Friday, April 16, 2010

Cooking and Canning Homemade Turkey stock - PART 1

I find it deeply satisfying to purchase a scant $7 of turkey necks and turn them, along with a few pieces of organic produce (both purchased and homegrown) into a big batch of stock, plus a meaty casserole or lunch meat salad. I use every tiny bit of usable food to feed my whole family: both the humans and the chickens. Yes, you can feed chickens poultry with zero fear of 'cross contamination' or anything else wierd. If it's edible for humans, it's edible for chickens. Pecking at bones is a great way for my bird daughters to 'bone up' (har har) on their calcium, and the grosser meat scraps are perfectly palatable for them.

So here's my stock:

  • 2 packages turkey necks. I'd like to think they were responsibly grown, but i really don't know. Stock is one of those things i will buy 'slavery poultry' for, as i'm cheap out of necessity.
  • 2 onions
  • 5 or so fresh bay leaves from my lovely bay tree
  • some salt and pepper
  • a few gross cabbage leaves not worth eating in any other dish
  • several celery stalks
  • woops, i forgot to put garlic in there - oh well.
That's it - just throw those things in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer ALL DAY stirring occasionally to break the meat off the bones.

I let the stock pot sit out all night - i always wonder the dangers of this. That definitely puts the food in the 'danger zone' (certain temperature parameters deemed unsafe by the food Lords of the USA) that could breed bacteria, but since i bring the stock back to a boil before eating it i figure we're okay.
The next morning i lift out the chunks into a colander or salad spinner - pour the liquid through a strainer into a smaller pot. I then (while wearing my apron) separate all the edible chunks of meat from the other gross slurry and save that in a pyrex for some other meaty dish.

Next, as i like to use EVERY LAST BIT OF GOODNESS, i pour very hot water over the gunk in the colander to get the last of the good juices and gelatin to pour out. I pour that through a strainer into the smaller pot which then goes into the fridge for the day.

The rinsed pile of onion/bone/fat/meat goo goes out to the compost heap to feed the delighted chooks (and hopefully not choke them to death) as well as quite a few mice and other nasty beasts i don't want to know visit my compost heap.

Once the fat has hardened, i skim it off and heat the stock back up in readiness to be canned.
So, there's the stock. Next up: Canning turkey stock.

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