Whenever I make one of my favorite dishes in the world, I have to prepare my chicken broth. However, there might be times when things don’t go according to plan, and I start to question the freshness of the broth, leaving me wondering how to tell if chicken broth is bad.
What Is Chicken Broth?
I’m sure you have eaten a lot of dishes made with chicken broth. It’s one of those ingredients that masterfully adds flavors to whatever dish you are making. It seems to be something that you would add to various kinds of soups and other dishes.
Since we’re on the subject of chicken broth, have you ever wondered what it’s made of? What’s in this chicken-based additive that we should know about?
When you throw in chicken, vegetables, herbs, and water in a pot, some sort of magic happens. I usually leave these simmering for hours and then I strain them after. The liquid that you get from this process is what you can consider as your Chicken broth.
You can make chicken broth in advance and store it for future use. That’s probably one of the most notable advantages of this liquid concoction.
People often think that Chicken broth is synonymous with Chicken stock. While both might share some similar elements, they are, ultimately, two different things. When making Chicken broth, you can utilize almost all of the bird’s parts minus some of the innards.
Telltale Signs Of Bad Chicken Broth
Whenever we prepare food in our kitchens, safety should be on top of the list. We have to be sure that we only choose the freshest ingredients. This rings true for the chicken broth you are about to use.
If you are using chicken broth, you can’t just take it out of the container and pour it into whatever you are cooking. What if the chicken broth has gone bad? You surely don’t want to add something rotten and spoiled.
It’s really not that difficult to tell if you have chicken broth within your midst. You can easily figure it out by observing certain things.
Smell The Broth
Your broth should have that chicken scent with hints of the other ingredients that you have added. If you smell something unpleasant after opening the container, that’s an indication that the chicken broth has reached spoilage state. It’s usually a strong, putrid scent that greets and puts you off.
There might be cases when the smell is not strong, so you might have to be vigilant about this. If I smell anything out of the ordinary, I automatically discard the chicken broth because I am not about to risk it.
Look At The Broth
The chicken broth that I make usually comes in a clear liquid form. If you picked it up from the store, it tends to have a more yellowish-coloring, but that’s totally normal for chicken broth. Note that cloudiness in the broth is not an uncommon sight, mainly because it contains fat.
If you see any radical changes to the appearance of the broth, that’s also a sign that it might have gone bad. It’s usually noticeable through the texture and consistency of the broth. You should also keep your eyes open for bubbles.
The Odd Taste
The old saying “looks can be deceiving” might apply to the chicken broth in some instances. What happens when there are obvious hints of spoilage? Well, the best course of action is to try it yourself.
Yes, I know you would be side-eying this idea, but how else would know the chicken broth is spoiled? If there is something off or weird about its taste, then it’s better to get rid of it.
It’s easy to tell if the flavors are off, especially if the chicken broth start tasting sour
Mold And Bacterial Growth
You need to keep your eyes peeled for mold and bacteria growing in and on the chicken broth. There might be some blue and green molds burgeoning on the surface or the sides of the broth. You also might be able to see that white weblike mold spreading.
Unless you have microscopic vision, you might not be able to see bacteria. They usually let their presence known by emitting bad odor. If you smell something pungent, there could be bacteria present in the broth.
Aftermath Of Consuming Bad Chicken Broth
We put a lot of emphasis on food safety, but there might be moments when things happen beyond our control. If you were able to consume chicken broth deemed as spoiled, there’s a possibility of experiencing some health concerns along the way.
There are instances when nothing happens to those who have swallowed bad chicken broth, but if something does happen, these are most likely due to these:
A Case Of Food Poisoning
We often hear about chicken and salmonella together. And in this, there’s no escaping this bacteria. Since we are dealing with something made from chicken, there’s a possibility of getting an infection from the dreaded Salmonella bacteria.
If you have managed to gobble up chicken broth laced with Salmonella, you might see signs of food poisoning – vomiting, diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, and a whole lot more. If your condition worsens, you have to seek medical help immediately because you might develop severe complications.
Salmonella is not the only thing you should worry about with bad chicken broth. E.coli, another type of bacteria, can also be found in spoiled chicken-based food and cause the development of foodborne diseases.
Mycotoxins From Molds
Mold growth in rotten chicken broth is something I have spoken about before. Since the broth is made of water, the likelihood that Mycotoxins will be produced is very high. If you don’t know what Mycotoxins are, they are basically these toxic mold byproducts that you can find in food.
Mycotoxins are harmful to people, especially if they are ingested or consumed. These toxins will affect your gastrointestinal system. You will most likely vomit and have loose, watery stool. If you think that’s all there is to Mycotoxin infection, then you are in for a rude awakening.
This can cause serious health threats, especially if you are dealing with one of the most fatal Mycotoxins – Aflatoxin. This damages your body’s organs and increases your risk of developing cancer.
Preparing Chicken Broth The Right Way
If you always end up with spoiled chicken broth, then maybe you should evaluate how you make them. Is there something wrong with the ingredients, the cooking process, or both?
We all know about how chicken is notorious for carrying bacteria. If added to any of your cooking, it might lead to foodborne illnesses. It’s important you take precautions during the preparation process as it plays a role in decreasing the chances of you ending up with a bad batch of chicken broth.
If you are adding vegetables to your chicken broth, you also need to make sure they aren’t rotten and riddled with moldy parts. If these molds have penetrated the veggie’s core, they aren’t safe to add either.
Chicken In A Pot
Begin making the broth by putting a whole chicken (also known as the main character) in a pot. I usually remove the giblets because it makes the broth cloudy.
Once the chicken has settled, you can add the rest of the ingredients that would add flavor to the broth. If you’re like me, it’s usually some onions, carrots, celery, and water. Adding some herbs and spices enhances the overall flavor profile of your chicken broth.
Let It Boil, Let It Boil
Making chicken broth involves a lot of patience. You have to wait for the broth to boil for hours. But of course, the aftermath is worth the wait because you have a delicious, flavor-filled broth waiting for you.
Drain And Strain
When the broth is ready, you have to take the chicken out of the pot and strain everything that’s left. The stock you have gathered after straining is what you now call your chicken broth. You can either use it for cooking ASAP or save it for later!
Since you still have the chicken and vegetables left, you can use them to cook something delightful for lunch or dinner!
Storing Chicken Broth The Right Way
We all know by now that it takes time and effort to perfect the making of your chicken broth. If you plan to make use of it in the future, learning to store chicken broth the right way can go a long way! You can either use jars, freezer bags, or any container that can keep the broth secured.
Off To The Fridge
If you bought chicken broth from the store and you have some leftovers, you can store it in the fridge for about three or four days. The same timeframe applies to chicken broth you made at home. Low temperature keeps bacteria at bay, so the chicken broth is safe for a couple more days.
Frozen Chicken Broth Delight
Did you know chicken broth can last for months? Well, that will only happen if you stored it the right way and in this case, freezing it would be the best option. Freezing chicken broth would last for about three months. Once it’s time to use the chicken broth, just take it out of the freezer and thaw or defrost it.
Halt! Stop Chicken Broth From Going!
Perhaps one special skill that I have is knowing how to tell if chicken broth is bad the moment I see it. It might sound silly or trivial, but since it’s something I make all the time, it only makes sense. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if our health and safety are on the line.