Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Epic Stock-Making Session

I am trying to cook any winter food out of the freezer, stuff that takes lots of heat to cook, to enjoy the last cozy snuggling days inside before spring fever takes over.

So, I defrosted a turkey and a pile of beef bones.  I roasted the turkey (and nearly burned it - that's woe to tell another time) and put the carcass in my big slow cooker with the usual stuff. 

I used a new method for the beef bones:  I borrowed an 18-quart electric roaster from my church and set it down in my basement to cook the beef stock.  The smell of beef stock cooking is not pleasant - I don't know why.   

I cooked these stocks for 5 days, night and day, checking them every day.  By the end, the stock was rich and dark and I could break the bones with my hands.  The children were fascinated by the crumbling bones, so I saved some for them to play with.  I used my fat separator to put a small amount of fat back into the stock, but I still have a bowl full of tallow in the fridge!  More soap-making in my future!

Then I borrowed Rebecca's pressure canner and canned all the stock. 
jars of stock

I was about 80% convinced I needed to invest in a pressure canner.  Rebecca told me I should can one more thing in the pressure canner to get over the hump before I return it to her, so I made and canned baked beans without reading the canner booklet obsessively or calling Rebecca six times; subsequently, I've started shopping around for a pressure canner. (I'd love to hear your pressure canner success stories!)

baked beans
I'm also about 85% convinced that this beautiful stock is keeping my family healthy.  Stock made from bones  has minerals, collagen, marrow, and cartilage that cannot be found in any other food (read this article for more details).

Just in time because Ben is fighting a nasty stomach virus (despite this, we've had a pretty healthy winter, overall).  I was happy to give him some homemade chicken stock and jasmine rice for supper tonight.  I'm 90% certain he's over the worst of it.

No more percentages tonight.  Off to sew and then to bed.


Jennifer Jo said...

That's some serious stock making! I'm impressed!

And I'm even more impressed that you got over the pressure canner hurdle. I have a state-of-the-art canner and it scares me stupid.

Lisa said...

Wow! You've earned your rest.

Unknown said...

Great stock! Love the idea of slow roasting the bones instead of boiling them...I have one of those big electric roasters so now I know what to do for next time : )

I tried your recipe from last week's post for a batch of soap. I can't wait to see how it turns out!!!

jenny_o said...

That is a lot of work but lovely results. I hope your son feels back to normal very soon.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Great job making the stock.. It will make some wonderful dishes for your family to eat..
Hope your little one feels better soon. My grandaughter had been battling the stomach virus for a week..It has been a long lasting one, this time.

Margo said...

Eva, just to be clear: I didn't roast the bones in the roaster. I just used it like a big slow cooker and put in water, bones, onions, etc. Fortunately, my husband was around to carry that heavy vat of hot liquid up to the kitchen when it was done!

Naptime Seamstress said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my All American pressure canner. I'm not including a link because I bought mine local. I got a 25 qt. size -- I think it was a little over $200 or something. BUT! I can can 7 qt. jars and stack (on a thing, on top of the qts.) 8 - 10 pint jars, depending on their shape and how i squeeze them in!!! That makes it seem so worthwhile - to get that many done in one shot.

What I like about the All American canners: the 6 lug nuts around the top -- no blowing up there! The gasket is NONE! No rubber gasket to go dry, it's a metal-metal seal. Just a little vaseline sometimes.

It took me about 5 goes of pressure canning to get my unit "broken in", and the lid was stuck a couple times because I put it on crooked. But now, I LOVE it!!!

Have fun canner shopping!

AmyK said...

I love reading your posts, and I think I get inspiration each and every time. I've made small amounts of chicken stock when I have leftover bones or pieces, but I haven't delved into large quantities of stock-making.

Now I really want to. Thanks for taking the time to post!

Polly said...

I am intrigued by bone broth-making, but I've never done it (!). Do you get the same health benefits with chicken/turkey bone broth as you do the beef? Turkey is more plentiful in my world, in general.

I've never used a pressure canner but it seems like the kind of thing that would be very useful to have, once you tackle the fear-factor!!

Margo said...

Polly, yes, I think all bone broths are beneficial (and turkey is the tastiest, in my opinion), kind of like vegetables.

chipmunk said...

I've had a Presto pressure canner for about 4 years. After about the first 3 batches of canning, I felt pretty comfortable with it and haven't looked back. Last summer I canned a bunch of meat, hearing that the drought was going to cause prices to skyrocket. It got to be kind of a comforting nightly ritual to come home from work,fill up 8 jars, start up the canning process, and listen to the steam and rocker on the canner while fixing and eating dinner. It's been great to use some of the soups and meats since then; they work as home-prepared convenience foods! I can use the freezer to hold on to produce or meats from the garden or bought on sale until I have enough time/energy to can them. The pressure canner has paid for itself long ago in both savings and peace of mind.
I hope your son gets well soon. I work at a doctor's office, and we've seen a lot of that stomach bug this year. Not fun.

Anonymous said...

Those jars look great! I have the All American Pressure canner also, mine sounds like the one mentioned by the gal a few comments back. It has the metal to metal seal, and the round weight that jiggles to let pressure escape and maintain the exact pressure desired. I ordered mine through Lehman's non-electric company in Ohio. I got it a few years ago and it was a couple hundred dollars or so, and I like it very much. I have used mine to can various things, probably for green and yellow beans from the garden the most- many, many jars of those! Shauna

Melanie said...

I love my pressure canner! It was my mother's, given to me when I began to be interested in canning several years ago. Amusingly, since then, because my sister and I (and Rebecca and her family) can a lot, my mom decided she needed one of her own again :)

One of my favorite things to can in the pressure canner are straight up cooked dried beans. They take a bit of time but cost less (and canned beans are cheap, but I did the math), and I can control the sodium (none) and any other weird stuff (also none) that go into them!

We use them to make hummus (black beans substituted for chickpeas in the Simply in Season recipe, with a generous dash of red pepper, is so wonderful), and toss them into salads in the summer and soups in the winter.

I'm feeling the winter blahs and am so ready for spring. You've inspired me with your beef stock cooking - perhaps I'll do that, too, and get those bones out of my freezer before the summer veggie bounty is upon us!

Steve said...

You might also like to try actually making the beef stock in the pressure canner too. You only need to cook the bones for around an hour at 15 lbs. pressure. I've done this with poultry and the bones come out crumbly in half an hour.

Anonymous said...

I agree that beef stock smells bad

Tried making beef stock in crock pot last night. The smell woke me up at 2.30am.
Had to open all the windows and turn the pot off
Still feel sick now with the smell!