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Stuff Floating in Chicken Broth – What is it?

Chicken broth is a comforting beverage- especially during wintry months when coughs and colds are common.

Do you make your own broth?

If so, you may be familiar with recipes that use spices and herbs to flavor the broth, but that may end up floating around in your finished result!

Stuff floating in chicken broth

The stuff floating in your chicken broth is herbs and spices used to flavor the broth as well as the fat that has not been skimmed from the top of the soup. Some common particles you may find in chicken broth include pieces of chicken, celery, carrot, onion, pepper, garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, or pepper- unless you are careful to filter and strain it completely.

So, what are the bits and pieces floating around in your chicken broth? Keep reading to find out more!

The Components of Chicken Broth

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of recipes for homemade chicken broth.

You can also buy chicken broth in cans or boxes widely, usually in your grocery store or big-box retailer.

The truth is, recipes for chicken broth vary so no two may be the same- so the particles and bits you see floating around in your heated cup of broth will be different.

Furthermore, if you don’t skim the fat from your broth, you will likely have bits of fat or oil floating around- typically on the surface- of your finished broth.

Straining broth is part of the process, and you can decide whether you prefer a broth with a few bits and pieces of flavor floating around- or if you want a clear broth that is devoid of all bits and particles when you drink or eat it.

It can help to know what is in a typical chicken broth to determine exactly what these ‘floaty’ bits are- and to decide if it is the right recipe for your tastes! Some common recipes include the following ingredients.

  • Chicken, naturally, which may include bones, meat, and carcass
  • Celery, onions, carrots, scallions, green or other colored peppers
  • Herbs and spices that may- or may not- include garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, pepper, bay leaves

Some Asian recipes for chicken pho include herbs like clove, cinnamon, and anise- so the bits may be particles of these, too.

When cooking chicken broth, you usually cover your ingredients with eight to ten cups of water and simmer for a prolonged period of time to extract flavor.

During this time, it is common to add a bit of vinegar, usually apple cider vinegar, to help extract flavor and break down the bones. It really helps!

Reduce the Bits and Pieces in your Broth

If you are not a fan of these flavorful bits and particles that you may find in the broth, try skimming the fat to get rid of bits, either when it is warm by scooping the oil off the top of the pot or chilled, when you can remove the white fat that hardens on top of the broth.

If you use a pressure cooker or insta-pot to make your broth, you will limit the fat’s exposure to oxygen, which creates a less oily, fatty product in the end.

If you find any bits or pieces in your broth unpalatable, consommé may be more appetizing to you.

Chicken consommé is a clear broth that is devoid of any particles through a process of straining.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chicken Broth

What’s the white stuff floating in the water when you boil chicken?

As chicken cooks, the proteins float to the top and create a fluffy white substance. You can remove it with a spoon if it is unappealing to you.

What is chicken bone broth made of?

Chicken bone broth is typically comprised of a chicken carcass that has bones and meat, as well as herbs, spices, and vegetables to taste. Also, when making chicken bone broth, it is not uncommon to add some vinegar to help extract flavor from the bones.

How do you know if chicken broth has spoiled?

There are some sure signs that a broth or consommé has spoiled- including the smell. Also, if you miss the off odor of a spoiled broth, the texture and appearance should also clue you in. Finally, if you miss these and still eat the broth, it should taste bad and have a different mouthfeel.

How do you remove the fat from chicken broth?

If the broth is warm, try spooning off the oil as it cooks. If you chill the broth, you can remove the hardened white layer that floats on top.

How do you make chicken broth from chicken carcass?

Prepare chicken broth from the bones and carcass of your chicken by covering it with water- bones and all- and bringing to a simmer on the stovetop. You can add seasonings, spices, and veggies, as desired. Some cooks like to add an acid, like vinegar or juice, to the broth as it cooks, which helps to extract flavor from the bones.
It is safe to say that the particles and bits that you may see floating around in your chicken broth are flavorful pieces of the ingredients comprising the soup. However, you do have options if you prefer less of these bits in your broth- for one, you could make consommé instead! Also, never eat a chicken broth or consommé that smells off, as it could be rancid and make you very ill.