Another fun adventure has been making my own chicken stock! I roast a whole chicken in the crockpot for about 8 hours on low in just a little filtered water and with salt/pepper on the chicken. For now it’s an organic “free-range” whole chicken from Trader Joe’s but eventually later this summer will be a truly free range chicken from the farm I also get my beef and eggs from.
Once the chicken is done, when the meat is tender and falls off the bone (but is not overcooked and dry), I take all the meat off the bones (enough meat for a couple meals!) and throw all the bones and other leftovers back in the crock pot. Then I fill it up about 2/3 full with filtered water (I have a 6 quart crockpot, I believe) and add a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This helps draw out all the healthy stuff from the bones. I leave the cold water and vinegar for an hour and turn on the crockpot on low for ideally 24 hrs. The last couple hours I throw in a couple carrots and celery stalks (cut in half) and a couple onions (cut in fourths) and let it cook on low for the last couple hours.
Then, I strain out the bones, veggies, and other goodies using a large stainless steel mesh strainer with a bowl underneath. Next I pour the stock in some quart sized canning jars and let them cool a little before placing in the fridge. You can also freeze the jars, but make sure they are completely cooled first and that you leave an inch of space at the top of the jar for expansion. There will be some fat on the top once it cools. I read somewhere to leave that there until you’re going to use the stock, and then you should spoon it off and discard before using the stock. You could use the fat for cooking, if you desire.
The result? VERY healthy chicken stock and also, might I add, SUPER cheap and easy!