31 August 2012

Bone Broth (Canned)

Broth is an essential component in many recipes, not the least of which are the massive amounts in soups.  But, as usual, the stuff sold in the stores is a mystery of complicated chemicals - including gluten.  Gluten?  There are flour products in broth?  Anyway, I'm here to tell you that there's a better way, and it's super cheap (depending on how valuable your time is, I guess...but I consider this to be health insurance, so I'm willing to donate the time needed).  If you doubt, skim over this blog post on all the benefits of bone broth - the biggest one that stands out to me is that bone broth is essential to making your bones stronger.  That's right, consuming the minerals and marrow from bones helps strengthen your own bones.
I got some bones at the local butcher (okay, it was Ebels, for those of you "in the know").  I roasted them for half an hour at 350*F.  This makes the marrow nice and tender.

Then cover them with water in the crockpot.  I let this simmer on low for 24 hours.  I had larger bones and they didn't fit so well in the crockpot, so I ended up making 3 batches - I kept the crockpot running for 3 days straight.  I ended up with 18 cups (or 9 pints, or 4.5 quarts, or 1.125 gallons...) of bone broth.
Because a gallon of rich bone broth is much more than I'll use in the average week, I decided to can it.  Coincidentally, 9 pints fit perfectly in my canner.  I did skim much of the fat of the top, mostly because the directions said to.  Otherwise, I have no problem with natural saturated fats in animal broth.
My first time pressure canning, and I was slightly wary of...well, you know, pressure canners exploding.  Completely irrational, I know.  But I still put on Kyle's motorcycle jacket and safety glasses.
Okay, I only kept them on long enough for the photo.  It was way too hot in the kitchen for a jacket!
I followed the directions that came with my canner - 10 lbs for 20 minutes (for pints).  If you want to can broth, I recommend using the Ball canning guide or directions that came with your own canner.  Canning meats is NEVER safe in a water bath canner; it must be pressure-canned.

Bone broth!  It's not particularly pretty, but neither are health problems.  I'm sure this will enrich soups all through the fall, and canning more this winter will help warm up the house on cold days.

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