One of my favorite things about winter is making and eating soup. There’s something so nurturing and hearty about sipping on a homemade, brothy, nutritious mug of something steamy and satisfying. Mmmm.
About a year ago, I posted a blog about making your own super easy stock from leftover chicken bones (in the crock pot). And from that post, Becky (from over at Thoughts From a Daughter of the King), made a comment on how she re-cooks the bones after her stock is made, turning them into mush. And then feeds this to her chickens.
I thought this was a brilliant idea. I hated throwing those bones away, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with them after they’d served their purpose as stock for me. So, I immediately tried Becky’s idea. It’s easy. And the girls loved it.
Here’s all you do:
First, make stock. Read how here.
After you pour off the broth you’ve made, add more water to the bones and vegetables in the crock pot. Allow it to cook for another day or so, until the bones are easily crushable.
Note here: The first time I did this, I didn’t think it worked. I opened the crock pot to see perfectly formed bones inside. Nothing mushy about that. I picked up a bone and applied pressure to it, squeezing it between my forefinger and thumb. It easily crushed in my hand. Looks can be deceiving.
When I first started this double-cooking practice for the hens, I’d then take a potato masher and squash everything up-bones, veggies and all. But somewhere along the line, I switched to my Vitamix. I just dump everything inside and within 2 seconds I’ve got a lovely bone and vegetable pâté of sorts. The Vitamix route is less work, plus it also allows me to feel more comfortable knowing I haven’t missed some of the bones accidently. I don’t want something to get stuck in a throat. I’d feel terrible about that (this has never happened in all the months I used the potato masher…so maybe I just worry too much).
I don’t know how many of you plan on a turkey for Christmas, but this would also work for that (although you might have to get creative to fit it in your crock pot).
I love being able to utilize 100% of those bones (and the veggies cooked with them). There’s just something so completely satisfying about not wasting a good thing. My hens are thrilled with the process as well.
Yay for good ideas! And thanks, again, Becky!