My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Homemade Chicken Stock


Making Something From Nothing. Or, To Be More Accurate, From Another Person’s Trash. 

When you think of trash, what comes to mind?  It’s not something most people seek out and for good reason.  Yet, there is one form of “trash” which is actually a treasure!

What trash you ask?  This kind:

Lovely, isn’t it?  Can you tell what it is?   It is the typically discarded parts of veggies like carrots (ends and peels)’ onions, orange peppers, etc. I often include celery, but I don’t have any yet.

Well, I pull my trusty discard bag out of my freezer whenever I prep vegetables and save whatever I think will make a good broth. Then, I stick it bag into the freeze until I have enough to make this:



Homemade Chicken Stock

For years, I wanted to make broth, but I didn’t, because I rarely buy bone-in chicken.  Then, I made an amazing discovery.  You can used cooked bones to make broth!  Your broth will be a bit darker in color, but the bones from a roasted chicken or turkey give a lovely flavor.

YAY!   Now I save the chicken carcass whenever I buy a roasted chicken from Costco.  I put it in a bag and save it in my freezer along with my “garbage” bag of veggies.  (I saved my turkey carcass last year and used it to make broth as well.)  When I have a few chickens, I stick them in a big stock pot or two with my veggies. I let them stew for at least 24 hours to get out all of the chicken and veggie goodness and into my broth.  Then I skim any yuckies off the top of the broth and refrigerate it to make it easier to skim the fat. At this point, the broth is ready to season and use. I prefer to wait to add salt until I’ve cooked my broth, but you can add salt earlier in the process.


Here are a couple of pictures of my broth in process.


(This is one of my pots with chicken bones and veggie trimmings.) 

(This is my broth after it cooked for several hours.) 

Of course, I made an insane amount of broth at this point, at least 6 gallons. Unless I’m cooking for a crowd, I will never going to use all this broth before it goes bad.  This is where my handy dandy pressure canner comes into play. I can my broth, so I don’t have to pay for it at the store.  Canning it is not completely free, because I need to pay for the seals, but even with the cost of energy and water I’m using, I’m paying less than 20 cents for a quart of broth. That’s a smokin’ deal!

To can the broth, I simply wash and rinse my jars in not soapy water, then fill them with the hot broth (which I reheated after refrigerating and skimming the fat) and add salt. Then, I wipe the rims with a wet paper towel and place the seals (warmed in a pot of warm water) on the jars. Finally, I screw on the rings until fingertip tight.

The jars go into my canner along with the vinegar and water listed in my canner instructions. I put on the lid and turn on the heat. The water in canner needs to come to a boil and vent for 10 minutes before putting on the weight and allowing the canner to come to full pressure (10 pounds at sea level, but it is 11 pounds where I live). Once it’s at the correct pressure, the jars are processed to 20-25 minutes (20 for pints and 25 for quarts). When the timer goes off, I turn the heat off and let the canner depressurize on its own as it cools. Once it has depressurize done, I remove the jars to a cooling rack where I let them sit for 24 hours before moving them.
And this is the result!  This is not all the broth I canned. I ended up with 21 quarts and 9 pints. Not too shabby!


How do you make the most of the things you buy?



What the Heck Am I Going to Do With All This Wheat? Make Bread, Of Course!!

It has been a goal of mine to learn to make bread. It took me a while, but I have created a yummy white sandwich bread recipe (found here) that I love! Finding a wheat bread recipe wasn’t so easy.

Why? Because my children turn up their noses at wheat bread. I’ve spoiled them with fiber-less bread, and they are super picky about the whole grain breads they will eat in abundance. So, unless I wanted to eat loaves and loaves of less than perfect bread, I wasn’t too keen on trying different wheat bread recipes.

A couple of months ago, I decided to bite the bullet and try a recipe I found on one of my favorite food storage websites, Food Storage Made Easy. (Click here for a link to their recipe.) It was so easy. moist, and yummy that I haven’t tried any other recipes. And, unlike so many other things I make, I have not made any modifications to the recipe either (other than halving it).
Watch me make bread!

To begin, I added most of the wheat flour, the yeast, and vital wheat gluten to my mixing bowl. 

 I stirred them together and added the hot water and let it sit for about 15 minutes. That’s a tad bit longer than the recipe says, but I got distracted, and no harm was done. 


Next, I added the remaining ingredients (honest, salt, oil, lemon juice, and the rest of the whole wheat flour) and let my kitchenaid mix it for about 6 minutes, until the dough pulled away from the sides of the bowl. See?

I transferred it to my counter (which was sprayed with Pam). 


I divided the dough into the appropriate sixes needed for the loaves I was baking. I was using a 9×5 pan and a 10×5 pan. This recipe can also do three smaller loaves (8.5×4 or 9×5 pans).   
Next, I kneaded the individual loaves a few times, like maybe 7-10 times, not much. Then I rolled it up the react of the way and pinched the bottom shut. 
I turned it over and rolled it a tad bit on the counter to press the raised, pinched part of the dough into the loaf. This is the view from the top.   

I repeated that step with the other loaf and out both in pans sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. 

