Video: Stock That Gels!

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 10, 2012

Since the article 5 Reasons Why Your Stock Won’t Gel was published a few weeks ago, I’ve received numerous questions about how gelled stock should look.

Getting your homemade bone broth, or stock as it is commonly known, to gel is extremely important as it is a clear indicator that you have produced a quality product that will impart all the many health benefits bone broth is known for including pain-free joints, smooth digestion, and beautiful, firm skin.

Should stock jiggle a little or a lot?  Is gelled stock a thick liquid or more solidified?

Instead of trying to answer these questions with words, I thought it might be most effective to just show you some stock I made recently that was nicely gelled after chilling in the refrigerator.

I hope this will give you a clear picture in your mind of how your stock should look.

If you find your stock consistently won’t gel, consider adding some high quality powdered gelatin to ensure that you are getting enough per serving when you use your stock to soak rice, make soups and sauces.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

 

Comments (63)

  1. Jennifer Duggal May 10, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for posting all of your great videos. I really learn a lot from them. Quick question – could putting your stock directly into the freezer impact it’s ability to gel? I’ve been making stock for a while, typically putting it in the refrigerator first and it gelled up wonderfully. This last batch I put in the freezer and when it defrosted…nothing! Maybe it’s just a bad batch. Just wanted to get your thoughts on this.

    Reply
      • Jennifer Duggal May 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

        Sarah, thanks for your quick reply. I’ll try boiling it down. I usually just eyeball the water, maybe I need to be more precise with it in the future!

        Reply
      • I also made My first batch of chicken broth but i doesnt gel and the fat doesnt layer on top when its cooked down. I’m afraid its Been on to high temperature although i’ve kept it on 1-3 (out of 9 possible). I’m trying to boil it down now to see if perhaps i usel too much Water. Should the lid be on or off when trying to reduce liquid?

        Reply
  2. Sarah!
    I am so in love with what you are doing. Thank you for being a true leader of Dr. Price’s and Sally’s message!

    Reply
  3. My chicken stock rarely gels because I can’t find pastured chicken feet and I use too much water. But it doesn’t matter to me as it is still deeply nourishing and I can just add some Great Lakes gelatin to it.

    Reply
  4. Violet Revo via Facebook May 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

    How big is your stock pot? I am working with a 5 quart crock pot and a hot plate that cannot sustain a simmer very well. :/

    Reply
  5. Question!

    I was cleaning my fridge out yesterday. I placed the stock on the counter and forgot about it. The stock was coming from the fridge not heated up. I left my stock on the counter until the next night about 24 hrs. later. I am assuming that the stock is bad?? Or could I boil it and use it??

    Reply
  6. In the last 6 months that I’ve been making stock, I only had one batch that gelled perfectly. It was made of a huge red snapper that is so hard to find here in Toronto. Even when I take 2-3 smaller fish instead, my stock won’t gel. Chicken never, beef never..

    Reply
  7. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful and essential information on your site! I’ve been consuming it daily for several months. Actually made Hindu Lemonade last night based on your video.

    I couldn’t get my stock to gel until I used beef knuckles with a good amount of meat and fat on them. Beef soup bones, chicken, fish, turkey, and rabbit produced a nice stock, but no gel.

    I never thought to have stock for breakfast. I make a smoothie every morning, what do you think about a stock smoothie? It would make a good thickening agent.
    Ryan\’s last post: Ginger Spinach Green Smoothie

    Reply
  8. Thanks for posting this!

    I’ve experimented with making stock from factory-farm chickens while I wait to purchase some pastured chickens from our farmer. The stock has gelled well from some, but not from others. However, the most noticeable contrast between your stock and mine is that yours appears to be more opaque. My gelled stock is light brown, but translucent. Interesting. I can’t wait to get our pastured chickens and make some nourishing stock!
    Our Small Hours\’s last post: Advocating For Our Children

    Reply
    • I’ve read that boiling stock will cause it to be opaque or cloudy in appearance. It’s accidentally happened to me a few times, and I’ve found it to be true. Of course, as we know, a low simmer is best! I know Sarah is very careful in her stock prep, so I’m not sure if this is why the stock in the video is opaque or not. Perhaps the great gel, dense with nutrients, makes it look cloudy when chilled, but clear when heated? This probably doesn’t help answer your question… just thinking out loud here. :)

      Reply
        • The last batch of stock I made didn’t gel and it was cloudy even when it was heated. Is that still okay to use? Any clues as to what caused this?

          Reply
  9. I just made chicken stock and I never knew it was supposed to gel like that. Mine is very much a liquid and I used a fresh chicken with a bunch of chicken feet. Is it still good and nourishing to use now or should I toss it?? Thanks for all your information Sarah!!

