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Instant Pot and Bone Broth

 
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I use my instant pot all the time, I have 3 young children and homeschool, so anything to get healthy food on the table quickly holds a special place in my heart.
One of the things I was extremely surprised at was how well the Instantpot made bone broth.
After roasting, I would throw the bones into a stock pot to simmer for a few hours, and the scent wasn't the best - in fact my family would complain about the "stinky soup".
But using the IP meant it kept all the steam (and smell!) locked up!
I was very impressed!
Anyone else in love with their IP??


 
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It's funny, it took me 9 months after I was given an Instant Pot before I was brave enough to use it!  Such a game changer in the kitchen for me.
 
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@Ghislaine de Lessines

Me too! I was too afraid to go near the Instant Pot for fear it would somehow explode on me. My friend sent me "The Instant Pot Bible" book for the holidays and now I'm "InstantPotting" like nobody's business LOL.
 
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I've had my IP for about 1 month. We bought it specifically for bone broth, as my old system was to pressure cook the bones and the handle on my 25 year old cooker is dead. Since the old cooker is aluminum and I'm not sure the verdict is out on how safe cooking in aluminum is, I decided I wanted to try an alternative.

Today is the first day I've been gusty enough to try the "slow cook" function. Supposedly, I should be able to shift the setting from "medium" to "high", but I couldn't get mine to do so. I've made the recipe before in an actual slow-cooker, so I've got my fingers crossed!  I'll report back in 5 hours!
 
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Alexa May wrote:"InstantPotting" like nobody's business LOL.



Made me actually LOL.
 
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Generally when I make bone broth, I make very large batches, much larger than an Instant Pot could handle.  Like all the bones from a whole hog, or 6-8 chickens.

I've not been that impressed with mine, for batch cooking, it's too small for us. I suspect that it would be good for dried beans, but we are low carb, so that's not useful for us.
 
Jay Angler
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Stacy Witscher wrote:

Like all the bones from a whole hog, or 6-8 chickens.

I hear you. Before the gubment changed the chicken processing rules, we used to be able to get about 75 chicken's worth of feet at once and I'd use my large pressure canner to process them into the most awesome broth. It was gelatinous enough that it would almost bounce, and I'd cut it into cube shapes, wrap and freeze. Feet have lots of joints which means lots of cartilage which is where lots of gelatin comes from.

That said, Instant Pots come in different sizes and we got one of the larger, but not largest, ones, so for quickly processing bones from a dinner or two, it does the job.
 
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If I were on a stranded island that some kind of way had electricity and I could only take one thing, it would be my Instant Pots.  Just teasing, lol, but they really are some of my favorite things that I own.  My only complaint is that they have not really lasted very long for me.  I have had 2 quit on me, both just a little after the warranty.  I have had all 3 sizes, now I'm down to the 3 qt and 6 qt.  I'm really bummed that my 8 qt quit on me a couple of months ago.  There's almost never a day that goes by that I don't use one, or both of them.  

The other kitchen appliance that I wouldn't want to live without is my SS rice cooker.  https://www.amazon.com/Aroma-Simply-Stainless-Uncooked-Cooked/dp/B007WQ9Z56/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=stainless%2Bsteel%2Brice%2Bcooker&qid=1579047437&sr=8-3&th=1  I had wanted a Miracle SS Rice cooker https://miracleexclusives.com/miracle-stainless-steel-rice-cooker-p-157.html for years, but it was never in my budget.  Finally, I came across the Aroma brand about 4.5 years ago.  Amazon had some returned ones selling for like 23.00 (with free returns), so I decided to go for it and it has been one of my best buys (appliance wise) ever!  This is used daily in our home (sometime two times a day) and it's still humming along.  

Ginny, I also home educate my children (seven of them right now) and we have a family of 13 all together, so you can imagine how much time the IP saves me (and why I have more than one lol)! :)
 
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Jay Angler wrote:I've had my IP for about 1 month. We bought it specifically for bone broth, as my old system was to pressure cook the bones and the handle on my 25 year old cooker is dead. Since the old cooker is aluminum and I'm not sure the verdict is out on how safe cooking in aluminum is, I decided I wanted to try an alternative.

Today is the first day I've been gusty enough to try the "slow cook" function. Supposedly, I should be able to shift the setting from "medium" to "high", but I couldn't get mine to do so. I've made the recipe before in an actual slow-cooker, so I've got my fingers crossed!  I'll report back in 5 hours!



