homemade chicken stock

Hi All,

I made some homemade chicken stock for the first time the other day. I used chicken feet from pasture-raised chickens that I had to peel some remaining yellow skin off of, and I also cut off the hard-to-remove callouses on the pads of the feet. I blanched them quickly, cut off the claws, and threw them in my slow cooker with some onions, a little salt, a tablespoon of vinegar, and a carrot and let them go on "low" for 18 hours. I strained the broth, and let it boil rapidly for a little bit to reduce it a little bit more and get any remaining fat and impurities that might have gotten through the strainer.

I noticed that there was a bit of an "off" smell when it was boiling. It wasn't bad, offensive, or repulsive, but more of a really subtle smell, such as when butter is left out on the counter for a while and picks up some "off" flavors.

I froze my stock in ice-cube trays, but now I'm wondering...is it safe to eat? Or should I start over?



  • Posted by: B.
  • December 6, 2014


B. December 10, 2014
Thanks, all, for your help! :)
Jennifer December 10, 2014
It will be safe. However, given that the odor is off to you, will you enjoy eating it? That's another matter. I suspect that the concentrated odor will be just right when you add a cube or two to some dish, but you won't know until you actually cook with the stock...
ChezHenry December 7, 2014
18 hours might be the issue here. Chicken bones dont need anywhere near that long to create great, gelatinous stock. 4 hours is more than sufficient, I usually stop around 3.
Susan W. December 7, 2014
She used a slow cooker. I do the same and often go 18 hours. You end up with a beautiful golden gelatinous stock.
ChezHenry December 9, 2014
Thanks! I missed the slow cooker part!!!
Susan W. December 9, 2014
It's all that speed reading. :)
Susan W. December 6, 2014
Bone broth has a "boney" smell. It's hardto describe, but it's a different aroma than a roast chicken. If the chicken is from a reputable source and you know it wasn't spoiled to begin with, I'm sure it's fine. Any farmer who goes to the trouble of pasturing their animals is also surely careful about the handling of the butchered parts.
Susan W. December 6, 2014
I had two more thoughts. I don't always add them, but when you include onion, carrot, celery, parsley, peppercorns and a bay leaf (or just one or more of those), it adds a complexity to the aroma of the cooking stock. I think it makes the flavor just a little sweeter.

Also, as you continue to reduce it, the boney aroma becomes stronger. I do the same thing so it takes up less room in my freezer.
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