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Freezing Chicken Stock

I just made a huge pot of chicken stock and it will surely take a while to cool completely before freezing and it's already 8:30 pm. Is it OK to let it cool over night in the fridge and tomorrow morning when I wake up I can begin putting it all into plastic containers to freeze? I read in a couple places that I could leave it out on the stove to cool all night, but I'm hesitant to do that. Suggestions?

Also, is it necessary to remove the fat before freezing and would I be committing a huge chicken stock no-no leaving the fat in place?

Thank you in advance!

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  1. I usually find myself in the same situation. I put my stock in the fridge overnight and freeze it the next day. I usually remove most of the fat, and refrigerating makes this a lot easier. Don't see any reason why you can't leave the fat in if you want it there, though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: lvsnyder

      Oh perfect. I really can't see myself staying awake until 1 a.m. tonight waiting for this to cool down!

      I'll probably skim off most of the fat tomorrow morning when it has cooled, but I'll leave a bit..for flavor purposes... Thanks lvsnyder!

      1. re: rockability

        Been there, done that.

        It's always a crap-shoot if you "loiter" in the 40-to-140 degree range.

        I always try to bulk-break as much as I can to get the product's temp in a safe range.

        I don't get hung up about washing dishes. Four two-quart vessels will move through the danger zone faster than one eight-quart vessel, under the same temperature conditions.

    2. I make lots of stock. I fill the sink with ice water, pour the stock into a big stainless bowl, and put it in the sink. Stir. The stock quickly is chilled to a safe temp. I would never let the stock cool at room temp, or shove it into the fridge -- both approaches are fraught with danger. Chill quickly!

      5 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        How is breaking down a gallon of stock into 4 qt. containers and refrigerating "fraught with danger"???

        1. re: Uncle Bob

          If you put warm stock in the fridge, it will remain in the "danger zone" for too long, increasing the risk of multiplying bacteria. This Food Safety 101 -- info that is one of the first things taught in culinary schools.

          1. re: pikawicca

            But in small amounts (small containers) then the temperature would fall into the safe zone quicker....right?

          2. re: Uncle Bob

            Putting 4 quarts of very warm-to-hot contents in the refrigerator will raise the temp inside the fridge for quite a while, possibly enough to trigger spoilage in other containers of food.

            Depending on where you live, for a good part of the year you may be able to let Ma Nature do the cooling. From October through April in my area, I can put containers and pots on the porch overnight. My dogs discourage wild animals from entering the fenced yard, and I protect the food from the dogs by putting it in a small dog crate (a cat carrier would do the job, too).

            1. re: greygarious

              When I put it in last night, it had already cooled on the stove for a few hours and I found that it had cooled down pretty quickly before I put it in the fridge.

        2. I think you've already gotten the advice you need, but though I throw this in. In an old cookbook I have, the advice is to leave the fat on the stock because it seals the stock. I've frozen stock with fat many times. I do think the stock sometimes breaks through the top of the fat, though. Usually now, I refrigerate it in smaller containers, and use it up. In the freezer I tend to forget it. I know I've kept it for at least 2 weeks in the fridge(I think.).

          1 Reply
          1. re: sueatmo

            Real world situation.

            Every spring I have access to wonderous amounts of crawfish shells. This results in a 20 quart batch of crawfish stock.

            I've found my best possible chilling/keeping/use solution.

            We have beaucoup of the Ziploc red-lid containers from lunchmeat. Exactly two cups go in each and the results get frozen.

            THEN the little two-cup bricks come out and four bricks go into a Ziploc gallon bag.

            Do I need six cups of broth? Easy....three bricks!

          2. As to the fat, how rich do you want the stock and what do you plan on using it for? A bit of fat wouldn't hurt for my purposes.

            I keep a few plastic liter bottles of water in the freezer. When I need to make stock, I take advantage of that to clean the old ice out of the ice maker. I pour the old ice into the sink or a cooler, put the stockpot on top and drop in the frozen bottles of water. It cools down fast.

            But I must admit to the truth, during cool weather, I might take the stock off the heat and let it cool over night. But then again, I'm a librarian. We are known for wild and crazy living, right?

            1. Since you're planning on dealing with it tomorrow anyway, I'll throw you a curve-ball, but if you have a pressure canner, you might consider canning your chicken stock. I used to freeze it, but canned is so more convenient to store and use. Just pop the lid and pour. I still freeze some in ice cube trays, for using just a couple of tbsp at a time. We always skim the fat before canning it.

              ~TDQ

              2 Replies
              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I'm with you TDQ,

                I just did my first batch of "from bones" beef broth and used my pressure canner for the first time to put up "low acid" product!

                I have homemade beef broth just sitting on my damn shelf! Too cool for school!

                I will now can my broth, but still freeze the "leftovers" for immediate/emergency consumption!

                1. re: Monch

                  Exactly! So easy to use. I love it!

                  ~TDQ

              2. I usually cool it down by plunging the pot into a sink full of ice water and then pouring into tupperware containers and put them right into the refrigerator. The next day I skim off the fat and freeze that into another plastic container, and split up the stock into whatever I want (ice cubes, 1 pint size, 1 quart size, etc.). I never kept the fat until I started reading Chowhound and discovered the many uses for chicken fat in my cooking. Keep the fat!!!!

                1. I make and use a lot of stock. I either leave it out overnight (if need be) or divide it into one liter containers, let cool a bit, and stick in the freezer. Never have had a problem.

                  1. Thanks everyone for your help! I just put everything into the freezer divided into 3 ice cube trays and all the rest fit into a bunch of 1 cup ziploc containers.

                    I'll have to look into the pressure canner in the future though.

                    Thank you!