Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

We started processing our chickens this week. I say started because we didn't finish. Once we get the other half completed, I will update you on the stats. But for now, I want to talk about the feet.

One of the reasons I look so forward to butchering chickens is having healthy stock on hand. But the stock is only as healthy as what you put into it. Adding the chicken's feet is something you do not want to leave out.

When I first heard this, I was totally grossed out. I mean I raise these birds. I watch them. I know where those little feet have been! And it ain't pretty. So you can bet that before any of those feet go into my stock pot, they are getting a good scrubbing. And peeling!

The first thing that we do is when the hubby is scalding the bird to remove the feathers, he also dips the dirty feet into the hot water and gives them a good swishing to get most of the muck off. So, what he brings into the house is what you see in this picture. Not too bad, huh?

Next, I scrub the feet real well with an old toothbrush in some vinegar water. Make sure to separate the toes and get into the folds of skin.

The final step is the peeling. I think this is so cool. I didn't know about this until my friend Karen explained it to me. Now I'm not so grossed out. I heat some water to about 150 degrees and put the feet, a few at a time, in it. After a minute or two, the thick, yellow, scaly skin peels right off. Like a glove! Nails and all. Sometimes the nails are a little stubborn and you have to pop them off separately. If you leave them in the water too long, they are harder to peel. That is why I only put in a few at a time.

Now I know that nothing that scratched around in my compost, or the goat doodoo, or any other disgusting thing out there, is left to go into my stock. Only the wonderful nutrients that God designed.

What about you? Ever peel chicken feet? Tell us about it.


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Comment by Aliza Ess on August 16, 2011 at 11:54am
Haha, I know what you mean, I made some tasty stock and even ate the chicken feet afterward dim-sum style but that was when someone gave me a bag of nice clean feet. When I was butching chickens over the weekend I wanted to keep the feet but my friends took one look at the dirt on them and said "Eww it's not worth it!" I kind of regret not keeping them but hopefully can get more some day. I posted photos and more details about my chicken feet experience here if you're interested! http://www.baltimorediy.org/2009/12/chicken-feet.html
Comment by Jennifer Niles Varga on August 17, 2011 at 8:13pm
what kind of goodness is in the feet?
Comment by Carol J. Alexander on August 17, 2011 at 10:09pm
Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on October 27, 2011 at 2:30pm
Hey Carol! Great post. Thanks for sharing! Consider submitting it in the First-Ever End-of-Season HOMEGROWN Fair.  All you have to do is edit the title to include “HOMEGROWN Fair Submission”.  Prizes awarded to the best of the best in all categories - including skillsharing! This is one that not many probably do at home!


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