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ruminant bone broth is amazing food  RSS feed

 
                    
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I can get a few chopped up and frozen shank bones from local grass fed/finished cows for less than $5.  On the back of the woodstove in the cold season, these ruminant bones create some of the nicest looking milky broth you've ever seen.  It seems to take at least twelve hours of simmering for it to really start looking strong.  It can smell a little weird to the unfamiliar nose, but once that flavor improves the next pot of soup/beans/whatever it'll start to smell like good food. 

We bought a live lamb and butchered him for my partner's 40th birthday celebration in September.  I kept all the bones simmering in a pot in the oven for about a week.  Pressure canned 24 quarts of it, and I just added one to an otherwise very simple vegetable soup.  Now a rich meaty smell fills the cabin.  We are still eating that lamb months after the meat is gone. 

Bones might be the most important part of the animal!  It's so sad to me that they are usually treated as waste products. 

I've been told by several experienced homesteader ladies that bone broth will cure a sick child faster than most other things.  I have yet to see the effect on kids, but soup with some good boney juice in it is all I want when I'm feeling under the weather these days. 

I did my annual period of a "cleansing diet" last spring, but the weather was so unseasonably cold I couldn't get by on the usual fresh juices, so I drank chicken bone broth instead.  The fat helped hunger pangs and I was able to get around and do farm stuff much better than I usually can when I'm "fasting."  (So many people take this word to mean "only consuming water" that I don't even really want to use it, but....that's what I call it and not how I do it.)

Someone told me that adding an acid - lemon juice or vinegar - helps release the calcium in the bones.  What say you, resident scientists? 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I think the acid idea is very plausible. Calcium citrate is a lot more soluble in water than calcium phosphate, and I think both are less soluble at higher pH.

On top of that, I think acid will help to break down the collagen into gelatin, so that more protein is released from the bone.

Linus Pauling began with a good argument in that vitamin C paper: most animals make lots of vitamin C when they are sick, and the human liver can't make it. His argument breaks down, though, when you realize that humans are adapted to use uric acid for most of the purposes that would typically call for vitamin C (i.e., when we need lots of antioxidant). Consuming gelatin tends to mean your body uses protein for calories, which results in greater serum levels of uric acid. I think macrobiotic treatment for the same conditions would involve a rice-only diet, which would also cause lots of protein to be broken down (this time, raiding the body's own tissues for essential amino acids) and an increase in uric acid levels, which is probably just the thing for those who can't afford much protein. All this to say: it makes sense that broth should help a person with a cold; long, slow boiling (especially with some acid in the broth) should make this work even better. I crave scrambled eggs when I'm sick, maybe for similar reasons.

In my opinion, broth is done if, when it cools, you can bounce a spoon off of it. Sometimes you have to scrape fat off the top before this works properly.
 
                    
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I wonder if older animals have more gelatin in their bones?  The lamb broth never thickened, not at all like the cow shank or chicken bone broths I've made.  The lamb broth still has delicious flavor and the slippery mouth feel of gelatin though. 

Very interesting about the acids, all of them.  Thanks Joel. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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marina phillips wrote:I wonder if older animals have more gelatin in their bones?


I think they usually do. Collagen builds up in connective tissue in response to stress (of most any sort): bone, muscle, skin, tendons, even arteries harden in mostly a similar way. I think generally that meat which is tender when cooked rare, will probably be draped over bones that don't produce such great broth.

That said, pack enough bones & cartilage into a small enough saucepan, filling in the gaps with mostly veggies rather than water, and the broth will turn out OK even the carcass in question was very tender.
 
Susanna de Villareal-Quintela
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I am an avid broth maker.  I love this time of year when the temperatures dip and my stock pots are full and brewing on the stove.  I have prepared broth with both acid and without.  I do believe the acid makes a difference. 

I usually use a small splash of apple cider vinegar in a large stock pot of broth bones.  I do mean a small, 1 tablespoon or less, otherwise there is going to be just a hint ( or worse,) of vinegar flavor in your broth. 

I low heat simmer my broth for about 18 hours with a few carrots, an onion and a few stalks of celery.  I skim off the foam regularly.    If I'm short on space I will super concentrate my broth by reducing much of the water out and canning it in smaller jars or make broth ice cubes.  Then, I have the option of adding water if I need a larger quantity.  The frozen broth cubes I drop into rice, pasta sauces, etc. 

Ya know... the best chicken broth is made from the backs, necks and feet of the bird.  In my area, I can buy all of those items for about $.69 per pound and make the most fabulous broth!

I do believe a properly prepared broth will help anyone bounce back from an illness.  I've seen it with my children, my husband and myself.
 
            
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bone broth thoughts and recipes from Jim Mcdonald previously mentioned here.
 
Susanna de Villareal-Quintela
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Hah! A successful experiment. 

I had just finished a batch of chicken stock (18 cups of beautiful stock).  I was looking at the pile of leftover chicken and began to wonder about the usefulness of brewing another batch of stock off these same remnants of chicken.  I refilled my stockpot and began again, using the same leftovers with no additional chicken inputs (I did add fresh carrots and celery).

Since the original stock was gelling at room temperature (65 degrees in my house), I didn't know just how much collagen would be left in the chicken and available for the new batch.  I thought I would end-up with a pot of chicken flavored water that I could infuse some of my veggie broths with.  But, what the heck... I wanted to see just how much the bones, bits of meat, and skin had left to give. 

