Quick Tip For Defatting Stock or Broth

One day, I was canning a LOT of homemade chicken stock. I’ll fast-forward to the end for a second. This is part of about 17 gallons of stock:

Now I have nothing against healthy fats and oils – they’re good for you! When you are canning stock, however, you are supposed to de-fat it – get most of the fat out, otherwise the oil prevents a good seal on the jar lids. The usual way to do this is to take your hot stock, and chill it until the fat hardens so you can easily scrape it off.

Well, that seemed to me like I was doing double-duty on the heating thing. The stock was already hot, and it needed to be hot for the canning process. It didn’t want to double-heat it. So I skimmed as much fat off as I could with a ladle. That was slightly tedious.

I remembered the idea behind a little gizmo that allows you to pour broth in a measuring cup, with the spout on the bottom so the clear liquid pours out, leaving the fat to float on top. Those work wonderfully, but I haven’t seen one that will hold more than a quart – usually they only hold a pint. That’s when the idea hit me. I pulled out my one-gallon drink dispenser, preheated the glass with some hot water first, then poured in the stock. After a few minutes, the fat settled on top, and I began filling my jars. That was a little tedious, so I just filled a stock pot.

As the liquid neared the bottom, I had to tip the jar a bit to keep the fat from flowing through the spout.

There were a few drops of fat left on top, which I blotted up with a quick dab of paper towel.

And THAT time-saving, labor-saving, energy-saving tip definitely works for me!

Check out my other WFMW tips.

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7 comments to Quick Tip For Defatting Stock or Broth

  • Jean Anderson

    I would love one of those! I use an old treacle tin (can) with the bottom and top cut out, big enough for my ladle to fit into. I sit it in the stock and scoop the liquid out of the tin. The first few scoops go back into the pot and after that the fat’s mostly gone, as the liquid that comes up to fill the can comes from the bottom of the pot and has no fat in it. I ladle stock out until it is so low that it becomes too hard to scoop, and put the last wee bit into the fridge to harden the fat (so I can scrape it off) Works for me 🙂

  • soccy

    if you’re not canning it, can you leave the fat in? is it bad for you?

    • Cardamom

      Yes! Good, clean fats are actually very healthy! I save the fat in the fridge or freezer and add it back in when I want. It’s merely for canning purposes that I remove it.

  • Great idea! I’m going to try this too. Thanks for the tip!

  • Cherish

    Brilliant! I like to save the fat for making tasty biscuits, but it is a pain to cool, peel off chunks of fat, and re-heat.

  • Thank you so much for the brilliant inspiration. I have never canned before, but your idea is just too good to not put to use. One of my sons has started a new job with access to surplus organic chicken necks and backs, so I foresee a lot of extra broth in our future.

    I look forward to reading through your blog for more helpful ideas.

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