Poultry Bone Broth & Food Safety

This year’s turkey was a 12 pound, free-range, organic bird from Trader Joe’s that cooked perfectly. After our table feast, I immediately prepare the turkey for the refrigerator & the carcass for bone broth.

Poultry Bone Broth

  • Roasted Turkey (or other poultry) carcass broken into pieces with a meat cleaver to release minerals from the bones. Include the herbs and vegetables you roasted with the turkey & any extra gravy.
  • 2 large carrots, cleaned but unpeeled, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 5 large stalks of green celery cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled, cut into large chunks
  • 1 leek, green and white chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 6 whole alspice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 springs thyme
  • 5 large springs parsley
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon iodized sea salt
  • Filtered water

Place bones in a large stock pot. Add water to about 4 inches above the bones. Add all remaining ingredients. Check water level to be sure it’s at least 2 inches above the ingredients. Over high heat, bring to a boil quickly, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to a barely visible simmer. This take a bit of checking to get the temperature exact. It is IMPORTANT to check and be sure it is always simmering to insure this food’s safety.

Simmer, uncovered, 24 hours. Yep 24 hours. While I am awake, I stir the broth occasionally & check to insure I have a teeny bubble simmer & that the water level is still about 2 inches above the ingredients. So by the time I go to sleep I am sure the cooking temperature is accurate. Broth making for smaller birds works well in a crock pot or an instant pot.

MY SERVSAFE FOOD PROCTOR SAFETY NOTE: Poultry broths should be kept HOT (=/+165°F) or COLD (=/- 39°F/Refrigerator Temperature) for optimum safety. So preparing properly for freezing or refrigeration is critically important.

After 24 hours, I bring the broth back to a rolling boil for about 2 minutes. Then I remove the pot from the heat & immediately cool.

Although the official “safety timeline” is cool soup from 140°F to 70°F in 2 hours & from 70°F to 40°F in no more than 4 hours, I work fast after my broth is ready to store by straining out the ingredients & spreading them out in a large baking pan & setting them aside to cool for my https://compostnow.org bin & treats for Lucy, my dog. (I’ll sort carrots & meat bits for Lucy or if the bones are totally soft, I’ll Blendtec the whole mess once it cools for her to enjoy as “Lucy Goo.” I take the same care in freezing Lucy’s Goo as I do for the bone broth.)

I use one of three methods to cool the broth. 1) Preferred — I pour the remaining hot broth into stainless steel bowls & set these into larger stainless steel bowls filled with ice & water. I stir these until the broth has cooled to about 65°F (room temperature or cooler). This takes about 30 minutes. 2) or I spread the soup into a very large shallow pan to cool. 3) or I add ice directly to the broth to cool or use an ice wand (on Amazon) to stir the broth cool. Or some combination of the above.

Then I divide the soup into straight sided ball jars, leaving 1″ of head room. I freeze or refrigerate the jars of broth without lids as the condensation in a closed container may also encourage bacteria*. I label the lids with “Turkey (or whatever) Broth” & the date & close the jars as soon as they are 40°F or frozen.

NEVER place hot broth in the fridge or freezer as it will raise the temperature of the appliance; the broth will cool from the outside edges to the center, causing opportunity for bacteria to grow in the warm center. AND the warm broth will raise the temperature of the refrigerator or freezer causing potential for bacterial growth in your other foods.

*When you receive take out food that is hot – immediately remove the lid as condensation may reach the perfect temperature encourage bacterial growth. Also, be sure to cool that food, using the above guidelines for broth, before putting it in the fridge.

All foods require careful temperature control. One that surprised me — RICE is very often a culprit for bacterial growth.

The process for bone broth is WORTH the steps. Enjoy!