Our stock is going up! Or, maybe it would be better to say our stock of stock is increasing!
The children and I decided to try a first for us…making stock from a turkey carcasse. Our local grocery store had a decent sale on turkeys, so we picked up a couple. One went in the freezer for later, but the other one started defrosting immediately. We didn’t need to worry about roasting one for Thanksgiving, as we’re celebrating with family and we pulled other duties (French Silk pie, homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole). This turkey was our Thanksgiving appetizer. 😉
After I picked the bird clean and sent several packets of meat down to the freezer (for future casseroles, soups, and sammiches), we set to making the broth. I wanted to use the principle of using what we already had on hand, so along with the turkey remains, I put in 4 whole heads of garlic (cleaned and broken, but not peeled), carrots, dried basil and peppercorns. Had we had onions, I would have thrown in one or two of those as well. I covered the whole mess with water, plus a couple inches. I read that breaking a few of the bones would add flavor and nutrients, so I did that. I discovered I’m a little squeamish about breaking bones. I added a little acidic fermentation, too, as that’s supposed to help draw out some of the nutritious minerals from the bones.
We brought the lovely smelling stuff to a boil and then covered it and let it simmer for about 20 hours. Apparently it’s not abnormal for the stock to develop a scum right after coming to a boil. Ours didn’t, but if it had, we’d have just scraped it off and discarded it.
I’ve never owned cheesecloth, so I tried to get creative with the straining. After I removed the big pieces of bone and other stuff with tongs, I laid a clean dish towel inside my colander and poured the stuff through that contraption into another big pot…actually two big pots, as we had a lot of liquid.
Those pots went into the fridge, and about 24 hours later, the fat had separated from the rest of the liquid. I scraped the fat off and saved small amounts in the freezer for later use for gravies and sauces. The liquid (minus about 2 quarts) went into jars, and those jars went into the freezer. The rest of the stock was reheated and used for turkey and dumplings for our main meal…it was delicious!
If we did our math correctly, we harvested a little over two gallons of stock. The boys were quick to inform me of how they’d often read about people in the Middle Ages using broth like ours to restore the sick…and now they know why it was so restorative! Protein from the gelatin, minerals from the bones, and loads of vitamins from the carrots and garlic….I love it when household projects turn educational!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!