Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bone Broth (again)

I can't find enough words to convey my love for bone broth. I started making varieties of it earlier this year, around February. That was when I had committed myself to losing the baby weight (and then some), while not breaking the tiny sad very small figurative bank. So while looking at low carb, cost saving recipes, I started reading about saving your chicken bones to make stock. Great. I tried it once and realized right away that I liked the broth more than the poor roast chicken itself. So I started reading more about it and realized what a miracle this stuff is. Since the first batch of chicken bone broth, I've branched out into Beef bones and like those more - for one, they have more surface area for marrow and other good stuff, and also, grassfed beef bones are easier for me to find and cook for a low price than pastured chicken bones. Finally, my dog Jackson loves him some bone chewin' and cooked chicked bones just won't do.

I'm still playing around with my recipe, but I've been in love with the way I do it below. I drink a bowl pretty much every day or at least 5 times a week. It keeps me feeling full, gives me energy... I basically feel like I'm drinking liquid gold. I'll finish up this post with a link or two to other postings that get way more specific about all the benefits, and really, they are numerous and amazing.

My broth in jars:

Are they not amazing? With the amount I was able to jar here, it cost me roughly 35-40 cents a bowl. Here's what I do:

I buy about 2.5 to 4 pounds of grassfed beef bones. If you're in the Bay Area, Berkeley Bowl has great ones, so does Farmer Joe's. If you're not worried about them being grassfed, any asian store should have them, and my local safeway usually carries some as well. I also buy a meaty shank or two for flavor, so:

2.5 to 4 pounds grassfed beef bones
1-2 large shanks with marrow bone
1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

That's it.

I put the above in my crockpot, cover with a couple inches of water (making sure it's not filled ALL the way to the brim), and turn it on low for 20 hours. That's the maximum setting on my crock. What do I do when that 20 hours is up? I set it for 10 more, sometimes 15 more. I haven't done 40 hours yet, but I've done a lot of reading about people going up to 72 hours. Sometimes, after hour 20, I take out my shanks, pick out the marrow, and eat it like a savage in the dark, hunched over my crockpot. Don't judge.

Once I'm done with the low cook, I remove the bones, pick off more meat and marrow and make my dog happy. I let the broth cool and then pour it into jars like in the picture above. After letting it cool on the counter, I refridgerate them over night. The next day, a hard layer of fat will have formed on the top of each jar. I remove that fat and save it to cook my greens and veggies in, but that's for another post. I leave the fat layer on in each jar until I'm ready to get to it - and I think that helps it keep longer.

Anyway, that's it. Once I have it in the jars, the uses are endless. It can be used as a stock/broth the way you'd use any store bought stuff. It's GREAT for making homemade pho (another post coming shortly) or french onion soup in particular, if you ask me.

I often remove the fat layer, pour it into a giant bowl, add salt, pepper, a tiny bit more of the vinegar to taste, heat it up, and drink it. Every day. I really do feel like I'm drinking some magic fountain of youth health potion. At the very worst, I'm drinking awesome meat soup every day.

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