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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, February 04, 2011

A Stock Making Week

We arrived home from our vacation home to realize my stock supply with the exception of tomato stock that I guard like gold was at rock bottom.  I had to scrounge through the freezer to find enough chicken stock for the comfort meal I wanted to make!  There are two reasons why my stock supply was low.  First our house has been on the market since March of 2010 meaning I've been reducing canning where I can to allow the house to be shown more often.  Second, I took a total of a case down to our vacation home over the last two trips.  I'm used to cooking with my home canned stocks so wanted a taste of home there as well.

beef and chicken stocks
I had no choice but to get busy making stocks.  Stock making is always a two day event here.  I prefer making stocks in the dead cold of winter because the stock can sit in the sunporch over night for defatting rather than take up refrigerator space.  First on the agenda was beef stock (far left) with a yield of 12 - 500 ml jars.  Next on the agenda was chicken stock (right) with a yield of 14 - 400 ml jars.  Within 4 days total but nowhere near that time length in work 26 - 500 ml jars were stored safely in my pantry.

That very weekend we were having our belated Christmas celebrations complete with a 22 lb turkey.  I knew I would be canning turkey stock the start of the week.  There is absolutely no reason to let a perfectly good turkey carcass go to waste!

turkey stock
My turkey stock is never nice and clear even if I strain it.  One reason for this is the turkey carcass has bits and pieces of meat and stuffing which affects the clarity of the stock.  I always make stuffing (in the bird) rather than dressing (outside the bird).  Another reason is the turkey carcass has a higher percentage of collagen that causes gelatin to be released so the stock gels somewhat that gives a cloudy appearance when cooled.  My yield for the turkey stock was 16 - 500 ml jars.

As far as cost effectiveness goes, homemade stock is always a frugal choice.  I ended up with 42 - 500 ml jars that if bought in the grocery store at $1.49 each would have cost me $62.48.  My costs for 3 batches cooking for 3 hours each (total time 9 hours),  processing time at 20 minutes each (total time of 1 hour),  24 metal snap 2 - piece lids (18 were Tattler reusable lids) and miscellaneous supporting ingredients (onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, and etc) came out to a total of $3.40 for a grand savings of $59.08.  Now the beauty of making homemade stocks aside of the huge cost saving is you can freeze them if you don't want to can them.  I can mine because it is then ready to use so more of a convenience product.  I use a lot of stock in everything from soups and stews to bread and muffins!

If you notice on each batch of stock I have used the Tattler reusable lids for some of the jars.  At the moment I have 2 dozen vintage glass inserts,  6 dozen Tattlers and about 70 dozen metal snap lids.  I am reusing my Tattler lids as soon as I empty enough jars to get another canner load.  I plan to buy several more dozen Tattler lids this spring in preparation for the busy canning season.  Eliminating the single use metal lids will reduce my canning costs by 8¢ to 12¢ per jar.  At an average of 1,2,00 to 1,400 jars per year that alone will be a nice savings!

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