    Reply
  10. Hello! I don’t want to sound pedantic here, but it’s called broth if it’s made with bones, and stock if not–chicken broth and vegetable stock. Sally Fallon uses this distinction too, I believe.

    Reply
  11. Oh, people, don’t throw away stock that hasn’t jelled! Wonderful health benefits are still there, from my understanding. I simmer my stock until the bones easily break, assuming that as much nutrition has leached out as can be had. The stock color varies a bit too from time to time, depending on what veggies, & herbs I have added to the simmering stock.

    Reply
  12. Hi,
    I was under the impression that when you reheat a stock you have to bring it to a boil to kill off whatever. Is this true? Wouldn’t boiling destroy the gel? Or like you show in the video just warming it up is fine?

    Reply
  13. So I made my first stock using beef bones. It came out really, really jelled and a grayish color when it cooled. It was about as jelly as jello, do you think I boiled it too long and that might be why it jelled that way?

    Reply
  14. Can anyone in the know advise whether halibut collar is a good alternative to fish heads for making fish stock? It is the neck of a fileted halibut that might still have the thyroid gland attached but I cannot tell because I do not know what fish’s thyroid gland looks like.

    Reply
  15. I always have a crock pot of simmering “Perpetual Bone Broth” going – each batch usually lasts about 5 days. Each time I use some broth I add water to the crock to replace what I’ve taken out. Since it never cools, one doesn’t know if it gels or not. On the fifth day the broth is not as tasty as it is at the beginning of the batch, but the bones are so soft that I’m sure every bit of nutrition is given up to the water. What do you think of this method? I’d love to read your comments. Thanks.

    Reply
  16. Great advice on making stock. I watched your video on what a simmer should look like. Like many of the comments on that video, I have a gas stove and am reluctant to leave it on over night. Would it harm the stock to take it off the heat and refrigerate overnight then put it back on the stove in the morning?

    Reply
  17. It’s funny, we used to make chicken stock for our cats with the left over carcass and it would always gel. Now that I’ve been trying to do it for the humans I’m not having any luck. Thanks for the video!

    Reply
  18. Sarah,
    I was wondering if you can reuse the bones to produce more broth. For example, can I cook a chicken for 12-15 hours and then reuse the bones to make a fresh batch for 12-15 hours?

    Reply
  19. Hey there! Just wondering if you HAVE to put the stock in the fridge to let it gel up, or can u drink it as soon as its done simmering for a day or two? My husband keeps taking spoonfuls from the pot while its simmering and cant wait to eat it but I keep telling him he cant have it til after I put it in the fridge!

    Reply
  20. I roasted chicken drumsticks in coconut oil and some bacon grease at 325 for an hour and the result was a beautiful gelatin all over the bottom of the pan and yummy chicken too! We have had that for breakfast too! I will use the bones left for next broth project in the crock pot.

    Reply
    • wow, roasted chicken drumsticks in coconut oil and bacon grease sounds sooo good. Would you mind sharing the recips, thanks.

      ps I am learning so much wonderful here, thank you everyone!

      Reply
  21. Pingback: Banana Bone Broth Smoothie

  22. I am ripping my hair out trying to figure this out. I have made numerous batches of pastured chicken broth with no gel. I cook my pastured chicken in the crockpot, then roast it at 425 to crisp the skin. I add 3 quarts for water for a 4 pound chicken. I simmer for 18 hours. What am I doing wrong? My broth is much darker than yours. Is there a possibility that I am NOT using ENOUGH water? Is roasting at 425 destroying the collagen?

    Reply
    • I was having the same problem as you before…now I use two carcasses from about 3 pound birds, about 2-3 heads, and 2-4 claws that Ive used the cleaver to chop up to make sure the gel comes out of them. I pack it all in my crockpot, maybe some onions, carrots and celery, then keep on low over night. Overall it will simmer for about 10-12 hours. DO NOT ROAST!! The high temp is probably killing it. Oh, and pack the crockpot up as high as you can then fill the whole thing with water. That should gel!

      Reply
  23. When I make bone broth my husband think it stinks up the house! I turn on the vent fan but still the odor. When we do our butchering I just do a lot at once. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • If it’s not too cold outside, can you use a Crock Pot outside on a porch or other safe location with an electrical outlet? I did that once overnight, and I could not smell it in the house. The only problem was that I didn’t consider how much colder it was outside during the winter, which I’m sure made the stock cook at a colder temperature. My stock didn’t gel, even though it cooked 24 hours. However, I plan to try this once the weather warms up a bit. I’ve also thought about clearing off my husband’s workbench in the garage and plugging my Crock Pot in out there. That should be warmer than outside, yet still keep the smell out of the house.

