Snowflake by snowflake, as the snow settles in, life has taken a sweet turn for the slower things. My sourdough starter is bubbling away, crochet needles are once again pulling yarn, and slowly simmering, humbly set aside on the back of my range, is homemade broth that brings comfort and nourishment to every meal.
Yes, in this season, I make a rich and savory batch of broth from bones made up of ligaments, cartilage, meat, collagen, and fat about once a week … sometimes, every other week. Knowing the health benefits that are in a properly prepared batch of homemade broth makes it especially important for me to use it frequently in my cooking, especially to keep up the immunity of my family during this cold and flu season.
For quite some time, I would make a batch of broth, strain it, let it gel in the refrigerator overnight, separate the fat, and then freeze it in 2 cup portions. This process took me a bit of time and frankly, as often as I use broth it seemed almost silly to have to freeze it all the time. I do know quite a few people that can their broth instead of freeze it, but that just seemed like another entire step I wanted to avoid.
I’m not sure when but it was through my local Weston Price Foundation Group that I found out that homemade broth can be preserved for up to 6 months in the refrigerator without having to freeze or can it. When I learned this tip, it revolutionized my kitchen.
How to Keep Homemade Broth Preserved for 6 Months … No Canning or Freezing Required!
Each batch of broth starts with good quality bones and meat from a pastured animal. I’m going to show you how I preserve my broth in the refrigerator for up to 6 months with one of my own backyard chickens.
Besides the eggs, one of the best things that you will get from raising backyard chickens is the abundance of fat that grows within. Since I live in a colder climate, I intentionally buy winter hardy birds that can also be considered dual quality birds, meaning that they can be raised for eggs or meat. My girls get large, beautifully plump, filled with golden fat that keeps them warm during the coldest of winters.
As I explained in my butchering post, poultry fat contains the monounsaturated fatty acid palmitoleic acid, which boosts our immune system. Chicken fat has more palmitoleic acid than most other types of poultry. The main monounsaturated fatty acid in poultry fat is oleic acid, well known for its beneficial effects on cholesterol. To top that off, if your chicken has been pastured on grass and weeds, its fat also has a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin d.
Just look at how much fat is carried underneath the skin of my heritage breed winter hardy birds.
It’s this fat, accompanied by aromatics that gives my broth such rich flavors, made deep and golden.
Once your batch of broth is made, in order to preserve it for up to 6 months without canning or freezing, all you have to do is ensure that a good 1/2″ or so of this rendered fat sits atop of each jar or container that you strain your broth into.
If you have good quality pastured meat with a good amount of fat, this is as simple as just straining the broth into the jars and watching the fat float to the top.
Once each jar is filled, place a lid on it and refrigerate it. Once refrigerated, the fat on top will harden and seal the broth below.
The fat on top eliminates any air and will keep your homemade broth preserved in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
That’s really it. Just make sure that you don’t puncture the fat. Once air is let in, the broth will remain good for a few days in the fridge.
Now, one thing. Once you grab for a jar of broth, make sure to gently remove the fat and save it in another jar. Soon enough you’ll have a jar filled with nourishing fat that you can use to fry up potatoes or roast vegetables.
It’s so, so good … your immune system will thank you and you’ll have the added bonus of omega 3 and vitamin d.
I originally shared this from my instagram account. So many people were interested that I decided to make a blog post about it. If you’d like to keep up with tips like this and other things I’m constantly doing in my kitchen, make sure to follow me on instagram.
(Disclaimer: I personally use my stock quickly. It’s not in my refrigerator for more than 3 weeks. If you’re not going to be using your stock in that amount of time, I would personally encourage you to freeze it. For legality reasons, botulism can occur so proceed at your own risk.)