How'd it go??
TBH I've never been a fan of the IP's "slow cooker" function.
I use my crockpot regularly, and I just found that my IP didn't do that particularly well...which is odd...
But! I love it for all my quick cooking! I just leave my slow cooking to my crock pot. ;)
 
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T.J. Stewart wrote:If I were on a stranded island that some kind of way had electricity and I could only take one thing, it would be my Instant Pots.  Just teasing, lol, but they really are some of my favorite things that I own.  My only complaint is that they have not really lasted very long for me.  I have had 2 quit on me, both just a little after the warranty.  I have had all 3 sizes, now I'm down to the 3 qt and 6 qt.  I'm really bummed that my 8 qt quit on me a couple of months ago.  There's almost never a day that goes by that I don't use one, or both of them.  

The other kitchen appliance that I wouldn't want to live without is my SS rice cooker.  https://www.amazon.com/Aroma-Simply-Stainless-Uncooked-Cooked/dp/B007WQ9Z56/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=stainless%2Bsteel%2Brice%2Bcooker&qid=1579047437&sr=8-3&th=1  I had wanted a Miracle SS Rice cooker https://miracleexclusives.com/miracle-stainless-steel-rice-cooker-p-157.html for years, but it was never in my budget.  Finally, I came across the Aroma brand about 4.5 years ago.  Amazon had some returned ones selling for like 23.00 (with free returns), so I decided to go for it and it has been one of my best buys (appliance wise) ever!  This is used daily in our home (sometime two times a day) and it's still humming along.  

Ginny, I also home educate my children (seven of them right now) and we have a family of 13 all together, so you can imagine how much time the IP saves me (and why I have more than one lol)! :)



That is really good to know! I'm sure our old rice cooker is about to bite the dust and I love it - so I'll definitely look into your recommendation!
Oh wow! We're only a family of 5, (hopefully soon 6) and I'm really only homeschooling my 8 and 4 year old. (my youngest just turned 1 last week :) )
Can I just sit at your knees and learn for a bit?
I feel like my life is constantly divided between either cleaning/cooking/teaching and rarely can I get all three done the same day.
I'd love to see how you organize your days!
Right now we're using mixed curriculum but mostly Christian Light Units and All About Reading, my second eldest is working through her kindergarten books, but loves sitting and doing "school" with her big sis! Lol ;)
 
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Jay Angler wrote:Stacy Witscher wrote:

Like all the bones from a whole hog, or 6-8 chickens.

I hear you. Before the gubment changed the chicken processing rules, we used to be able to get about 75 chicken's worth of feet at once and I'd use my large pressure canner to process them into the most awesome broth. It was gelatinous enough that it would almost bounce, and I'd cut it into cube shapes, wrap and freeze. Feet have lots of joints which means lots of cartilage which is where lots of gelatin comes from.

That said, Instant Pots come in different sizes and we got one of the larger, but not largest, ones, so for quickly processing bones from a dinner or two, it does the job.



I have never used chicken feet before, but I know I can get them easily in chinatown in our nearest city - they've always sort of given me the heebie-jeebies, but I should probably just get over that! LOL
I might even be able to get them from the local butcher now that I think about it.
Do I need a certain "type" of chicken feet? Or could I keep the feet from the butchered meat birds?
 
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I wrote a few posts (starting with this one) about making turkey bone broth in my thread that's more generally about making vegetable stock.  

Although I could have wished for a bit more capacity, I found my 8 quart Instant Pot (which I do love!) was large enough to make stock from a single post-holiday-meal turkey carcass.
 
Jay Angler
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Ginny Markee wrote:

Do I need a certain "type" of chicken feet? Or could I keep the feet from the butchered meat birds?

Any chicken feet will do, but the ones I used to get were from meat chickens and would have been scalded and then "cleaned" by a tub plucker. I use our own Muscovy duck feet when they've been scalded, but I don't have a plucker so I pull off the outer layer of skin that comes off easily after scalding.

My problem with the IP is there are many different iterations and they all work slightly differently. It took me three tries to find instructions that said how to change the temperature, and even then after giving it extra time, it hadn't tenderized the way I'd like. Since it's now pushing 8 pm (luckily we had other "planned overs" available for dinner) I decided to switch it to pressure cook mode and will give it 22 minutes and slow release and see how it looks then. Certainly, other than being bigger than my old slow cooker, I'm not that impressed. If I'd started out at the proper high temp, I might feel differently though. Since my old slow cooker also uses electricity, there's no choosing between them from the power or portability perspective. I often use the slow cooker in the summer on the front porch so I don't add heat to the house.
 