      I too hate the lingering smell, but I’ve resigned myself to making stock anyway, despite the aroma. Hubby doesn’t seem to mind….

      Reply
  24. I’ve made it 6 times and I can’t get my chicken bone broth to gel. Ever. I use a pastured chicken and followed all the directions. I watched Sarah’s video and every time I make it, it barely simmers just like she showed us. My beef/lamb bone broth always gels. What can I do to get my chicken broth to gel? If it doesn’t gel, am I still getting the same nutrients? I’m so upset about this.

    Reply
  25. Hello Sarah….I was wondering, can bone broth be pressure canned?….If so, would the high temperature effect the nutritional value?…Thanks.

    Reply
  26. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you so much for your site. There is so much helpful info on here….it’s fantastic!

    If we’re in a pinch for making broth/stock what are your thoughts on the brand “More Than Gourmet”? If you go out to their website (I won’t post it here because I’m not sure if that is allowed, etc) it shows you how they make it. They are very traditional and it appears that they make it just how I would at home…..just in enormous batches.

    Thoughts on using that in a pinch?

    Thanks Again!
    Eric

    Reply
  27. I have tried making chicken broth many times and I can not get it to gel, I have let it simmer for 24 hours, 36 hours, and 48 hours. I have used more water, less water, barely any water. I have watched your video as well as other videos, several times. I have had it where it’s light yellow, I have had it turn out very dark where it was brown in color, I have had a layer of fat on the top, no matter how it turns out my daughter loves it and drinks it up, she’ll grab a glass of warm broth before water most days, I just can’t get it to gel no matter what I do to it, right now I’m using the crock pot for the first time!

    Reply
    • Hey Betty…here are my suggestions since I had issues myself for awhile…once I started using the crockpot my stock gels everytime now. The reasons it wasnt gelling before is because in the stockpot I think I was adding too much water and not getting the temperature right. In the crockpot, just cover all the bones, set on low and simmer about 17 hrs. If it still doesnt gel I would then look into the quality of the bones. And make sure you use the heads and feet of the chicken…even in beef stock I still use 2 heads and 4 claws…the gel is beautiful!!

      Reply
    • The only time my beef bones gel is when I use my pressure cooker. The only time my chicken bone broth gels is when I use chicken feet, no matter how I cook it, stock pot, slow cooker, pressure cooker.

      Reply
  28. Thanks so much for all the great stock videos. I was just wondering, could stock be made successfully in the crock pot? (I mainly mean chicken stock as I frequently do whole chickens in the crock pot for dinners). Maybe after our dinner is done, I could remove the meat, and put the bones back and keep it on low until sometime the next day? What do you think?
    Thanks so much for your time, and for what you’re doing, I’m learning so much here!

    Reply
    • Tanya, that’s exactly what another commenter above stated that she does: throw the bones back in the Crockpot after she’s cooked her chicken, and then make the stock. I cooked a whole pastured chicken today in my stock pot, but after it had been cooking about 12 hours, I removed the chunks of chicken I could easily fish out of there (left the bones) and continued cooking the bones and scraps another 8 hours or so. I was so glad I removed the large pieces of cooked meat early because the scraps that were still in the pot at the end of the cooking time were very dry. I made a chicken salad out of them, but that’s about all I would have used them for, as they were so dry and shredded easily. The bones could easily be broken or crushed with my fingertips, and the stock gelled beautifully.

      To those who wonder about the dark color of their stock, somewhere I read that if you include the onion skins in the stock or broth, it will cause it to have a darker color.

      At another cooking website, a person commeted the following:

      “To make a clearer stock: start with cold water; keep it at a bare simmer (never let it boil); do not stir it up.”

      I’m not sure if either of these theories hold true, but there’s a couple possibilities.

      Reply
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  30. Sarah,
    I’ve noticed that some people swear by making stock in a pressure cooker with great results.
    Even get gel. What do you think? Do pressure cookers effect stock negatively?

    Reply
  31. I’m looking through posts for reasons why stock won’t be clear. I’ve had it come out clear once 1-2 years ago but not since then. I’m wondering why it’s not clear. I did figure out a few “stocks” ago that I was using too high a temperature and have since remedied that however, the stock is still not clear. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  32. I enjoy your page and blog so much. I am a huge advocate for bone broths, can you (or anyone) tell me, does pressure cooking change or kill the nutritional value? I am most concerned about the mineral content. Also, how long should beef broth be cooked in a pressure cooker? Thanks!

    Reply

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