If you read my last post about chicken stock, you know that I make a LOT of stock.
I use it to cook all kinds of things, from rice, to soup, and even a couple of savory bread recipes!
However, our stock consumption is a bit lower during the hot summer months, which results in a bit of a build up in my freezer. In theory, this is awesome, because once the weather cools down, we use up stock in the blink of an eye. In reality, it’s a bit trickier than that though. Late summer is when our freezer fills up to the brim with garden produce, and it is also when we usually get our beef share. So, I don’t really have much room to store all this lovely extra stock.
After a little research and experimenting, I found this awesome little solution that makes my life easier on SO many fronts!
Storing my stock as bouillon cubes is better for 3 huge reasons:
- As I said above, it takes up SO much less room. You can fit the stock made from an entire chicken carcass into a pint jar when you use this method! Talk about saving freezer space!
- It eliminates the need to use yucky plastic ziplock bags, or multiple bulky mason jars for storage.
- Last but not least, this was an unexpected benefit. You don’t have to thaw out the stock for hours before you plan to use it! You just grab a couple of bouillon cubes from the freezer (or the pantry), add them to some hot water, and you are good to go!
Here is how you do it:
Take your completed and strained stock (Chicken, Fish, or Beef), and place it in a large pot. I always just put it back into the pot I just finished making the stock in.
Bring to a rolling boil and boil it until it has reduced to 1/3 of the original amount. It will become a light tan color and boil with tiny little bubbles like this:
Once it has reduced, lower the heat, and simmer until it becomes thick and syrup like. The bubbles will become much larger, and it will also be a slightly darker color. Keep a good eye on it, and make sure it doesn’t scorch at this point.
Once you have a thick syrupy liquid, let it cool for 30 minutes in the pot.
At this point, you can either chill the bouillon, and cut into cubes for the freezer, or dehydrate it and store at room temperature.
If you are making cubes for the freezer, pour the bouillon onto a baking sheet with raised edges.
Let cool in the refrigerator for around 1-2 hours, or until hardened.
Depending on exactly how much you boiled it down, the bouillon consistency will be anywhere from a really tough jello, or a slightly harder taffy like feel. Either one is perfectly fine.
Cut into 1 inch cubes.
To freeze, place the cubes on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Transfer to a mason jar and store in the freezer.
To dehydrate the bouillon, pour the syrupy liquid onto non-stick dehydrator sheets and dry until all dampness is gone.
Store in an airtight mason jar as chunks or grind in a food processor to make a powder.
Here is some dehydrated bouillon in small chunks that I broke up by hand.
To reconstitute: Add cubes or powder to hot water. Approximately 1 cube to 2 cups of water. Feel free to add more or less water as you desire. You may want different strengths of stock for different recipes.
This method has totally revolutionized my freezer and my meal planning!
No more taking up an entire shelf with bags or jars of stock, and no more thawing for a couple hours in advance of cooking. (I swear that 50% of the time, the jar would break, or the bag would have a hole in it, and make an enormous mess while thawing.)
Happy bouillon making!