freezing giblets for stock
I've been trying to be more frugal with my ingredients (aren't we all), so I like to try and freeze chicken bones and giblets/necks that come with whole chickens. The problem is that we recently cleaned out the freezer and i found a LOT of frozen chicken parts in their little individual baggies that had disappeared into the back of the fridge. They never got used since I forgot about them, and all the individual bags meant I didn't really know at a glance if I had enough to make some stock or gravy for freezing.
Here is my question: what is your preferred method for storing these frozen bits for future use? Can I continually add raw, unfrozen foods to a bag with already frozen stuff in it, or do you think I'm asking for food poisoning?
I don't use the giblets in stock - maybe I should? I do keep the necks, and throw them in with other bags of frozen carcasses, bone, etc. I do sometimes keep a "running" container of livers, to use in pate. I've not worried about adding raw things to bags of frozen things, but maybe I don't know any better!
No, I don't either--I save those for gravy. I'm less concerned with a hard-nose FDA kind of safety and more so with a practical one. If other people are adding raw things to bags of frozen things (and they aren't dead yet) then I think I'll do it to.
If all your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge.... :)
Adding new baggies to old won't hurt safety-wise, but flavor will deteriorate over time even if there isn't obvious freezer burn.
Best to remove the liver and save separately - some people don't like what they do to the flavor and color of stock. When I roast poultry I do what my mother did, which is to dice the liver and sautee it with the onions and celery going into the stuffing. The neck, heart, and gizzards go into the roasting pan where they give up most of their goodness to the pan juices. The heart and gizzards either get minced and included in gravy, or join the cooked neck for inclusion in the stockpot now, or in the freezer for future stockmaking.
I keep a heavy freezer grade ziplock for gizzards and hearts in the freezer because I like them. I add to them as I get them and cook them up with onions for lunch or supper when I get enough for a meal. A special treat because they're really good.
I've never had a problem with freezer burn and can't think of any reason in the world why there would be a problem with food poisoning. They're fresh, then they're frozen, and then I cook them up.
Now, if they're rattling around in a bag with carcasses, that's a lot of exposed surface area and you would be more likely to get some freezer burn on such small bits. I think I'd freeze them separately.
Livers really aren't good for stock. They disintegrate and make the stock grainy or whatever word you want to use. Not very appetizing.
I rarely find innards in my chickens for some reason. I guess they keep them. I have a ziploc bag in the freezer and I continually add things to it until it is full. I add chicken carcasses, onion carrot fennel cuttings, everything I think would taste good. When the bag is full, I make stock. In fact, that is what I did this morning. As far as I know, salmonella is killed with cooking so no worry about food poisoning. I usually add cold stuff to the freezer bag so there shouldn't be any worry anyway.
Funny you should ask, given what I've been doing when you posted. Pairs of whole chickens have been the cheapest I've seen them (or any chicken) here: about $1.25/lb. The giblets include the feet. So I toss all in just enough water to simmer; then take out when ready and drain the necks, hearts (if included), gizzards, and livers to just enjoy them with hot rice and HOT sauce. I let the feet go on as the stock reduces. The result is a gelatinous and fairly quick stock. I give the cooked feet (along with everything else I own) to my latest ex-wife.
I should qualify: I freeze chicken bones for stock and everything else for GRAVY. No, I don't put liver in stock either (I don't put it into gravy for that matter). I separate the bones from everything else, but I was wondering if I could continuously throw new things into the bags of frozen stuff, and the consensus seems to be yes. Yay!