Monday, July 29, 2013

Stone Soup

"Are you shi**n' me? Stone soup again?!" -- Caveman
Bone Broth, a.k.a. Stone Soup

Bone broth is slow-simmered broth, made with bones.  Vegetables and/or vegetable scraps are also sometimes used, as is a shot of vinegar to help leach the minerals from the bones.  Bone broth is healthful and frugal.

Why make bone broth?  For starters, prepping can be expensive!  Being frugal makes prepping easier.  Bone broth can be “almost” free to make, from items that you don’t even realize that you have, hence the “Stone Soup” title.   Also, bone broth is chock-full of minerals and nutrients, which is always a good thing, but especially so if/when the “balloon goes up”, when staying healthy will be of the utmost importance.  It is great for stiff joints, and it is supposed to promote gut wellness.  In addition, bone broth is easy to make.


The easiest way to start making bone broth is to start saving bones and scraps.  I have numerous zip top bags in my freezer with various bones, meats, and vegetable scraps.  When they fill up, it’s time to make broth.  I also save veggies that are starting to “go south” in the vegetable scrap bag.  Nothing spoiled, mind you.  But it’s the perfect place for slightly limp vegetables that would otherwise be wasted.  When I prepare meals, I save the things most people throw away.  My biggest dilemma is deciding which scraps go to the freezer, and which scraps go to the chickens! 


So, place some bones in a pot, slow cooker, Dutch oven, etc.  I typically use my slow cooker, because it uses very little electricity and requires very little attention once set to cook.  Right this minute, I have about 3 pounds of beef marrow bones (two large bones that I purchased) in my 7-quart slow cooker, along with one large onion cut into chunks, some garlic scapes (just because I have them…otherwise I would have added 3-6 garlic cloves), and some celery, including the leaves.  I only have the purchased soup bones because they were a really good deal at the grocery store; less than a dollar per pound.  Normally, I use bones from roasts I’ve cooked, steaks I’ve grilled, or the like.  If I had a bag full of vegetable scraps in the freezer (I normally do, but I used them up earlier today to make fish bone broth and pork bone broth), I would use them instead of the chopped vegetables. I added a shot of white vinegar, maybe two tablespoons.  I don’t measure the vinegar, and honestly, sometimes I forget to add it.  It still works fine.  Vinegar is supposed to help draw out minerals from the bones, and it stands to reason that it should, but the broth will still be delicious and healthful if you don’t use it.  I have a few backyard chickens, so sometimes I throw in a few eggshells for the minerals they contain.  I turned the slow cooker to the Low setting for 10 hours (the maximum).  After about an hour, I will leave the lid slightly ajar, because my cooker runs a little hot.  The broth should barely bubble.  They say boiling damages the nutrients.  I don’t know about that, but it tastes better when it doesn’t boil.  Since it is evening, I will reset the slow cooker so it runs all night.  I am comfortable doing this; if you are not, only cook this during the day.  I normally cook beef bone broth all day AND all night. 

Simmer your bone broth for as many hours as you want.  Guidelines are anywhere from 2 hours to 72 hours, so obviously your mileage may vary.  I typically simmer fish broth for 3-6 hours, chicken for 6-12 hours, pork for 10-20 hours, and beef for 10-30 hours.  Taste it frequently, and when it’s really delicious, it’s done.

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Bone Broth Soup (Vegetable Soup):

 Soup Ingredients

1. Large pot of Bone broth
2. 2 Tablespoon sea salt
3. 3 Ribs of celery
4. 2 Large onions
5. 1 brocolli head
6. 4 Medium carrots

7. 4 Garlic cloves

8. ½ Teaspoon parsley
9. ½ Teaspoon black pepper

Bone Broth Soup Steps:

1. Pour your broth into a large pot (if it is not already in one)
2. Add in all of the spices and sea salt
3. Cut vegetables and mince garlic, then add them to the bone broth soup
4. Turn on to low to medium heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

(You can store this soup in your refrigerator for up to one week, just reheat the bone broth soup when ready to use)

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