There was once a lady who noticed that soon there would be sufficient produce from her gardening efforts to require some blanching and freezing of vegetables.
As was her custom, this was the season to defrost the deep-freezer, when it was at its most depleted state. As she was lifting out the frozen hunks of meat and the containers of last year’s sweet corn, she happened upon a lot of chicken carcasses. This jogged her memory from the previous fall, when the chicken processing folks had cut up her hens and left the backbones for her to cook however she wanted. At the time she had gone into flat denial about this need and shoved them all into the freezer for another time. Twenty chicken carcasses just waiting to be made into broth for the nurturing of her family, but they had been out of sight, out of mind. Now here they were again, front and center and taking up space that was needed for green beans. She stuffed them into her biggest stockpot to defrost in the refrigerator. When the last two wouldn’t fit, they went to the nourishment of the pigs who were a little surprised to find icy chicken in their trough.
A few days later the lady went to her spare refrigerator and saw that the chicken was thawed and ready to cook. Her husband had outfitted her with a propane cooker for the deck so she could do projects like this outside. Nobody wanted to live in a house with a constant aroma of simmering bones. After a suitable time, the chicken was cooked soft and she picked it off the bones. There was enough meat and broth to can seven quarts of chicken bits and she was happy about that, but she was not done. Those bones still contained a lot of goodness and she really wanted bone broth. She threw the bones into the enormous stockpot with hunks of celery, onions, garlic, and even a few withered carrots from the bottom of the crisper drawer in her refrigerator, covered the whole works with water and a splash of vinegar, and set it to simmer. It simmered all day outside and the surrounding vicinity smelled like Grandma’s chicken soup.
At last it was time to strain out all the bits and pour the broth into jars for canning. Again she filled seven quarts to can and kept the rest for cooking noodles for supper. Although it was a labor-intensive process, she felt good about not wasting a thing and about this stockpile of excessively healthful bone broth.
Not owning a pressure cooker, because she was scared of them, she set the jars to water bath on the cooker outside. It was going to take three hours and she was so glad that she wouldn’t be heating up the kitchen with her canning. She got them rolling along merrily, set the timer for 3 hours, and lost herself in an absorbing pottery project in her shed. A half hour before the timer beeped, there was a tremendous boom and an alert observer reported a mushroom cloud of glass mingled with fragrant chicken stock rising above the deck. The lady herself only saw the aftereffects as she picked through the rubble of broken glass and twisted canning rings. Fortunately the canner lid was constructed of shatter-proof glass that rained down in harmless fragments, but the jar shards are still being discovered in odd parts of the lawn to this day. The lady was astonished to discover oily smears of chicken broth rained across the entire width of her house, which, while not very wide, was still quite impressive. She castigated herself for not checking the water level in the canner and moderating the amount of heat. Mostly she mourned the healthful broth, but there was nothing for it except to sweep up the glass, and order a new canner lid. The very next week she bought a pressure canner at her grandma’s auction.
The noodles they had at supper were simply delicious.