Fourteen hours later, I was surprised to find a successful batch of stock.  After a night in the fridge it did gel into a soft-set.  It is not as rich, in flavor or texture, as the first batch and it has a more "boney" flavor but it is still 100% better (IMO) than what can be pulled off the shelves at the grocer.  I could condense it further but I don't think it is going to be necessary.

The remaining bones were separated from other tissues, rinsed and mixed into the compost pile.  However, I would like to report that the bones were SO fragile (even those we consider the strongest) I could crush and pulverize them between my fingers with the slightest effort.  I will be very surprised if I can find them in my compost after 2 weeks! 

I kept a few bones to dry overnight to see just how flexible they remained after spending, roughly, 32 hours in a 196 degree water bath.  Amazingly, there is still some flexibility there.  My guess is there is still some collagen to be had... Amazing! 

In the future, I am going to run 2 batches of stock off a given set of bones and then blend the two batches before storing. 
 
                    
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I usually get at least  three batches of stock out of shank bones.  Two is more like it with chicken carcasses, and before the second boiling I break apart all the bones with a cleaver.  At the end of it, the chicken bones especially just crumble apart.  We put all of our bones in our compost piles and I never see a bone in the finished product. 


Ya know... the best chicken broth is made from the backs, necks and feet of the bird.  In my area, I can buy all of those items for about $.69 per pound and make the most fabulous broth!


Chicken feet are seriously amazingly oily, aren't they!?  I scrub our chicken's feet, then par boil them in their own water for about 5 minutes before adding them to the rest of the stock.  In just those few minutes there are large globs of yellow oil on top of the par boiling water.  I throw that water in the pig's slop pot, so none of that precious fat goes to waste. 

I also carefully pull off all the yellow fat that accumulates around the gizzard and render it to cook the rest of the chicken in.  Best chicken flavor ever with that stuff.  There are all kinds of little "extras" when you have the opportunity to butcher your own bird. 
 
                                    
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Location: Lynnwood, Washington
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The best bone broth gels.  I have found that using the knuckles does this best.  The knuckles are the joints, at least that's what they call them in the butcher department.  Lately they have been hard to come by.  Marrow bones are enjoying new fame and so I think that the powers that be are just throwing out the joints, thinking they aren't so marketable.  This has been my experience.  Still learning though.  I try to never be without bone broth.  I always add vinegar and bring on the heat very slowly and don't boil them.  I keep them simmering for at least 24 hours.  I love reading posts from others who value bone broth.  I'm a real believer in it's value for joint health, among other things.
 
Jordan Lowery
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i made some turkey broth with the left over carcass the other day. real simple.

take one big stock pot, add lots of water, add carcass, then take a walk through the garden, grab whatever would be good in the stock. add little bit of vinegar, bring to a boil them lower and simmer for as long as possible. usually i start it in the morning, and finish it at night. then have some for dinner and store the rest. makes absolutely delicious soup.
 
Moody Vaden
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I am fairly new to bone broths.  I've been making large batches to freeze for future use.  I freeze it in everything from freezer containers to ice cube trays.  I'm wondering, do you think freezing for long periods diminish its benefits?
 
                                    
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I'm sure freezing does no harm.  The one thing I know not to do is microwave broth.  There is some unfavorable reaction in the broth but I can't relate right now what that is. 

Editing to add that I just made suet for the birds from the fat that hardened in the fridge, melted it and added seeds and dried fruit and refrigerated it again until it hardened and put it in the suet feeder.  The birds are flocking to it.  That's cool.
 
                                          
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I have been raising goats, pigs and poultry for a dozen years.  In order to have milk from the goats I have to breed them.  I grow out the kids to six months old or so and butcher them for meat.  I have a ten gallon stock pot that I process the bones to stock and do so regularly.  I do add onion peels and ends egg shells and simmer for 24 hours.  I pressure can the stock and use it in soups, stews, beans, or as liquid in slow cooking.  When preparing chicken or rabbit I save the bones and backs etc and make a small batch stock for the frig for gravey or what not.
I will try adding lemon, that seems a good tip.  None of my animals will eat citrus rinds and we often use lemon or lime in hot or chilled water.  Since the stock is strained I will just use the rind . 
Last week I butchered out a large feeder pig and got 14 quarts(two pressure cookers full) of stock.  The meat from the bones I made into srapple with cornmeal.  Makes a great substitute for sausage and less work.  I added it to the traditional hog head meats.  Pork stock is nice in beans, cabbage soup or scalloped taters.
 
Chris Fitt
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Mustang Breeze wrote:
Hah! A successful experiment.   

In the future, I am going to run 2 batches of stock off a given set of bones and then blend the two batches before storing. 


This is common to do in restaurants and other professional cooking.  The French word for it is remoulage.  It can be done either with or without additional vegetables.  Blending it with your previous batch will give you a consistent product from the two batches.  Another idea is to use the second stock for cooking things like beans and rice where the stock gives flavor but is not featured.
 
Lee Einer
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Many years ago famed nutritionist Adelle Davis said we should always include an acid when making a bone stock so as to dissolve the calcium in the bones and release it into the stock.

She said that doing so can give you broth with a calcium level as high or higher than that of milk.

Tomato juice works dandy for this. Vinegar, also. Lemon does the job but does add its flavor to the finished product - that's not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what soup you are making.
 
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