Make Your Own and Save: Chicken Broth
Chicken broth boiling
I have several recipes that call for chicken broth. I especially use a lot of it around the holidays for stuffing and gravy. Have you ever looked at the nutritional value of a can of chicken broth? The canned chicken broth that you can buy at the grocery store for around $1 is very high in sodium. It also has additives and preservatives in it, so it isn't just chicken broth. Making your own chicken broth is very easy, much healthier for you and best of all will save you money.
I will cook up whole chickens a few times a year and every now and then I will purchase a rotisserie chicken already cooked. A quick aside here that purchasing a rotisserie chicken for your dinner is a very inexpensive take out meal. Spend $5 for a chicken already cooked and then 10 minutes at home to brown some rolls and throw a salad together makes a fast, inexpensive, filling and nutritious meal. Much cheaper than take out or actually eating at a restaurant.
After the chicken is cooked how you want it (boiling or roasting is a great way to cook whole chickens) you will need to remove all the meat from the bones. I usually let the chicken cool while we are eating dinner and then remove the rest of the meat after dinner. Put all the bones in a large pot and fill with water. Add whatever seasonings you would like - thyme, pepper and garlic work well for me. Many people leave the broth unseasoned and then season it how they want it when it is time to use it.
Now lets add some nutritional value. At this point while the water is heating up I will add onion skins, celery leaves and a carrot. These will add lots of vitamins and nutrients to the broth - you will not find these in the canned broth from the store. I also always add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar. Vinegar will leech the calcium from the bones without effecting the taste of the broth. I think just about everyone needs more calcium in their diets and this is a great way to get it.
Once you have everything in your pot cover and cook on high until the water is boiling. Once boiling, turn it down to a low boil and cook for around two hours. Once you are done cooking it, uncover and remove from the burner. At this point you want it to cool. You do not want to splash boiling hot liquid on yourself while pouring, so make sure it is cooled. Once cooled through away the bones and run the rest through a strainer. Freeze in one or two cup portions to use in recipes later. You can also freeze in large containers to be used for chicken noodle soup later.
I consider the chicken broth I make from a whole chicken to be a bonus from the meal. The flavor is great, it is very healthy for you and it is so cheap compared to store bought. So don't throw out those bones next time you cook chicken. Use them to your advantage and make some great chicken broth.