Jan 14 2014
A weird thing happened to me after Christmas break this year. I had the honour of having most of my family over to my house on Christmas Day, and I cooked up a big gorgeous turkey for us to indulge in. Afterwards of course, I scooped up all the remaining bones, put them into a bag, and threw them into a freezer to be made into a wonderful soup once everything calmed down a bit. Well, make the stock I did. But something totally unexpected – and totally weird – happened when I put it in the fridge. It turned to jelly!! Not just the top layer (where fat usually sits and hardens,) but the entire thing! So naturally, I had to find out why this happened. And more importantly, was it still okay to eat?
It turns out that if your turkey stock turns into a jelly-like consistency after it’s been cooled in the fridge, you’ve made your stock perfectly. Apparently the bones have collagen inside of them, and when you simmer that collagen for a long time, it breaks down into gelatin. I’ve also read that this is the goal you’re trying to achieve with stock. Fortunately as I found out, once you bring that stock back up to temperature, the gelatin will melt and you’ll not only have a simmering potful of liquid stock – but it will be super rich and flavourful too. If you bring your stock up to a simmer and it’s still too tight for you, just dilute it with some water and it should become that rich flowing stock once again.
Now, I’ve made chicken stock about five thousand times, and this has never happened to me with chicken bones. Maybe because they’re smaller? I have no idea. But maybe it’s because I didn’t simmer it long enough for the collagen to turn into gelatin. I have also read that the more you reduce or simmer the stock, the more it will tighten up into gelatin.
Has this ever happened to you?