I am a nerd. I have been so excited about this the last few day. Its SO easy and SO cheap. And SO good for you. Even the organic broths have "natural flavor" added (Also known as MSG). And they can be EXPENSIVE. This can make GALLONS of stock. No joke. With ONE batch of chicken bones. You can do even more with beef bones. I haven't gotten there yet, but I will sure update you with it.
Bone broth is super nutritious. Adding vinegar to the water helps leach out the minerals from the bones as well as the nutritious gelatin. THIS is the chicken soup that will help you get over a illness sooner.
It is thrifty, because you can strain the liquid out, and scoop out the veggies and start again! You can do it two or even THREE times with chicken bones! And double that for beef bones. Its unreal.
And if you are short on freezer space, there is a few things you can do. First, you can freeze in ice cube trays or muffin trays and then place in ziplock bags once frozen solid. Then you can just use what is needed. Or you can return the strained liquid to a pot and simmer on low, uncovered, for several more hours and reduce it by half. Then you can freeze in small jars and its a concentrated form. Just add water once you thaw.
This is also a great way to stretch a meal. Buy a rotisserie chicken or roast a whole chicken on your own and save the carcass. You could even save the bones of thighs and drumsticks from other meals in a baggie in the freezer and make a batch when you have enough. The added drumsticks are great to find on sale. Its a very cheap cut of meat. Save the gross bag of innards from the roaster chicken too. And all the butts of onions, carrots, or celery you cut off and throw away? Save those in the freezer too.
You can add chicken feet to it as well. I haven't gotten there yet :-)
This is about 1/3rd of ONE batch. Not reduced
Thrifty Chicken Stock
I whole chicken carcass
1-2 lbs of whole chicken drumsticks
chicken gizzards, neck, etc (optional)
1 onion, halved
4 carrots, washed, peeled, in 3 inch chunks
4 celery (tops too!) washed, in 3 inch chunks
8 cloves of garlic (no need to peel) cut in half
1/2 tsp dried thyme (fresh is even better. Several stems)
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns (optional)
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
Place all of the ingredients in a HUGE stockpot and fill with water 2 inches above the top of ingredients. If you wish, let sit at room temp for an hour. This lets the vinegar work on the bones a little. Then bring to a simmer. Cover, and keep on a very low temp. You just want to gently simmer, never boil.
Cook for about 18 hours. Check on the water lever occasionally and to make sure its still simmering. I am sure you can do this in a crock pot, but be aware many crock pots run too hot to just simmer, even on low. So pay attention the first time you do it.
Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer. Either use immediately, place in the fridge for up to 5 days, freeze for up to 3 months, or simmer uncovered to condense and then freeze.
Use in soups, to cook noodles, rice, beans, etc. Or season and sip.