Dan Boone
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Honestly, I never use anything but the pressure cook setting on high.  My 8 quart Instant Pot has 16 or 22 or some other crazy number of modes, but none of the rest of them are things the IP does better in my opinion.  

I do like it better than the slow cooker (crock pot) from an energy use and heat-in-the-house perspective.  It seems to me the Instant Pot outer parts are a pretty highly insulated vessel; once it gets up to temperature, it's not putting much heat into the room and so it can't (shouldn't) be using much electricity.  Whereas my crock pot radiates heat from all surfaces that I can feel from quite a ways away.  
 
T.J. Stewart
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That is really good to know! I'm sure our old rice cooker is about to bite the dust and I love it - so I'll definitely look into your recommendation!
Oh wow! We're only a family of 5, (hopefully soon 6) and I'm really only homeschooling my 8 and 4 year old. (my youngest just turned 1 last week :) )
Can I just sit at your knees and learn for a bit?
I feel like my life is constantly divided between either cleaning/cooking/teaching and rarely can I get all three done the same day.
I'd love to see how you organize your days!
Right now we're using mixed curriculum but mostly Christian Light Units and All About Reading, my second eldest is working through her kindergarten books, but loves sitting and doing "school" with her big sis! Lol ;)



I doubt that you'd be all that impressed with how I organize my days.  We are very much a little here and a little there type of home educators.  We go year round, sometimes hard at the books, but most of the time pretty soft.  I'm a back to basics type of lady, so I mainly just teach the 3r's and let them follow some of their own interests.  I use Rod and Staff as a base and I also really like Phonics Tutor and Readmaster Plus (ACE).  We do a lot of homesteading and farm related stuff.  Cook mostly everything from scratch.  Promote reading and working with your hands (sewing, woodworking, building fun things like tree houses, etc.).  Provide them with instruments (which they teach themselves to play) and we have group singing.  My husband has a talent for singing and music, so it's an "inherited" blessing that they are musically talented.  Anyway, we are really eclectic in our approach.  I have four sons who have already "graduated" (you never stop learning, right???).  Two of them are carpenters (foremen), one is a professional cabinet maker (he works for a small company that does custom builds, but wants to have his own shop one day), and the youngest is an electrician.  They all make good money, but most important to my husband and me (as far as working is concerned) is that they all have really good reputations for being excellent, hard workers, with great attitudes.  :)

I'm sure you are doing just fine.  Just keep on encouraging a love for learning and being available to them when they need help.  Try to have a good attitude and try to include them in almost all of your adventures (Instant Pot cooking is an adventure, no? LOL).  :)  That's all the advise that I have... told you that you wouldn't be impressed lol :)

Back to the topic at hand...

A few years ago, my crock pots were my best friends, but  I actually very rarely use them to cook in these days.  I only use them to transport cooked (in the IP) food places for carry in meals or if we are having a lot of company and I need to use my IP to make more than one thing, I'll empty the contents of the IP into one of my crocks to keep it warm.  Oh and I use them to make apple butter.  :)

@Dan I really liked my 8 qt (when it was working) but if IP started offering a 10 qt pot, I'd buy one today. :) It was nothing for my crew to eat their way to the very bottom of the 8qt at times, especially if chili was in the pot. :)
 
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T.J. Stewart wrote:
@Dan I really liked my 8 qt (when it was working) but if IP started offering a 10 qt pot, I'd buy one today. :) It was nothing for my crew to eat their way to the very bottom of the 8qt at times, especially if chili was in the pot. :)



Yeah, me too!  I mostly cook just for myself (because my diet is distinct from the other people here and nobody else likes my food) but I like to cook big one pot meals and eat on them (usually I have two or three different meals or meal components like soup or cooked rice going in the fridge) for about a week.  It's not at all uncommon for me to wish I could cook more of something "while I'm at it."

I also use my 8-qt instapot for stupid-easy small-batch canning (it fits three quarts and pint) even though it's not technically supposed to be used for that.  (I'm really careful and only do high-acid stuff or things that will be cooked again before use, just in case.)  They are advertising a 6-quart IP now that's got deluxe features including an external readout of the internal temperature; if they ever offer that in an 8-quart or larger, I'll want one just because it will make me feel a lot more secure about small-batch canning projects.  
 
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Dan Boone wrote:

I also use my 8-qt instapot for stupid-easy small-batch canning (it fits three quarts and pint) even though it's not technically supposed to be used for that.

