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Today, I want to share a recipe with you that I believe should be added to every homesteader’s repertoire, Chicken Feet Bone Broth! If you are a homesteader that raises chickens for meat, you will end up with a ton of extra feet on butchering day. Although your dogs may enjoy them as a treat, so can you. Transform those feet into a delicious nourishing bone broth that is good for you and your family! If you aren’t in the season where you can raise your own meat yet, but it is a future goal of yours, you need to learn this too! You can use store bought chicken feet to build your skills as a homesteader in the kitchen.
Chicken Bone Broth Vs Chicken Broth
You may be wondering what makes this bone broth instead of just chicken broth or chicken stock. Well the answer is simple. Normal chicken broth or stock is made from simmering bones for just a handful of hours. On the other hand, chicken bone broth is made by simmering the bones for a minimum of 12 hours, but up to 48 hours. Generally speaking, chicken stock has more added ingredients (usually vegetables) than chicken bone broth. However, this is not always true and comes down to preference.
Bone broth is widely accepted as more nutritious than regular broth because it contains higher levels of gelatin and nutrients that have been extracted from the bones due to the slow, prolonged cooking.
Why Use Chicken Feet?
“Ewww! Why would you use chicken feet? That’s nasty!” questioned my friend. Well friends, I hate to break it to you, but chicken feet are actually incredibly nutritious. Although I agree that it is off-putting to work with chicken feet, it is definitely worth it. Here are my top reasons for using chicken feet!
- Chicken feet are full of collagen. Collagen turns into gelatin when cooked. Gelatin has been linked to multiple health benefits. Although those benefits are still being studied, here is what we know. Gelatin improves joint pain, hair and skin health, gut health, bone health, and brain function. There are other less studied benefits, but that alone is enough to convince me that it is valuable! Check out this well-researched article if you want to dive into gelatin more.
- Chicken feet are often wasted in the United States. I live in the U.S. and in general eating ALL of an animal is not something done in our culture. Almost everyone will buy chicken breast or thigh, but almost no one will buy chicken feet. That means the supply is more than the demand, which means a lot of those feet end up as waste.
- Chicken feet are usually very affordable. Lucky for us, basic economics tells us that when supply is more than demand, the price goes down. That makes this amazing nutrient dense food available to those of us on a budget!
Where Should I Get Chicken Feet?
Chicken feet, also called chicken paws, can be found in a number of places. I live in a big city, so it is not hard for me to come by them at our local Whole Foods. They are also sold by numerous other stores, including Walmart. If you have a local asian market, this is a great place to check. Although they are “gross” here, chicken feet are considered a delicacy in China!
If you live more rurally and do not have easy access to chicken feet at your local stores, you can check out Azure Standard. They carry organic chicken feet in bulk. They also carry carcasses, necks, and backs of chickens which you can also use to make bone broth!
Now if you’re a homesteader, there is a really obvious way to get chicken feet. Raise chickens! When you process your meat birds, you will end up removing the feet. Don’t let them go to waste! Save them and turn them into this delicious bone broth! Even if you currently are not in a season of life where you are raising meat birds, you may be able to get chicken feet from a fellow homesteader. One of our local friends was hosting a community butchering day. They allowed us to take home all of the chicken feet for free simply for helping process the birds!
I recommend getting organic, pasture-raised chicken feet if at all possible. You will be extracting everything from those feet during the cooking process, so you want to make sure you’re not starting with a contaminated product.
How Do You Prepare Chicken Feet?
The answer to this question depends on what chicken feet you have. In my experience, almost all store-bought chicken feet will come already skinned and most come with the toenails removed. If they do not have skin, they are ready to use! However, if you raised your own chickens or purchased them with the skin, you will probably want to peel them.
Peeling Chicken Feet
Peeling the chicken feet is technically an optional step. The skin will not make you ill or ruin your broth, but depending on where your feet are from, they may be incredibly hard to clean. In my experience, it is less work to peel the chicken feet than to try to thoroughly scrub each one. Even with my best attempts to get the feet clean, I simply could not remove all the caked on mud and manure. Chicken feet are scaly, and the dirt can easily get under the scales, making scrubbing useless. Due to this, I highly recommend just peeling your chicken feet.
To peel your chicken feet, you will need to work in batches. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a few chicken feet at once. Boil the feet for 15-30 seconds, then immediately submerge them in cold water to prevent them from cooking. DO NOT BOIL FOR LONGER THAN 30 SECONDS! The skin will be nearly impossible to remove. Guess how I figured that one out (; You should be able to peel them fairly easily. If you cannot, you may need to reduce your blanching time. 15-20 seconds was the sweet spot for me!
Do not worry about removing every single scale and piece of skin from the feet. Like I said before, this is technically not necessary. As long as you feel comfortable with how clean the feet are, it is okay to leave some skin behind!
Some people recommend removing the toenails of your chicken feet at the first knuckle. They say it helps the collagen release from the feet better. I personally think this step is a waste of your time and energy. If you cook the broth for long enough, there will be plenty of collagen released, regardless of whether or not you clip the toes!
How Do I Store Chicken Bone Broth?
The answer to this question is that it depends! Looking to use it right away? Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to about 5 days. Do you want to save it for later? If this is the case you have two options: either freeze it or pressure can it.
Freezing Chicken Bone Broth
If you choose to freeze it, be sure to use either a straight sided jar or a plastic container to make sure you don’t end up with glass breaking in your freezer. You can also use a silicone mold. I have been wanting to try these Souper Cubes for years. If you give them a try, let me know how it went for you in the comments below!
Pressure Canning Chicken Bone Broth
If you choose to can the chicken broth, it must be pressure canned. Since broth is a low acid food, waterbath canning is not considered safe. Chicken bone broth should be pressure canned at 11 pounds of pressure for a duration of 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts. If you are above an altitude of 2,000 feet you will need to adjust your pressure accordingly. When you are filling your jars, leave 1 inch of headspace. Your pressure canner should come with an operating manual. Be sure to follow the directions for your pressure canner to ensure safe usage.
Chicken Feet Bone Broth
- 1 very large pot
- 1 fine mesh strainer
- 5 lbs chicken feet
- 2 onions quarter
- 1 head of garlic cloves smashed
- 1 head of celery cut into ~4 inch pieces
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp peppercorns
- If your chicken feet are not peeled, you will want to peel them. To do this, blanch them in boiling water for 15-30 seconds then place in cold water. Peel the skin away from the feet and discard. For more information see the post above.
- Okay, now everyone has peeled chicken feet! Add the chicken feet to the pot along with the onions , celery, and garlic. Add the bay leaves, apple cider vinegar, salt, and peppercorns.
- Add water to the pot until everything is covered.
- Bring the broth to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Simmer the stock for 12-72 hours. If scum forms on top, skim it off and discard.
- Allow the broth to cool, then strain using a fine mesh strainer.
- Pour the broth into jars. Allow to come to room temperature before refridgerating. It will store fresh in the fridge for at least 5 days.