turkey broth jello

Raise of hands: How many of you made broth with your Thanksgiving turkey carcasses?

When the dust settled after our marathon of feasting, there were two turkey carcasses hiding out in the basement fridge.

Sunday morning, I stuffed them — bones, giblets, fat and all — into my biggest stockpot which actually happens to belong to my husband.

Whenever we make applesauce, my husband always fusses up a storm about needing a bigger pot so last year I got him a right fine handsome one for his birthday — It holds twent-one quarts! It doubles as a canner! — and then he was all like, “Oh, I see. You’re using my birthday to get what you want,” which was absolutely not true since I was perfectly chill with the pots I already had so I said I’d return it but he was like, “No, no, it’s a good pot and we’ll use it” [wink-wink], and I was like, “Fine, whatever, see if I ever buy you anything again.”

So I covered the bones with water, all the way up to the top, and then I added a couple stalks of celery, some carrots and a couple onions, peppercorns and several bay leaves and then set it on the heat where it simmered all day. I turned off the stove at bedtime, and the next morning I cracked the lid (to prevent this horror), and set it to simmer again. At that point, I could’ve strained off the liquid and I would’ve had a whole bunch of quart jars of broth. But since I don’t have much room in my freezers, this time I was going for broth jello — i.e. simmer it down until it’s so thick it’s jello.

By that afternoon, the liquid had reduced dramatically. Was it a fifth of what it’d been in the beginning? A tenth? I’m not sure, but there wasn’t much of it. I strained the broth into a small kettle and put it in the fridge to chill over night.

The next morning, I scraped off the thin layer of fat that had risen to the top (the dogs enjoyed it), and then spooned the broth into boxes, maybe four quarts worth.

It was so thick I could cut it with a knife.

Turkey Broth Jello

turkey carcasses
2-4 stalks celery, large chunk
2-3 carrots, large chunk
2 onions, peeled and quartered
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon peppercorns

Put everything in your largest stockpot and fill to the top with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce and simmer for 12-18 hours. If you want regular broth, stop after a day of simmering. If you’re going for the jello, let it simmer for a couple days.

Strain off the liquid — I pour the whole mess into a colander and then strain it a second time with a fine-mesh sieve — and chill overnight. (Save the scraps for the dogs.) Skim off the fat and divide the broth into containers. Label and freeze.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (12.11.17), in praise of the local arts, the quotidian (12.12.17), Italian wedding soup, okonomiyaki, iced, stuffing, my elephant, the quotidian (12.12.11), human anatomy, baked corn.


  • farm buddy

    I make this kind of bone broth all the time (okay, actually it is for my dogs!), and I also add a liberal glug or two of apple cider vinegar (some of my friends use wine instead). I do not notice that it imparts a bad flavor (I DO sample it!). I use all kinds of bones, and I continuously keep the special dog Dutch oven on the woodstove when I am not making their gourmet meals. After a while, I need to take some of the bones out to have room for new ones, and I find that most of them, because of the vinegar I think, can be crushed by my hands. So I just ladle a bunch of bones and broth onto their food dishes and then crush any bones that I can as this gives the dogs extra minerals, and if the bone is too thick to crush and I want to get rid of it, I throw it in the woodstove, so that it makes good bone ash to add to the garden. The bone crushing would be good for your human broth too (as long as your hands are clean!) as it would add minerals and vitamins to your broth. Besides bones, I often add either heart or tongues from the beef, lamb, and pork that I raise on my farm. Since all of this is of course good food that I am making for my dogs, I often sample it, and even though I am the most picky eater ever, I must admit that all of this stuff is really, really tasty!

  • Kris

    Yum, yum, turkey gelatin! A few suggestions: If you want to keep more of that good stuff for yourself and give less to the dogs (or compost) saturated in the bones & veggies, strain the broth after the first 12-18 hours and before you simmer it down. Add a glug of raw apple cider vinegar at the beginning to help extract all the minerals and nutrients from the bones. Don't skim the fat — it contains good stuff too, especially if your turkeys come from good farms.

    • Jennifer Jo

      I always forget about the vinegar! Do you notice that it gives any flavor?

      About the fat: I was actually surprised at how little of it there was….

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