Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Stock

Why is chicken soup superior to all the things we have, even more relaxing than 'Tylenol'? It is because chicken soup has a natural ingredient which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the beginning or ending of the nervous system. It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too many laxatives, too many food additives....and parasites. Chicken soup...heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.

Hanna Kroeger, Ageless Remedies from Mother's Kitchen

If you don't know, that natural ingredient that she mentions above is gelatin-rich meat stock...and in this case, chicken stock.

Since it is close to stewing hen time, I thought it would be a good time to post a recipe for chicken stock. Chicken stock can be used for more than making chicken soup, of course, and by doing so, we can get more of this gelatin-rich broth into our system to bring about healing and health. Use it in places that call for water, like stir fying & making rice.

Making stock isn't hard (the stove does most of the work), it just takes a little bit of time....but it's time well spent!

The best (easiest) way to make stock is to make a big batch and then freeze it into freezer bags in the size amounts that you use most. If you have a really big stock pot, you can double this recipe.



Farm-raised, pastured/free ranged chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

6 lbs chicken scraps *
4 qts. water
3-4 carrots, peeled & coarsely chopped
1 med onion, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, including green part, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, with leaves, coarsely chopped **
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs parsley
7-10 peppercorns
2 Tbs. salt
3/4 cup dry white wine (or 1/4 cup vinegar) ***

Place chicken into a stockpot and add water. Bring to boil, removing scum that rises to the top. After scumming subsides, put the rest of the ingredients into the pot and bring everything back up to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 4-24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.

Remove from heat and cool some.
Remove the chicken pieces and big chunks of veggies from the stock with a slotted spoon.
Strain stock through several layers of wet cheesecloth over a strainer.
Reserve chicken meat for soup or other uses. Discard everything else but the liquid.

The test to whether your stock contains good amounts of gelatin is done by chilling the broth. It should thicken, and thicken to the point of jelling completely like a bowl of jello, when refrigerated.
whitish stuff on the top is the fat, scrap it off and discard.
Scoop out the amounts needed and put into a covered container or freezer bag.
Use immediately, refrigerate (for up to several days) or freeze.

* Chicken scraps can be bones, necks, backs and other scraps (chicken feet are loaded with gelatin so don't be afraid to use them!). If using whole chicken, cut it up into pieces.
** Using the center of your celery bunch works well as that is where the leaves and the 'not as pretty' stalks are. If a bunch of celery is going bad before you can use it all up, put it into the freezer and when you make stock, pull it out and use that.
*** Don't be tempted to leave out the wine/vinegar thinking it is not important; you need this acid to pull out the minerals from the bones.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One Big Egg!

Since we have some older hens, we are getting some jumbo and x-jumbo eggs. As the hens age they lay few but bigger eggs. The other day John brought in one that was the biggest I've seen. I got the tape measure out to see just how big it was.

Now aren't you glad you didn't lay that one!?!?!?

I put this x-jumbo egg (really it's almost a double jumbo) next to a reg jumbo egg and a quarter just to compare.

Then a few days later I got another one. It was almost the same size but not quite as big, but both were a handful as you can see. I believe this eggs is coming from the same hen as the shell types are the same.

So I decided to make breakfast out of that one really big egg. I usually do 2 regular eggs (if I have any regular ones to eat as we usually keep the really big ones, really small ones, cracked ones or the weird shaped ones for us so regular isn't something we have often in the frig) or I could use 4 small ones or a combo of 1 big and 1 small.....but I thought that this time the 1 super big one would be enough. Sure enough it was! I was wondering if it would be a double yoker. Notice the color of the yokes? The bright orange color comes from the grass that the hens get to eat. You won't see that in any store egg! I cooked it up with our grass-fed, nitrite free pork bacon.

Time to eat!
The toast has homemade strawberry/blueberry/red raspberry jam made from our organically grown strawberries, blueberries and red raspberries using the pectin we sell that allows me to choose the kind & amount of sugar to add to it, so it is low-sugar mixed berry jam. The toast is a bit darker than I would like but everything was yummy just the same.
A great start to a busy day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Survey winners

We have mailed out our farm newsletter, order form and price list for the 2011 season but this we included a local food survey. If you filled it out and returned that survey to us by April 30, you could be included in a drawing for a $10 gift certificate for Fair View Meadow Farm. There were to be 3 winners and today is May 1.... so the winners are:

Ann Wakefield
Dennis Livchak
Helene Lain


Thank you for taking the time to fill this out and share your thoughts with us. Also a thank you goes out to the others that took the time to fill it out and send it in as well but didn't get their name pulled.