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question about broths/stock

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  • question about broths/stock

    I've done a little bit of reading about this and I'm thinking about giving it a shot. So i add my bones, meat, veggies, etc, some water and vinegar and bring this to a boil. Apparently there is some stuff that will rise to the top that I'm supposed to skim off. After this I cover and let it simmer for a few hours (maybe overnight?) Then i get all the bones and stuff out of the liquid, using a strainer or spoon of some sort.

    At this point I'm stuck. Do I eat/drink it now? Let it cool? How long will my liquid stay good for? All recipes I've read so far say to let it cool and then skim the fat off the top. Do you do this?

    I never really had a mom to show me how to do this kind of stuff. My dad made simple things for me and my sister and when I cooked it was frozen pizza or oatmeal; not exactly primal.

    All the help with the broth/stock is much appreciated. Thanks!


  • #2
    You can either use it immediately as a base for soup, or you can let it cool and keep it for later. If you let it cool and store it in the fridge, it will last a few days. If it sets to a jelly, this is a sign of a REALLY good stock - it's the gelatin that's been extracted from the bones.
    I don't bother skimming any fat off - we like fat here
    I usually freeze it in "portions" in plastic containers, to pull out and throw into soup whever I fancy making some.


    • #3
      If you let it cool, be aware that freshly made stock is paradise for various microbes. You should either cool it rapidly (I fill the sink with ice and run cold water into it, some people freeze water bottles and put them in (but this concerns me a bit about the plastic)) or make sure to reboil it before consuming it.

      Also, you don't want to boil the stock right away if you're looking for maximum mineral extraction from the bones. If you boil it before the structure has already degraded somewhat, some of the pores and microfissures in the bone through which minerals leech into the stock can seal up.

      Feet, backs, and tails are the secret to a really great broth. They have lots of water-soluble connective tissue which makes a good, gelatinous stock.

      For safety, don't simmer overnight on a gas burner since the stock could foam over the top and put the burner out. Electric is better, but make sure it's not going to reduce to the point of dryness. Slow cookers are the best.

      I skim the fat off of the top some of the time because the stock-infused fat is a great basis for sauces.
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      • #4
        I love drinking chicken broth, just plain broth seasoned with a little salt. To make the broth I save all the bones from a roast chicken carcass and boil in water for 4-5 hours. I don't bother with skimming off foam or adding vegetables. Just boil the carcass and then pour the broth through a colander or strainer to remove the bones,etc. My refrigerated broth is totally jellied. I drink a nice warm cup for breakfast or in the afternoon. It tastes delicious - full of chicken flavor. Never let your chicken carcass go to waste - save all tlhe bones as you eat the chicken and then just boil them up when you are finished eating the whole bird.


        • #5
          I'll just chime in and say the best vegetables to use are the aromatics (onion, carrot, celery, parsnips, a little garlic, etc.) to really make a stock pop. Avoid anything cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) unless you want a nasty, bitter, stinky broth. Also, I find that adding fresh parsley, thyme, and peppercorns to the boil does loads for flavor.
          "To shed all the illusory rights & hesitations of history demands the economy of some legendary Stone Age--shamans not priests, bards not lords, hunters not police, gatherers of paleolithic laziness, gentle as blood, going naked for a sign or painted as birds, poised on the wave of explicit presence, the clockless nowever." --Hakim Bey, TAZ


          • #6
            It's best to let everything sit in the pot for one hour before heating to let the vinegar start to work on the bones. I use: onion, carrot, garlic, ginger, parsley, and a little bit of coconut milk. I cook mine for 24 hours in the crock pot. When it is done, I add more coconut milk and lime, then I use some of the stock for soup that day, and I freeze the rest in mason jars (don't fill the jars up to the top!!! Broken glass everywhere! Leave room for the broth to expand) and use as needed, mostly for soups. I skim some of the fat off after it is cooled and I incorporate the rest into the soup.

            Hope this helps.


            • #7
              I cook mine for 24-48 hours, apple cider added does wonders for breaking down the bones. I also ensure I crack the spine, thigh bones etc before I put them in. I beleive I read that in Sally Fallons book "Nourishing Traditions".

              I didn't know that about cooling stock quickly, I make a HUGE pot and can't see how I could do this. Although, I tend to pour it into jars while still hot and the stuff I freeze, I put right into ziploc bags and they go into the deep freeze, laying flat on cookie sheets to cool fast.
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              • #8
                That's fine if you boil it again (or probably even if you don't of course). Do be careful that you don't overwork your freezer and cause some of the stuff to partially thaw out. It's happened to me before.
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                • #9
                  Hi, Grokologist

                  Yes, boiling again is good.

                  I put bones or cuts with a lot of connective tissue into the crock pot with cold water and some vinegar, and then just let it go till the meat gets all soft and falls off the bones. Aromatic veggies make for a nice stock, but if they've been in the crock pot from the beginning, I consider them spent and take them out when I remove the bones.

                  After the stock has cooled enough not to break glass, mason jars are a good idea. I fill with a big head space left, then tighten the lids and rings and let them sit till they are room temperature. Then I loosen the rings but leave the lids stuck down, and put them first in the fridge, and then in the freezer.

                  Yes, this probably does give bugs some time to get going, but then I boil it all when it comes back out.

                  Barefoot Paul, you can do several things with stock. You can heat it up and add a few spices and sea salt and drink it. Or you can add fresh veggies, especially tomato gives a nice tang, but cook them a very short time. By the time veggies have sat around for hours in stock they have left all the good stuff in the liquid, and you can discard their spent carcasses. But veggies fresh in the stock for just a few minute can be very good.

                  You can boil a little veg in a small portion of stock (like a half pint), add some chopped cooked meat or boiled egg, and then cool it quickly till it turns to gel, and eat it with tomato sauce.

                  Good luck ...


                  • #10
                    its not the fat that you are supposed to skim off in the beginning of the boiling - its the froth that you want to get rid of
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                    • #11
                      Here is a pressure cooker method I use which has always gotten me MUCH more gelatinous stock, wayyyyy faster.

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                      • #12
                        I save veggie trimmings (carrot, onion, garlic, celery) and keep them in a tub in the freezer until I have some bones. I add the veggies, water, and a splash of cider vinegar and let it simmer for several hours. I end up with fantastic broth gel. I usually let it cool partway, then pour it into plastic containers (the size of a large yogurt container) and freeze it. I used to use mason jars, but I had a few jars break when I was trying to defrost my broth too quickly.
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                        • #13
                          Thanks everyone for all the help!!