I let them rise for about 40-50 minutes until they were a little more than double their original size. You can speed this up a bit if you use a proofing box or put it in your oven (turned off) with the light on. The original recipe from Deals to Meals has a quick rise method which I haven’t tried. If you are interested, I strongly recommend visiting Food Storage Made Easy’s website and following the link to Deals to Meals’ website. 
Finally, I baked the bread in a 350 degree oven for about 22 minutes. The recipe gives a bake time of 22-30 minutes, and your time may vary from mine depending on the temperature of your oven and the pans you use. 
Take a look at this gorgeous bread!  

Not only did it smell delicious, it tasted delicious, too.

Here are the measurements I used to make this bread. I have a smaller mixer than they do on the Food Storage Made Easy website, so I halved it. 

Emilie’s Whole Wheat Bread – Half Recipe

Makes 3 small loaves (8.5×4 or 9×5) or 2 large loaves (10×5)

From Deals to Meals blog, directions modified for Julie’s methods (Julie from Food Storage Made Easy)

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/3 cup vital wheat gluten (sometimes called gluten flour)

4 teaspoons instant yeast (I’ve used active dry and instant yeast. Both work fine.)

2 1/2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees F)

1 tablespoon salt

1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup honey or 1/2 cup sugar (I use raw honey, and it is delicious!)

4 teaspoons bottled lemon juice

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 

Mix first three ingredients together in your mixer, then add water, stirring for about a minute. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Add oil, honey (or sugar), salt, and lemon juice, and mix until incorporated (about 1 minute). Add remaining flour one cup at a time mixing between each cup. Mix for 6-10 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer. 

Spay your countertop with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to counter and divide into desired number of loaves. Knead a few times (usually less than 10 times), form into loaves and transfer to loaf pans which have been sprayed with Pam (nonstick cooking spray). Let rise until double. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 22-30 minutes or until brown. Cover with foil if it is getting too brown. 

This cuts more easily if you let it cool completely, but it will smell so yummy, you may have a difficult time waiting. Sometimes, I’ll put a little dough in a mini loaf pan so I can eat some bread fresh out of the oven. 

And that’s it!  It’s a super simple recipe, and tastes oh so good!  Try it out and let me know what you think. 

Until next time…



Knock-off Recipe: Zebra Popcorn. So Yummy!

There’s a famous store in my local mall that sells “Zebra” popcorn, which, translated into English, is caramel coated popcorn with dark and white chocolate drizzled on top. It is quite delicious. 

Well, our church youth group is having an activity tonight, and one of the young women I work with suggested having zebra popcorn as a treat.  It’s a large group, so I decided to try my hand at making a knock off version.  All the recipes I found called for baking the caramel corn in the oven before drizzling it with chocolate. 

There’s only one problem with that. I don’t have an oven right now. It broke a week and a half ago, and I’m suffering without it. The repairman ordered the necessary part to repair it, but it’s not getting installed until tomorrow. And the activity is tonight!

Since I promised to make this yummy caramel corn for tonight, I had to find a substitute. I took my mom’s popcorn ball recipe and used that instead of a traditional caramel corn. It turned out really well!  It also came together really fast and didn’t heat up my kitchen. That’s a definite plus!

If you want a crisp, crunchy caramel corn, this recipe isn’t for you.  The resulting caramel corn from this recipe is softer and a tad chewy, but not overly or unpleasantly so.  

Want to know how I made it?  Watch and see. 

First, I made the popcorn by popping it on the stove in a big pot with a little oil. I didn’t take pictures. Sorry. You can use whatever kind of popcorn you’d like to use, but I think it is best if it is plain, unbuttered popcorn. 

Next, I made the “caramel” in another large pot (you can use a Dutch oven) by combining sugars butter, corn syrup (I made two recipes with light corn syrup and one with dark corn syrup), and salt (see actual recipe at the bottom of this post). When it was heated and combined, I added the popcorn and stirred it for a couple of minutes until the popcorn was coated with the caramel mixture. Next, I spread it on a parchment coated cookie sheet and let it cool. (This is the batch using dark corn syrup.)


Once it was cool, I broke it up into smaller pieces. It was pretty soft. 
Finally, I melted some dark and white melting chocolate in the microwave and drizzled it on the popcorn. 

And, voila!  That was is!  It took me less than an hour from start to finish to make three double sided batches of this corn. Now it’s bagged up and ready to serve tonight. I hope they like it as much as I do!
Before I close, here’s the promised recipe for the caramel corn. 

Popcorn Balls (or No Oven Needed Caramel Corn)
Recipe from my mom
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter or margarine 

1/2 cup corn syrup (light or dark)

1/2 teaspoon salt

A few drops of food color (optional, I didn’t add any)

8-10 cups popped popcorn
Heat all ingredients except popcorn to simmering in a Dutch oven or a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in popcorn taking care to remove any unopposed or partially popped kernels. Cook, stirring constantly until popcorn is well coated, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly. 
If making caramel corn, spread popcorn on a parchment covered cookie sheet and let cool.  Is making zebra corn, break into pieces once the corn is cool. Then drizzle with chocolate of your choice. I used dark and white melting chocolate. Store in a sealed container or bag. 
If making popcorn balls, while popcorn is still warm enough to shape, but is cool enough to handle without getting burned, dip hands in cool water and shape mixture into 8 popcorn balls about 2 1/2 inch in diameter. Place on waxed or parchment paper. Cool completely. Wrap individually or place in plastic bags and tie or seal. 
This is particularly fun for Halloween and a throwback to the days of homemade treats given out alongside store bought candy. 
Hope you enjoy this fun recipe!


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