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store bought chicken stock, which brand? Here for six-weeks and not going to start stocking my mother's freezer with home-made...

I'm in the US for our summer sojourn and doing some cooking at my mother's. Stunned to find that EVERY single box of chicken stock/broth at Whole Foods has added sweetening, either sugar or honey and most have a ton of salt. Ended up buying Pacific Natural organic free-range low sodium broth because it had the lowest sodium of anything there (not that I'm on a low-sodium diet, but I prefer to season my own damn cooking, thank you very much...) and it's OK, but wondered if you picklers had any better suggestions.

Follow-up question for bonus points: when we're talking store-bought in the box in the US, is there actually a consistent differentiation between stock and broth products?

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Gator_cake

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

Cook's Illustrated did a taste test of chicken broths about 5 years ago. Their consensus on the best tasting brand was the Swanson's Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. The other ones that got recommended were Better than Bouillon Chicken Base, Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth, and Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth.

lastmealmama added almost 3 years ago

One that I've always liked to use is College Inn. And I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts home of the famed Julia Child, and I once witnessed her in a Star Market buying the same brand so I've always felt confident in that. Though, more than anything that day, I was horrified to see Julia Child buying chicken broth at all...

Favicon2a
a sage amalgam added almost 3 years ago

I like Trader Joe's Organic Chicken Broth (not low/reduced sodium, that one had zero flavor...you should still have plenty of "creative power" with seasoning using this variety, I feel you there). While not the same as homemade, it is full-flavored unlike many canned/boxed varieties.

If you want an ingredient list, I have a box right here.

Sit2
Sam1148 added almost 3 years ago

I use the Swanson low sodium. Tastes pretty good, no sugars. I get in cans unless making a very pot of something. Commonly available at mid-class supermarkets.
Some of the higher class brands just 'try to hard' and end up tasting too complicated. When you want a simple back note.

I really don't care for the boxes for 2 people as I end up tossing half of it after a week or so.

Buddhacat
SKK added almost 3 years ago

I know you said you don't want to stock your Mother's freezer with home made and my question is why not? Chicken stock is so easy to make - why consider store bought? Even Alton Brown has a recipe http://www.foodnetwork... and there are many more in some great cook books. Why complain when you can make your own?

Dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 3 years ago

1. I'm with SKK. So easy to make and freeze.

2. To have seen Julia Child buying in person, how much better can it get!

innoabrd added almost 3 years ago

Thanks, folks, I'll have a look at the Swanson. No Trader Joe's here, so not an option.

As for why I don't want to make my own? Well I often do at home, but I'm not in my own kitchen, with all the bits and bobs I use when I make my own. No scum skimmer, no vacuum bags, etc. Just not worth it. Do you stock the freezer in a vacation rental? Look, if I was making soup or something that really required a lot, I might, but I'm doing a bit of cooking and need a cup of stock here and there. Just too much bother for what I'm doing.

Sit2
Sam1148 added almost 3 years ago

@innoabrd
I'm with you there. Sometimes the canned stuff is 'just fine' for home cooking and you suffer from freezer overload.
I only buy the box stuff when I need a lot of stock. The Swanson 'no sodium' or 'reduced sodium' is perfectly fine brand and widely available.

Wine
the professor added almost 3 years ago

in my opinion the unsalted Kitchen Basics is the absolute only way to go. costs more than swanson/college inn, but well worth it--it's close to homemade.

Debbykalk-photo
latoscana added almost 3 years ago

I think Better than Bouillon is a pretty decent substitute for the real thing.

Zester_003

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 3 years ago

Pacific Natural absolutely fails every test---and I live in the Pacific region. Trader Joe's, they suck too. The best I've tasted from a box is actually Wolfgang Puck's. Okay, you can yuck at the brand name but it's a good product.

nutcakes added almost 3 years ago

I use Swanson's Low Sodium in can or box. I'm pretty sure it came first in a Fine Cooking Magazine test too (may have been the regular but that is too salty for some applications and reductions.). I often keep Better than Bullion jarred paste--it is very handy when small quantities are needed--you can just dig out a teaspoon and drop it in water. Penzy's also has a bullion paste, if you don't have one near, they specialize in mail order. Their spices are veryhigh quality.
http://www.penzeys.com/

Dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 3 years ago

You know, I take back my glib answer about how easy it is to make and freeze. Actually, if you're on vacation and in a potentially ill-equipped kitchen, it isn't easy. Buy whatever is available close to you, and enjoy your mother and your vacation. Bonnes vacances!

Dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 3 years ago

P.S. Worry about something important, like global warming or Michelle Bachman, not chicken stock, and certainly not while you're on vacation.

Dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 3 years ago

Good to know, Pierino. I've avoided it because of the name. Agree, Pacific sucks. And I wish I had a Trader Joe's at which to look down my nose.

innoabrd added almost 3 years ago

Thanks for the further thoughts, guys. BTW, I'm in Denver, which now has a Penzey's and I have to admit I was pretty underwhelmed. My marker here is Savory, which started as a Denver company. I found the staff at Penzey's to be clueless (they seemed shocked that I wanted to taste some of the spices and told me I could only at my own risk. Also, bugged me that their 'Spanish-style smoked paprika was such a poor imitation of the real thing.

Dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 3 years ago

I've been underwhelmed by Penzey's also. Everything is dried, and way too dry. Moral: enjoy your vacation.

CaryNC added almost 3 years ago

I hate to admit it but I've been using Rachel Ray's brand in a box. The ingredients list convinced me to try it. Is it like homemade? No, but in a pinch it does just fine.

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