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Saving chicken remains for stock?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Assuming chicken properly cooked and nothing exotic used to season or otherwise prepare it (rubbed in butter, salt, pepper maybe fresh rosemary or parsley), what is the maximum length of time that chicken remains which are frozen that same day, can be stored in the freezer in order to make chicken stock at a later date?

Also is there any part of the chicken that shouldn't be added to stock - e.g skin?

I ask because I prefer to buy smaller sized, free range/organic birds from time to time rather than a big, cheaper product more frequently, so I think waiting until I have enough material from 2 or 3 birds seems an appropriate thing to do before making a stock.

Thanks,
Andy.
post #2 of 16
3 months would be a good guideline (someone else please pop in if I'm wrong!).

Lose the skin, although if I'm roasting the carcases first, I leave it in for flavour. But it does mean more work skimming the fat later and the stock won't be as clear.

Get as much air as you can out of the freezer bag as possible before freezing - easy way to do this is to put chicken into plastic bag, put bag in a sink of water (open end OUT of water, of course!), then close the bag as close as you can. Water pressure forces the air out - simple.
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Many thanks DC Sunshine.
post #4 of 16
For me, I place chicken in the ziplock bag, removing the air. I place it into the freezer, and continue to do this until I open my freezer door and a chicken carcass flies out at me. I know then that it is time to make stock.

Going this way, I generally make stock about 1 time a month. It works well for me.

As for skin, leave it on. You want to clear out excess fat, like on the "pope's nose", but for the rest, you are adding in the nutrients from the skin that way. (Ever wonder what it is that makes chicken soup good medicine? I hear it is from the fat.)

Anyhow, I hope that helped out.

I don't want to toot my own horn, but if you search Flickr.com with the term "Jason Sandeman" under "people" and you will find some pictures with instructions on what I do.

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

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Jason Sandeman

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post #5 of 16
I agree with Jason: if the chicken is already cooked, leave the skin on. Much of the fat has already rendered out, and you get good glace by leaving it in. Just be a little assiduous about skimming and you're all set.

I also agree with DC Sunshine: 3 months is a good rough limit. It's about the limit on home freezers for chicken stock, so it should be similar for cooked chicken. You don't need to worry that it's going to give you diseases -- it's not anaerobic, so you won't get botulism, and for salmonella and stuff you're going to cook it well above the safety level. The only worry is that it may go off and taste bad, and I think in a few months it's not going to do that significantly. Just be sure to freeze it right away and you should be fine.
post #6 of 16
I vacuum bag the carcass and when I have 4 or 5 pull it out to make stock. I have kept it frozen for 6 months with no flavor change.
post #7 of 16
** As long as you can take the stock out and bring it to a boil, maybe once a month I think it is, the stock could theoretically last indefinately!
I believe that's what my chef told me back in culinary school.
Works with stock in the fridge as well, as long as you take it out and bring it a boil and chill it again, it will last longer.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your comments - brilliant feedback as usual. :cool:
post #9 of 16
I would add one comment to the idea of saving unfrozen stock and just boiling it now and then.....

the boiling may kill off some - probably not all of the nasties that may be growing in there (?) - but the taste is certain to get unpleasant.
post #10 of 16
About freezing storage duration... it all depends on the equipment.

If you store frozen food in a refrigerator freezer (with a defrost cycle) in 2 to 3 months fat rancidity may appear (bad taste) because of the numerous freeze thaw cycles.

For long duration storage, a chest freezer set at below 18C (0F) or lower is ideal. Technically frozen food may last many many months even years in a chest freezer that never has a defrost cycle.

Hope this helps?
Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #11 of 16
The OP asked if there was any chicken parts that shouldn't be included for chicken stock. I omit the giblets, especially the liver. They give an "off" taste to the finished product. Definately include the skin, though, especially if it's been browned. Although the broth won't be as "white" as some chefs migh like, you'll get good rich flavor from it.
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post #12 of 16
Good point: no liver. Bitter and dominant.

Storing in the fridge: you must bring it to the boil every three days or so or you will start to get sour flavors. Obviously, as noted, the boiling will kill anything alive, but it's still going to taste nasty.

Storing in the freezer: Luc's comments explain a good deal, and match every bit of evidence I know of as well as every bit of advice I've heard from those few people I think immensely trustworthy on stuff like this. So: fridge freezer, 3 months. Chest freezer at normal temperatures, longer, but be careful; Luc, would you guess 6 months maybe? Chest freezer at deep-freeze temperatures, indefinitely.
post #13 of 16
what would be normal temperature? below -4C but above -18C (25F to 0F)?
(by the way I made a mistake conversion mistake above -18C is 0F not -28F.... I will edit and correct)

anything below 18C or 0F in a chest freezer (opens like a coffin) without a freeze-thaw cycle and opened sparingly can be kept for a very long time (6months plus easily... even 1 to 2 years).

Upright freezers are tricky though because since cold air is denser than warm air, everytime you open the freezer all the cold air spills out which almost imitates a defrost cycle.

Note: Ice cream stores very long in a chest freezer... nice to know when it is on special. Without a freezer thaw cycle, there is no ice crystal formation.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #14 of 16
When I get home in a week, I'll check the temperature in my basement chest freezer. My recollection is that it's not as cold as this, but it's been a year since I was in that house, and longer since I looked at the specs or anything.
post #15 of 16
My 2 chest freezers run at -10 or so. Add in vacuum packing the carcass and I wouldn't be afraid of a year in storage.
post #16 of 16
I do the same! just try to make sure that you use it as quick as possible or else you are going to loose the flavor after a long period of time.
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