Monday, June 20, 2011

Look at the Bones!

What time is it? Bone Stock Time!

Making bone stock:
I had a bag full of some bones and what not left over in the freezer from a lamb I got a while back (I always ask for any extra fat and marrow bones from the processor). Some of the bones were full of marrow, some had a bit of fat, meat scrap, tendon/ligament attached too. I also made a pork shoulder roast the other night that had some bones in it that I saved. I recommend saving bones from meats you cook, you can put them in the freezer until you save enough if need be.

There's a bunch of really good stuff that comes out in bone stock, proline (precursor for collagen), glutamine (has been shown to benefit the gut lining), glycine (an important player in the central nervous system, among other things), collagen/gelatin (shown to be benefit people with ulcers), lots of minerals, etc., generally a bunch of good stuff. It's also super freakin tasty. You really can't beat the flavor (and nutrition) of homemade stock.

I got out my handy crock pot. Put in all the bones, some I had to break and smash a little with a hammer to get them to fit in. Filled up with cool water and a little vinegar, which helps leech out good minerals and stuff from the bones. For the vinegar I would normally use apple cider vinegar, but was out, so I used coconut vinegar. It really doesn't matter what kind you use, but depending on how much you put in, can change the flavor some. It's usually recommended to use anywhere from a couple tablespoons to a half cup or so of vinegar, I probably put in abouta 1/4 cup as a guess (I very rarely measure things when cooking, haha)

Pot full o' goodness

almost done
I cooked mine on low for about 2.5 days. I usually recommend letting it go for 2-3 days. If you're just using chicken bones you shouldn't need any more than 2 days. Also if you have the bones in smaller pieces it shouldn't need quite as long to cook.
You will probably need to add some water here and there so it doesn't get too low as it starts losing some from evaporation.
I must admit, after about 8 hours or so I couldn't help but take out the bones with meat and marrow and eat the good stuff, then put them back in the pot :).

leftover bones afterward
When it's done, it's time to strain out the bones. I just picked them out with a fork and spoon, but you can strain the stock using a colander or sieve. If you want more clear broth, you can strain it through a cheese cloth. I just picked up the crock pot (after it had cooled a while), and poured the stock into a container slowly, as it got toward the bottom when there was just a small amount of liquid left I stopped. I picked out the bones then poured out the last little bit of stock, being careful not to pour out the grit at the bottom. The bones will come out so soft you can literally crush them in your fingers (or even eat them if you like).
You can keep the stock in a container in the fridge if you're going to use it in the next 5 days or so. If not, you can freeze it. People seem to like pouring the stock into ice cube trays and freezing them for future use.

into the container, fresh and hot

I just put mine in a container and stuck it in the fridge. After cooling, the fat will rise to the top and make a layer. The stock underneath will be the same consistency as jello. When heated again it goes liquid. You can reheat the fat on top back in with the stock when using it, or separate it for a different use. You can use the stock for all kinds of recipes, making soups and stews, whatever you can think of. I really like to get a mug, fill it partially with water and heat it up, then spoon in some of the stock and just drink a mug of it. Delicious!
the next day, after being in the fridge

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