Sunday, August 10, 2014

Freezer Cooking 2014: Broth

Did you enjoy my post yesterday talking about prepping meat and organs for quick and easy dinners? I hope so. Today we are talking about BROTH! 

Besides getting wonderful meat, organ meats, and tallow from Indian Creek angus, I also get lots of bones. Speaking of bones, I am a fan of any type of meat that is bone-in that require a long slow cooking time. Because the bones add lots of flavor and tenderness to the meat, it adds minerals, and dissolving the connective tissue in the cooking process fills the dish with easily absorbed amino acids and soothing collagen that benefits our skin and joints. Seriously, you are missing out if you only eat boneless skinless meat!

Okay, back to the bones. I had an assortment of marrow and joint bones that I wanted to use to make broth. I was excited because they had lots of fat and connective tissue. First I loaded them into two pans and roasted them for an hour and a half at 375 F. Roasting gives them a great flavor, and renders off some of the fat. After roasting, the bones were placed into a large stockpot filled with water and a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (to help get the minerals out of the bones). The rendered fat was put in a bowl and set in the fridge for later use. 

Beef bones are so thick that they require a longer cooking time. I made 2 batches of stock with the same bones, cooking each batch for 36-48 hours. I was home most of the time so I could let it simmer all day. When we were sleeping I turned off the stove and turned it back on when I got up in the morning. 

During the cooking process, more fat came off the bones. Rendered beef fat, or tallow, is very valuable to me. So, I took a couple of extra steps to save it. 

After straining the broth into a smaller pan, I let it cool and then placed it in the fridge overnight. 

The next morning the fat had solidified on top and I scraped it off with a spatula and set it into another bowl. 

This was my first batch. 

I could tell it was really good broth because it completely gelled in the fridge. That means it is full of collagen, gelatin, amino acids as well as lots of minerals and vitamins. Did you know broth is a superfood?

There was still life in the bones after straining out the first batch, so I loaded up the stockpot with more water and a few more tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and let it go for another day and a half. This is a picture of my second batch after scraping off the fat. 

The broth was so gelled that I couldn't get it into ice cube trays so I heated it a little and then scooped it into trays. 

I ended up with 3 gallon size zip locks full of homemade beef bullion cubes. I like to heat up a few cubes with water and spices and drink it plain when I feel like I need some nourishment. Sometimes I will even drink it instead of coffee in the morning. Besides drinking it plain and putting it in soup, I also like to add broth cubes to rice, pizza sauce, veggies, etc. I try to get it in wherever I can!

Once I strained out the second batch of broth I picked through the bones and pulled out any remaining bone marrow and connective tissue. Which may sound gross, but the stuff is like gold. Like I said earlier, not only does it give a good flavor, it is full of nutrition that can help to soothe an inflamed digestive tract, it helps you absorb fat soluble vitamins, and it is a good source of easily assimilated protein and collagen. I didn't want any of the good stuff go to waste. 

So, I put it in a bowl with a little bit of broth, blended it, and froze it in ice cube trays as well. These will be a great addition to soups and rice to give a richer flavor and texture. 

Then, after the broth and marrow were taken care of. I still had a bowl full of delicious rendered beef fat or tallow. It still had little bits of broth attached so I took the whole bowl and put it into the toaster oven on low for a few hours to melt it all back down again. This allows any water and other bits and pieces to sink to the bottom. 

After it had melted, I put it back in the fridge to solidify. 

 I inverted it onto a plate and scraped off the broth on the bottom. 

I cut it into pieces and bagged it up. 

It filled a quart bag. 

I am so happy to have the added bonus of getting extra tallow from making broth. I use it as lotion mixed with lavender and lemongrass essential oils. I use it with flour and buttermilk to make the most amazing biscuits. I also use it to make soap. It is lovely fat, and I love that I can render it right here in my kitchen. I also love that a 10 pounds of bones got me 3 gallons of broth cubes, 1 quart of tallow, and a quart of marrow cubes. 

To make chicken broth with the leftover chicken bones from yesterday, I put them in a pot with water and a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and let it simmer for 8 hours. Chicken bones are a lot smaller than beef bones so don't require as long of a cooking time. Also, I have found that when I cook chicken bones a long time it tends to have a rancid smell. I have no idea why, and it may not happen to you, but keep that in mind. I think 6-10 hours is plenty of time to get the goodness out :).  I strained out the bones, reduced it, and froze it in cubes as well. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about making broth. I am not good at keeping a pot of broth going on a  regular basis so I decided to make a bunch at once! I know that these are the types of foods that will get me through the semester healthy and happy and nourished :).


  1. Can you come over to my house and make me some broth? :) I have a whole chicken (well, you know, feathers removed ;) ) in my freezer from a local farmer and I've been meaning to make my first batch of broth, but I'm too scared!!!!!

    1. haha does being with you in spirit count? Oh how lucky you are to have a whole chicken. I started cooking whole chickens by putting them in a crockpot. I would set it on low for 6-8 hours until it was fall apart tender. Then we would eat chicken for dinner and after everything cooled I picked off the rest of the meat and set the bones asides (the dog goes crazy during this part!). Then you take the bones and put them back in the crockpot with water and a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar and leave it overnight. The next morning you have delicious broth that you can let cool and either use to make soup or reduce and freeze in small portions or keep in the fridge in mason jars for up to 2 weeks and use as you want. I believe in you and I want to hear how it goes :).


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