Thursday, December 5, 2013

Canning Turkey Bone Broth

I almost didn't write this blog post... ONE... I didn't remember to take very many pictures of the process... and TWO... it's so easy, I wasn't sure anyone would benefit from it... but, then, I thought maybe someone, who has never attempted to do anything with a leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass, would indeed have a thing or two to learn.

After Thanksgiving dinner, after we had eaten our fill of turkey and all the trimmings, and after my out of town family had made themselves to-go plates to take home (at my request!)... I was left with a naked carcass... mostly just the bones... with small bits of meat here and there. I had also purchased, while they were on sale, a second turkey, which I split in half down the middle and smoked in our electric smoker (major YUMMINESS!)

I decided to make turkey bone broth from the remainders of our delicious Thanksgiving feast.

I got out my huge stockpot and put the bird carcass inside... I chopped up 4 or 5 stalks of celery (I like to include the leaves, they're so flavorful), a couple of onions (peelings and all)... I would have included a few carrots but I didn't have any and was NOT going to the store on Black Friday! I added some salt,  and other spices (garlic powder, peppercorns, a couple bay leaves... thyme would have been good, but I didn't think of it, wish I had! And parsley! Parsley would be good too!) That's how brainless turkey stock is... you just throw in a bunch of yummy stuff!

I added water to the stockpot, covering all the ingredients inside completely... I heated the mixture to boiling, then lowered the heat and let it simmer on low for several hours (I think I simmered for 6-8 hours... longer would be fine), I also added just a little splash of apple cider vinegar to help draw out the flavor from the bone marrow (doesn't give it a vinegar flavor, I promise!)

After all that simmering, a rich broth began to surround all the bones, meat, skin, and veggies. Smelling GOOD!

I strained the veggies out through a colander to get the big pieces, then again through cheesecloth to get all the small bits.

After the strained out carcass and veggies cooled, I picked all the little bits of meat left behind... and had a turkey sandwich!

I left the broth to cool overnight (refrigeration would be best, but my fridge was still mighty full!)... if you don't like turkey fat in your broth, refrigerating will solidify (sort of) the fat and it will float to the top so it can be skimmed off. I personally like a little fat in my broth, so I didn't skim mine very much.

I fed the scraps to my chickens... they thought it a delightful treat! (I've heard tell that some folks grind up the bones afterwards to make bone meal to add to their gardens... this time I was not THAT industrious!)

I brought the rich broth back up to a boil and began filling my hot, sterilized quart canning jars, leaving about an inch headspace. I tightened on my hot, sterilized lids, to fingertip tightness.

I processed the quarts of broth in my pressure canner at 10-11 pounds pressure for 25 minutes (pints would be 20 minutes).

After processing, I let the pressure in my canner drop back down to ZERO slowly and naturally (didn't want any liquid loss, aka siphoning, by force cooling the canner).

I removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel to cool and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar... LOVE the PING!

From two turkey carcasses, I ended up with 14 quarts of rich, yummy broth,
PLUS enough to add to the smoked turkey I canned the next day!


  1. Thank you for your was very helpful. I tossed the turkey carcass into the freezer and was wondering about canning broth. Blessings Country Mouse

  2. Great minds think alike! I just chucked a turkey carcass into the crockpot to make stock. When I returned to my computer, I saw your stock post was up!

  3. Interesting. My father-n-law told me that people pressure cook the carcass until nothing remains but a good soup stock. Meaning the bones are all in the broth he said that is what they used to do. I also had a client that concurred on that and he was 97.

  4. Thanks for this. I just came across your blog by chance and am excited to start on some of these things! If my kitchen had more storage I would be ever so grateful! :)

  5. Can you list some suggestions for using the broth?

  6. KPetitto--use the broth instead of water in anything you make. Great for soups, stews, gravies, sauces, steaming vegetables, rice, stuffing, stuffed peppers/cabbage.

    Granny-so glad you posted. I did not know about the ACV.

  7. I don't actually can mine any more. I freeze it in muffin tins, then pop them out, freezer bag them, and back into the freezer. Works well and cuts down on the amount of canning I end up doing. Also like that each one is ~ 2/3 of a cup so it is easy for me to grab whatever I need without having leftover bit to deal with.

  8. I also can my chicken and turkey broths! It's amazing how much better simple things like rice and soup taste with this addition instead of water. Great post!

  9. What a wonderful use of the turkey carcass! Sadly, I never thought of using it but I will be in the future. Thanks for the information

  10. As always, thank you for posting this. I lost my Ball canning book a couple years ago and while I know the process of making the stock, I can't always remember the times for pressure canning. I can always count on your blog for reliable information.

  11. You are my go to, Granny, when canning anything! Thank you so much for being here!


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