First things first: the difference between stock and broth

Stock gets its dark color and full-bodied flavor from slow-simmered bones and meat scraps. Broth is lighter in color and less dense; it is the residual liquid from cooking meat or vegetables.

Using true stock in place of broth requires extra steps to prevent food tasting oily and over-seasoned. First chill stock, then strain it through fine cheesecloth to remove some of the fat globules and gelatin. Dilute stock to taste and add it to your favorite recipes in place of broth.

Health and history

Grandma wasn’t kidding when she prescribed chicken soup to soothe a sore throat and build strong bones. Stock contains immunity-building, blood-boosting, healing vitamins and minerals.

Stocks have an important role in food history. Traditional Fond Blanc and Fond Brun are French chicken and beef stocks. Fish stock is popular in South American and Asian cuisine. Stocks made from pork and mutton are less common but equally delicious and nutritious as standard stocks.

Preserving homemade stock

Stock is a low-acid food. Low-acid foods are more likely to develop dangerous bacteria spores when canned improperly. Using a pressure canner to process low-acid foods is safer than traditional water bath canning because canned food is brought to and held at a higher temperature.

Alternatively, skip canning all together and store homemade stock in freezer jars at 0 degrees F. Freezing stock is my preferred method when I make small batches from a single chicken carcass left over from dinner.

Roasted Bone Beef Stock

beef stock collageIngredients

4 pounds beef marrow bones
Apple cider vinegar
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Water
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bones in a roasting pan. Cover. Roast 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven. Splash with apple cider vinegar. Add chopped onion and garlic to pan. Cover and roast an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer pan contents into a heavy stockpot. Cover with water. Add bay leaves. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 24 hours, until stock is dark and rich. Skim foam and fat occasionally.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Process according to safe canning standards, or ladle into freezer jars.

Easy Crockpot Chicken Stock

chicken stock collageIngredients

1 chicken carcass (about 3 lbs)
Water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Break carcass to fit in crockpot.
  2. Cover with water and add garlic and bay leaves. Cook on high until boiling, about 4 hours. Reduce crock to low setting for an additional 6 hours, until stock is dark and rich. Skim foam and fat occasionally.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Process according to safe canning standards, or ladle into freezer jars.

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