We have been getting whole, cut up chickens lately. (Skin and bone and everything. I mean EVERYTHING. But at least they are cut up.) It's been a good experience. I have to make sure that I plan my meals right so that I have the chicken pieces I need when I need them. So one day we will have white meat and the next something with dark meat. Well, this has been working out pretty nicely. Except, there are some random parts in the packages sometimes. Like wings. Neither of us are wing fans. And sometimes there is a spine, and sometimes it is unidentifiable. Pretty much, if I can't figure out what piece it used to be, I don't really want to eat it. (And the butt meat. I don't eat chicken or turkey butt- ok, tail. I know some people think it is awesome. I don't.) So all these parts have been going in the freezer in a bag for chicken stock. Today, I made it. I threw all the pieces in the crock pot with some celery and onion and carrot remnants (also salvaged from otherwise edible pieces). I added a bay leaf and some salt and pepper and cooked it on high for an hour (mostly to get it going, the chicken was still frozen) and then on low for about 9 more. We strained it and now it is cooling. An hour plus after straining, it is still a pleasantly warm, edible temperature. It is pretty tasty too. (Do you know how hard it was to make myself taste it? Just thinking about how it was "inedible" parts made it difficult to actually taste it. But the parts weren't rotten, just not something I wanted to eat as chicken. Of course, I know exactly which pieces went into my stock. All bones, skin, and actual meat. No organs or feathers. That should make me like it more than a store bought stock.) Tonight I am going to put it in the fridge, the fat will rise, I'll skim most of that off, and then portion the rest and freeze it. I'm not quite sure how to freeze it yet. Some people put them in ice cube trays. I have two. It would take me ALL DAY! Some people put them in baggies. I did that with my cream of mushroom soup, and it worked, but took an awful lot of baggies. I have almost 4 quarts. If I freeze it in 1 cup portions (slightly less than a can), even subtracting for ice cubes of stock, I would need maybe 10 baggies. Ooh, idea. Maybe my muffin tray would work. Actually, I think I read about someone using that at some point. I will have to try it! I also need a second muffin tray. I only have one. It sucks sometimes. Like when I want to make multiple batches of banana bread muffins, and have to only make one, or make one in a loaf, or try to use my silicon cups. Which work great, but can be a hassle to fill with something like banana bread batter. I'll keep watching smiths. I snagged some brand new cookie trays for $1.25 each! I know. You are jealous. (Alann has ruined both of the ones we had. One has a giant burned on crusty rusty spot, and the other is getting rust from being left in a sink of water for too long.) I would love to get some of the quality ones, the stainless steel that become non-stick with use, but I will deal with teflon non-stick for now.
Of course, now I have a strainer full of random pieces of chicken. And I am having a hard time throwing it out. I don't want to eat it, but it feels wasteful to not use it for SOMETHING. Of course, it is all used up, it's spent. There is not much good stuff left anymore. So I will throw it out. Tomorrow, when I can take the trash out shortly thereafter. But it still feels weird.