bag and all your lovely stock escaped down the drain? Oh yes, you'll appreciate the beauty of pressure canning chicken stock.
Any 10 pounds of chicken parts, raw or cooked, or a combination, will do. Although cooked chicken carcasses have less to offer, go ahead and throw them in. But raw backs and necks are usually inexpensive and will result in the best flavor. If there are vendors at your farmers' market selling chicken parts, they will often be willing to sell the backs and necks at a good price. Or ask at the grocery store.
• 5 pounds (2.25 kg) chicken backs
• 5 pounds (2.25 kg) chicken necks
• 1 pound (450 g) chicken gizzards (optional)
• 3 pounds (1350 g) yellow onions
• 2 pounds (900 g) carrots, ends trimmed
• 8 ounces (230 g) celery stalks, including leaves
• 3 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
• Large bunch of parsley stems
• 12 black peppercorns
• 12 fresh thyme sprigs or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
• 7 quarts (224 oz., 6.6 l) cool and nonchlorinated water
1. Add the backs, necks, and gizzards, if using, to a 16-quart stockpot. Quarter the onions, leaving the skins on, as they contribute a golden color, and add them to the pot. Chop or break the carrots and celery into 3 or 4 pieces each and add to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients and cover with the cool water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 6 hours. Do not let the stock boil, or it may become cloudy.
2. Strain the stock through a colander into large bowls or big jars and let cool, then cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.
3. Skim the fat from the cold stock, then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve lined in cheesecloth into a large stockpot. Bring the stock to a strong, rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes.
4. Ladle into the clean jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Clean the jar rims well with white vinegar. Place the lids and rings on the jars and finger-tighten the rings.
5. Process the stock at 10 pounds of pressure: 20 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts. If working with mixed sizes, process for 25 minutes. Let the pressure fall naturally and the canner cool completely before opening and removing the jars and placing on a folded towel.
6. Let the jars cool for 12 hours before removing the rings and lifting each jar by the flat lid; it should hold tight, indicating a safe seal.
The stock is shelf stable for 1 year.
Want more pressure canning recipes? Check out How to Make Homemade Stock.
Reprinted from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving by Cathy Barrow. Copyright © 2014 by Cathy Barrow. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Buy this book from our store: Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.