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» Make Fresh Soup Stock

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Soup stock is one of those things that cans up easily once prepared. I highly recommend using a pressure cooker for safety in stock making, adjusting for altitude as needed. This article will look at three basic stocks to any kitchen: beef, chicken and vegetable.
Beginning with beef, you want some good beef bones from your butcher. Ask him or her to crack the bones for you to achieve the richest flavor. Rinse these and cover with water in a non-aluminum pot for at least four hours of simmering. Remove any scum that raises during the cooking process. By the way, this time may not remove all the meat from the bones, so when they cool, add the meat back into the broth (I like to finely grind it).

At this juncture I suggest cooling your broth overnight so you can remove unwanted fat. Afterward, return it to the stove along with any desired spices. Continue cooking until you reach a density of flavor that you personally enjoy, then put the stock into the chosen jars leaving about an inch of headroom. Cover and put into your pressure cooker for 25 minutes (quart jars) at 10 pounds of pressure (if you’re above 1,000 feet, you’ll need to check for altitude changes).

For chicken stock, you can save the bones from a bird and dunk it into a big stockpot right after dinner. Make sure there’s enough water to immerse it completely. If you want, add in some carrot ends and pieces, celery, and other traditional flavor pairings with the chicken at this juncture (these will be removed when you drain the stock).

Simmering this for about an hour loosens most of the meat. Now, pour the stock through a strainer. You’ll need to go back to the drainer to gather up meat, but you won’t get any bones in your final stock this way.As with the beef broth, you want to chill to remove fat, then return it to the stove to season the stock so it suits your family. The canning process is exactly the same.

And what about vegetable stock? I often save all my vegetable pieces in a large freezer-safe storage bag until I’m ready to cook stock. To this foundation you can add whatever fresh or frozen vegetables you wish for richer flavor.

Make sure that any fresh items are well washed and free of debris. Cook everything until tender, then strain carefully as you did the chicken. Return this to the stove top with herbs and let it cook down until you’re really happy with the flavor.

This is the point at which to transfer the liquid into the jars (vegetable blends don’t suffer from fat deposits like meat). Unlike chicken and beef stock, however, this needs a longer processing time of about 1 hour (especially if you’ve used tomatoes). So, stock up!


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