chicken stock - how long does it keep?
I made some great chicken stock in my crockpot and then drained and put in the fridge. Completely forgot to put in ice cubes and put in freezer. So, how long does refrigerated home-made chicken stock keep? Thanks.
Much depends on how much salt is in it, but I'd say at least 5 days. If it doesn't smell "off", I'd use it. Bring it to a good boil, to be on the safe side. Then either use it, or cool and freeze. Recommended storage times for food are usually laughably short, in my experience. Recently I "forgot" a Costco's rotisserie chicken in the fridge. It was there for 6 days and I was surprised that it was just fine - no slimey surface, no bad smell. We ate it without any ill-effects, and I've frozen the carcass for future inclusion in the stockpot. Frozen, I'd estimate at least 3 months. The top layer of fat will eventually get rancid even in the freezer, but if you remove it before thawing, the stock will be usable even after 3 months.
I'm the master of forgotten chicken stock. Believe me, it lets you know when it's gone bad. It's a smell you won't soon forget.
I'm pretty careful about cross-contamination, and frequently let stock sit in the fridge for a week at a time. With a good fat cap it can last a lot longer than that. (Note: I'm assuming that you're going to be cooking with the stock. If you're going to be eating it as a cold aspic, I'd definitely recommend simmering it for 10 minutes before re-chilling.)
Ditto what everyone else has said, and to add one other thought.
How long stock (or anything really) will keep in your fridge will vary from person to person depending on how cold you keep your fridge.
As has been said, smell it. OK? If so small taste. OK? Then you are good to go. But remember you have used up your holding time.
Now, so you don't have to worry about that from frozen back to using period. Give it a good 15 minutes on simmer before you stow it in the freezer.