That would be 3 x 500ml jars and a 250ml jar for the rest of us.  Surprisingly, I could actually fit those in my 6-qt Instapot - I just tested - which would be safer than just a boiling water bath for edge case things. My big pressure canner can't be used on my stove, but only outside which is a nuisance. My old kitchen pressure cooker which is now honourably retired at 30 years old due to handle issues, was not tall enough to hold 500ml jars.
 
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I have two of these now,  I just wish I had more bones for broth.
There isn't a butcher shop in my neighborhood,  and the grocery stores charge more for bones than for meat.
Who here makes broth from "used" bones?
I have a bag of chicken wing bones I'm gonna try with.

Other than pressure cooking, there  is a setting I use to reduce sauces, the saute setting.
Gets things hot,  fast.
I especially like it for my version of carnitas, pressure cook the pork from frozen with lots of onion and spices, then cook off the water till the meat and onions are cooking in pork fat.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:Dan Boone wrote:

I also use my 8-qt instapot for stupid-easy small-batch canning (it fits three quarts and pint) even though it's not technically supposed to be used for that.

That would be 3 x 500ml jars and a 250ml jar for the rest of us.  Surprisingly, I could actually fit those in my 6-qt Instapot - I just tested - which would be safer than just a boiling water bath for edge case things. My big pressure canner can't be used on my stove, but only outside which is a nuisance. My old kitchen pressure cooker which is now honourably retired at 30 years old due to handle issues, was not tall enough to hold 500ml jars.



Okay, I understand the IP isn't "supposed" to be for canning, but like you, I see the sense in it, instead of using a water bath canner.
Aren't you worried at all about the jars exploding though?
Thats my big stress with using the IP as a canner.
Thanks!
 
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William Bronson - using "used" bones for broth is fine, particularly if they weren't from a braise, but even bones that have been braised can be used for broth, just some of the gelatin will have already left them in the braising process. In the restaurants I've worked, we often would double use veal bones.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:Dan Boone wrote:

I also use my 8-qt instapot for stupid-easy small-batch canning (it fits three quarts and pint) even though it's not technically supposed to be used for that.

That would be 3 x 500ml jars and a 250ml jar for the rest of us.



Well, about that... it turns out they aren't identical in exterior dimension.

Jay Angler wrote:Surprisingly, I could actually fit those in my 6-qt Instapot - I just tested - which would be safer than just a boiling water bath for edge case things.



There are a lot of different brands of jars, and it turns out per the internet that metric jars and true pint/quart jars don't have the same volumes or dimensions.   The reason I have to use a pint jar with my quarts is that the internal steam vent structure projects too far down into the pot to fit a quart under it, even on my 8-qt model.  The off-brand 6 quart electric pressure cooker I used to have wouldn't fit quarts at all due to height, but I've never had the 6 quart IP.  

In the case of at least one popular brand of jars  -- the cheap "Golden Harvest" jars sold at Walmart -- the jars are 500ml jars, labeled as such in Canada, and mislabeled as quarts in the USA, while actually holding more volume than true quart jars.  This source seems to suggest that the metric jars have a broader diameter, but that's not relevant to how many I can cram into the IP -- it's height not diameter of the jars that's the issue.  I don't know whether the two types of jars vary in height.
 
Jay Angler
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Ginny Markee wrote:

Okay, I understand the IP isn't "supposed" to be for canning, but like you, I see the sense in it, instead of using a water bath canner.

There certainly seem to be people using it for water bath canning. I would make sure that the jars were held off the bottom using a thick cloth or a metal rack which I always do when using my big pot to water bath can.

To be precise,  they seem to accept "water bath canning" but not "pressure canning". The newest "Max" model may be able to, but that doesn't help me. The issue seems to be that *pressure* canning is looking for 15 PSI and the InstantPot is only pressurizing to 11 PSI. Another comment I read was that the InstantPot doesn't get all the air out before sealing - one of the instructions on my big pressure cooker is that you're supposed to let the steam flow for 7 minutes before putting the weight on. A solution for that might be to leave it in the 'vent' position until there's plenty of steam coming out, and then switch it to the pressure cooker mode.

Another issue that kept being mentioned is that there's no way to know what temperature the InstantPot's getting up to. Pressure canners normally use a "weight" or a gauge so you can tell if it's up to pressure or not. So there may be no way to tell if an InstantPot's kept the water up to "boiling" for the proper time to preserve following a water bath recipe. On a stove I can tell by the steam rising! That said, I think this is an area where time and experience will give people confidence, but to begin with, it seems like we should start with safer rather than riskier recipes.

