Prologue (Sunday): go berry picking. Freeze multiple bags. Realize you are running out of room in your freezer and that there’s a chicken carcass waiting for you to learn to love and trust again after your first batch of stock came out poorly. Plan to make stock the following weekend.
Day 1 (Monday): Car-related ridiculousness of your own making occurs; scrap plans to leave house for the day. Get out the stock pot (no, not THAT one, amateur; the HUGE one) and throw in all the leftover frozen chicken and veggies you can find. Add herbs de Provence, salt, pepper, and a lot of garlic. Leave out bay leaves because they make you sad. Redeem your foolishness with regard to the car by putting beef stew with a tomato sauce and Mexican seasoning base in the crock pot.
Simmer (not boil!) on low for eight hours. Realize somewhere around hour six that the broth is WAY too sweet and that you have over-carroted the broth. Skim out loads of carrots; replace with more celery, onion, and garlic.
Decide after dinner that broth is still a mite too sweet so pour in the spicy tomato crock pot broth from the beef stew, in a move you consider to be both genius and also probably a really awful idea. Simmer for a bit longer, and then strain out the large vegetables and bones with a colander. Reorganize refrigerator to accommodate giant stock pot.
Day 2 (Tuesday): Wake to find that husband has reorganized the stock into three separate containers to mitigate the risk of the refrigerator popping open. Skim fat off three container’s worth of chicken stock; replace in fridge and repeat throughout the day. Realize ain’t nobody got time to can tonight; re-refrigerate. It’s fridge-stable for a few days, certainly.
Day 3 (Wednesday): Realize that what happened Tuesday goes likewise for Wednesday and Google tells you that you can refrigerate for three days without worry. Tom has already used one of the containers to cook two of the week’s meals.
Day 4 (Thursday): Prepare jars, lids, and pressure canner–NOT a regular water canner. You cannot process low-acid food in a water bath. No. You can’t. Why do you hate science?
Strain your stock. Try it twice on your own before realizing that you need a second pair of hands to hold the clean cheesecloth steady. Attempt it once again after Second Hands Tom realizes he needs to hold on tighter. Heat broth; ladle into clean jars. Try a small mug of it–it is the perfect color, saltiness, with just the mildest little hint of spice at the finish. Become very impressed with yourself.
Tear kitchen apart trying to find pressure canner manual. See if Presto has PDF copies on their site. They do! Download a corrupted file. Try again. Get proper file with correct procedure.
Begin to boil; put pressure cap in place. Hint generally that Tom should come in to do the valve checking because even though you’re sure you’re following directions the insurance payout for his life is much higher than for yours. Reflect that Tom is still young with cute kids and a solid job and he could probably replace you pretty easily. Refill wine glass.
Boil according to the Ball book at ten pounds of pressure for juuuust over 20 minutes (just to be sure). Later, once everything has cooled and you’ve recovered from the shock of removing the pressure cap too soon (Tom SAID it was okay to remove it but he
lied was incorrect), remove your jars.
Marvel at the eight jars. Realize it’s almost midnight.
Go the hell to bed.