Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thrifty Tuesday- Canning Chicken Broth

Making your own chicken broth is super easy and practically free!  It makes my frugal heart sing!  This week I cooked up a whole chicken in the crockpot.  Typically whole chickens are the cheapest way to buy meat.  A whole chicken costs $.76 per pound.  Yes the total weight includes the bones so you are not buying only meat.  But I still find it to be more cost effective to buy a whole chicken instead of the more common breasts.  My price-point for meat is $1 per pound.  If I find meat for cheaper than that, I snatch it up.  Occasionally I have to pay more but I really try to stick to $1/lb.  Whole chickens always meet my price point.  Ill buy a few and freeze them in our spare freezer to be cooked up later when we need the meat.
  This week I pulled out one whole chicken and roasted it in the crockpot.  I have a Ninja Crockpot 3-in-1 and love it!  That baby can be used like a normal crockpot and it also has a stovetop function which means I can use it like an extra stove, awesome!  Once my chicken was cooked, I shredded all the meat off the bones and washed the crockpot.  I threw the bones back in the pot, with some chopped up celery (it was all I had in the fridge and I wasn't going to go buy veggies just for this broth).  I covered my bones and celery with water and let it cook slowly.  There's not really a set time for how long you need to cook it.  I just turned the crockpot on low (the 8 hour setting) and let it do it's thing while I did mine.  After cooking, the broth needs to be strained.  I first strain it through a colander to get the big bones out.  Then I strain whats left through a fine sieve (or cheese cloth or whatever you have that only lets the liquid through).  Since there is still little bits of chicken in the broth, I went ahead and pressure canned it to be safe.  All in all I got 3 quarts of chicken broth to put up.  Not bad for some bones that would have been thrown away anyways.  (After making the broth, I definitely threw out the bones!) From my 1 chicken, I ended up with a bunch of meat (we will make tacos, salad with chicken and a chicken casserole with the shredded meat) AND chicken broth!  Can't say I get that much when I buy the equivalent of chicken breasts!
  Making chicken broth is super easy, frugal and I know exactly what goes into it!  Re-using items that would be tossed is yet another method I use to help me stick to my budget.  If you don't have a pressure canner (or a friend with one) you could freeze the broth.  I can it so that the broth is shelf stable and leaves room in my freezer for other items. 

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