This post is a follow-up to the recent article 5 Reasons Why Your Stock Won’t Gel. In the comments section of that post, several people expressed concern about leaving a simmering stockpot on the stove for the number of hours required to ensure a quality, gelatinous end result.
One gal mentioned that her husband was a firefighter and that leaving a stockpot simmering overnight or while they were out of the house was completely out of the question.
If leaving a stockpot on the stove on low heat, continuously simmering for anywhere from 6-50 hours depending on the type of stock is in any way a concern, you have a couple of options.
Option number one is to make fish stock. Fish stock is very fast and you can make a quick gallon of it in only 4 hours.
Option number two is to use the Cumulative Time approach for making stock. Monica Corrado, MA CNC and author of the blog Simply Being Well introduced me to this concept recently when I sat in on one of her amazing cooking classes at the Fourfold Path to Healing Conference in Baltimore.
The Cumulative Time approach simply means that the required simmering time for a particular type of stock can either be continuous or broken up into sections that equal the total required duration when added together.
The catch is that each time you start to heat the stock again, you must bring it to a boil, skim the foam, and lower to a simmer. You can’t just bring it to a quick simmer after it’s been off the heat for awhile.
What to Do With the StockPot When It is Off the Heat
The great news is that there is no need to move the stockpot in and out of the refrigerator between simmering sessions on the stove. The reason is that it would take a stockpot 4 hours or more at room temperature before any pathogens started to grow.
Anyone who has made stock before knows that a stockpot with the lid left on will never get to room temperature for 4 hours even if you leave it on the stove for 12 full hours with the heat off.
If the length of time required to make chicken or beef stock has been intimidating to you in the past, try the Cumulative Time approach! Just be sure to keep a little notebook in the kitchen so that you can log the total amount of time the stock has simmered so that you ensure a quality, gelatin rich broth when you are finished.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist