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I happened upon an article entitled "Please Pass the Scavenged Bone Stock" and discovered that there are many different opinions out there about the propriety of saving chicken bones for stock. The article reads like a polemic, but I'd like clearer answers to the following questions:

  • Is it safe to use leftover untouched chicken bones/carcasses for stock? How long can they have been sitting out, and what if I want to freeze them for later use?

  • Is it safe to salvage bones for stock if people have been eating off the bone? Is this a common practice, or is it considered "disgusting"?

  • I've cooked down turkey carcasses after thanksgiving (even though it sat out for a while) ... but I've never used bones that had been served to people that they might've chewed on. And I've never tried freezing them, as they're just so large that it's not practical. I cook it down that night (possibly leave it on low overnight and deal with it in the morning) – Joe May 12 '15 at 18:19
  • I agree with Joe. I often will rely on my crockpot for some great stock. Another tip, I know it kind of breaks the "rules" of chicken stock, but I like to save my vegetable trimmings to bolster the stock. – BrownRedHawk May 12 '15 at 23:24
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I use frozen trimmings and bones for stock on a regular basis and haven't ever had any issues (and I can't see why you would). However, parts from food eaten by someone may have contamination issues unless they only removed the bones and/or skin with clean hands (which you could have done yourself before serving them).

I don't follow many rules for my "stock" either. I figure I can get vegetable flavor from vegetable stock, so I keep my meat stocks just to the meat trimmings and bones as much as possible (I do regularly and unavoidably end up with herbs and spices from rubs and marinades), let them simmer in a crockpot for days, and then reduce them. They are not clear like traditional stock, but I rarely need a clear stock--mostly I just want to extract all the good flavor for sauces, soups, and stews, and that is very successful with this method.

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