The whole issue of temperature is complicated. For example there are certain foods which I want to "pasteurize" by water bath canning at a lower temperature for a longer time - since I can't control the InstantPot's temperature, I'll have to use the large pot I've used for that job in the past. I use an meat thermometer to get the ideal temperature, but it's definitely a nuisance trying to keep it in the narrow range it needs to be in.

This whole subject is further complicated because everyone's scared that if someone "thinks" they've followed instructions and gets sick, lawsuits get threatened or even just bad publicity, regardless of whether it's justified or not. When I consider what people did a generation ago, we're far fussier now. Some of that may be justified, but some of it seems to me to be just scare tactics so that everyone will by commercial "safe" food, regardless of the noticeable failures that regularly occur!
 
Dan Boone
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Ginny Markee wrote:
Okay, I understand the IP isn't "supposed" to be for canning, but like you, I see the sense in it, instead of using a water bath canner.
Aren't you worried at all about the jars exploding though?



No, why would the jars explode?  One does want to use a trivet or rack on the bottom of the pot so the glass jars don't rattle against the stainless steel as bubbles form under the jars, but that's true in any pressure canner.

My understanding is that the "reason" we aren't supposed to use electric pressure cookers for pressure canning is that early models didn't get all the way up to 10.5 psi of pressure (and thus, didn't reach the 240F temperature deemed necessary for safe canning).  The user manual for my Instant Pot says the working pressure on the high pressure setting reflects a working pressure of 10.2 to 11.6 psi at sea level, and the working temperature is 239°F - 244°F.  I'm only at about 500 feet of altitude, so that works for me.  (Various cooperative extension sources say there's enough margin of error to allow safe canning at 10lbs of pressure up to about 1000 feet of altitude.)  

However, my model of electric pressure cooker won't go up to 15psi the way many stovetop cookers will, which is what you "need" to have a bigger margin of safety or if you're cooking at a higher altitude.  

Also however, and this is the biggie, every official source agrees: since none of the "approved" canning recipes have actually been tested in the electric pressure cooker models, and in fact nobody regulates or investigates whether the manufacturer specifications are actually true, it's theoretically dangerous to assume the Instant Pot is actually doing what the manufacturer says it's doing. (Internal pressures and temperatures might be lower than advertised.) I don't consider that a huge risk, but the way I compensate for it is to limit my use of the IP as a canner to high acid foods that would be safe to water-bath can, and to processing things like stock that I'm going to be boiling upon use anyway (which neutralizes botulinium toxins).  It's sort of a defense in depth against the uncertainties, and the convenience / ease-of-use makes it worthwhile to me.

All that said, some new "deluxe" models of the IP are coming out with internal temperature displays on the LED readout.  I'm very interested in Jay's account that quart jars fit in the 6qt, because they haven't announced a deluxe version of the 8qt yet.  To my mind, having an extra confirmation of the internal working temperature (even though the internal temperature sensor could theoretically be inaccurate or miscalibrated) would push me "over the top" into fully trusting my IP for pressure canning.  
 
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Crossposted with Jay before seeing that answer.  I don't think we differ in any essential details, or even very much in perspective.
 
Dan Boone
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Dan Boone wrote:Some new "deluxe" models of the IP are coming out with internal temperature displays on the LED readout.  I'm very interested in Jay's account that quart jars fit in the 6qt, because they haven't announced a deluxe version of the 8qt yet.  To my mind, having an extra confirmation of the internal working temperature (even though the internal temperature sensor could theoretically be inaccurate or miscalibrated) would push me "over the top" into fully trusting my IP for pressure canning.  



I have additional info about this now.  The 6qt Instant Pot "Max" -- which is the new/deluxe model I was talking about -- is sized such that quarts will not fit; both the user manual and user reviews confirm it's a "four pint jars" situation.  

The Max is explicitly advertised for canning, and per a statement the company provided to a person reviewing the unit, they are working with a Canadian university to get the research done they need for broader acceptability of their units as pressure canners:

For Max Canning, Instant Pot is currently working with McGill University, a 3rd party food science research facility to validate the Max meets canning regulations. There are 3 phases to the process, (1) Validating the temperatures, (2) Canning food (low and high-acid) and verifying post-canning result, and (3) Potentially, developing new canning times for certain food groups.

We can confirm phase 1 has been completed and the “Low Pressure” 230°F (110°C) setting sustains an average temperature between 110 and 111°C which can be for high-acid canning foods. With “Max Pressure” we can confirm a sustained temperature of 240-247°F (116.5-119°C) for low-acid canning foods.

 
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