cooking

Food Preservation May 21st-May 27th

There was a typo initially in the title that read as ‘May 275th’ and to be honest I’m not even sure that’s incorrect.

It’s hot here right now. It’s supposed to break soon but right now it’s inside of an oven, I know why people have outside kitchens hot. It coincides with a very short week and the funds to get stuff done, so I am working projects as long as I can stand to be in the kitchen and then moving on to other things for awhile and working like that on a cycle.

I have some projects that will be long term large size stockpiles this summer. My husband will eat as many dilly beans as a person puts in front of him and I finally hit the bottom of my 7 year old dried hot pepper stash. Both need to be as large as I can get them by the end of season. Same with the raspberry lemonade concentrate. It’s his favorite non-caffeinated beverage right now and I use to it make Italian sodas and rehydration drinks (add a little pink salt when you mix it). Same with tomatoes, I’m home canning my own and buying a can every time I do groceries. Even if we don’t go sideways this summer I still need to face Buffalo winters and my heat allergy.

dracula

Pandemic commentary or heat allergy? You decide

Food Preservation May 21-May 27th

raspberry coffee syrup-canned

raspberry lemonade concentrate

heirloom salsa

produce box pickles

produce box relish

dilly beans

pickled asparagus

dried jalapenos

dried peaches

dried apples

dried bananas

dried green beans

 

Reusable Canning Experiment-Phase 1

I think my canning stockpile is getting to where I feel more comfortable using the traditional two part lid system. I have been picking up lids every time I find them, though never more than a box or two, and I check jar prices every few days and hit decent sales when I find them.

However I have been moving into a mindset where I want to get into more reusable methods because I know me. We’re only at the end of May and my concerns on food waste have me microbatching a lot more than I might on a normal year. Factoring in the things I normally can heavily on a normal year and I’m looking at reusable methods for several reasons including price and waste.

So I’m sitting at my first week with reusable methods. To define the term, because I know at least one person is sitting there thinking mason jars are reusable by default. I am talking specifically about systems designed for the lids to be reused, normally with a rubber gasket.

Currently the three systems I’m testing are Harvest Guard, Tattler, and Weck.

weck

Weck

You’re going to hear a lot of mixed noise about Weck and I’m starting with them because they’re the system with the biggest learning curve and where I had my first true lid failure I think ever, honestly. However it was totally me. It was complete user error.

They’re finicky. They’re gorgeous but finicky. You have to heat the gasket with the lid in hot water, make sure the gasket is fit over the lid, seat it correctly and clamp it into place with a separate clamp system.

Guess what I didn’t do first run? Any of that. Guess what didn’t seal the first run? I have another run cooling now and just visually I can tell that they’re at least trying to seal even if I don’t hit it this time. I figured out 90% of the ‘correct’ way just by troubleshooting the first run on my own. If the other 10% gets me in the end will be determined.

Weck jars have no FDA testing behind them but they’re the primary jar style in Europe. Make your own decisions based on that info. There is no plastic whatsoever in this style. However I also spent $20 after gift cards on 6 jelly jars. You pay for these jars.

Harvest Guard

Harvest Guard is a brand of American made reusable lids. You get a plastic lid and a gasket. They’re controversial because there’s something like a 30% failure rate however I will also say that again my own lid failure is my own misuse. This is also why I completely misused the Wecks the first time, because this was my first use of a gasket and with Harvest Guard you DO seat the gasket first and then the lid. So I just sort of went with that pattern with the Wecks.

The trick to this style of lid is that you do not tighten down to process. You tighten after the run is cooling. This is where my failure comes in, I went to tighten the rings at the appropriate time and the ring was already as tight as it was going to go. That was me, not the lid. The other three lids in my sample pack went on fine. I will get getting more of these lids.

Tattler

Tattler is the most recognized of these types of lids. I have a sample pack coming and will come back to this when I run them.

Gaskets

I’m putting this as a separate point. Every company except Harvest Guard will be very direct about only using a gasket once. Most bloggers will too. However there’s also a certain amount of wink wink nudge because most people seem to run gaskets until they degrade. The wording is suggestive of this too, as in, do not use gaskets that look worn out. I do intend to rerun gaskets at least as an experiment. I’ll report back later.

Food Preservation May 14th-May 20th

There really isn’t a good time necessarily to break something in your foot but I guess if I’m forced by circumstance to not walk the hill every day is probably as good as time as any. I had an incident with a foot stool and thought with some clarity, the fact that this doesn’t hurt right now even as I feel something crunch in my foot tells me this is not going to end well. However even with my daily commute ending at the living room couch every day doesn’t mean I’ve been off of it because I am in fact not an intelligent person. I was actually pretty ok on it until I went to run an errand for my husband and realized this was going to be a very not enjoyable experience.

I have a couple of posts percolating in the back of my brain including why micro batching in a pandemic isn’t as off the wall as it sounds (save. everything. you. can.) and my potential/developing experiment with reusable canning lids but I have to get there first.

raspberryconcentrate

Raspberry lemonade concentrate-my husband’s life blood at this point.

As an aside I find it a little…weird that Ball is still being like ‘buy our stuff’ when we both know there’s no stuff to buy, Ball, you’re not producing for obvious reasons and I’m getting emails on lid orders telling me that they’ll fill it…eventually. Maybe there’s a post there too, about how I’m ordering supplies from random Midwestern farm stores at this point.

Anyway.

Food Preservation May 14th-May 20th

half gallon whole milk-frozen

pineapple salsa-frozen

strawberry butter-about half a pint (this one was way, way off of estimated yield)

lemonade concentrates-blackberry, raspberry, blueberry-a lot. just…a lot. This may be tied with dilly beans in my husband’s heart

1 pound roma tomatoes-dried

1 pound nectarines-dried

8 oz mushrooms-dried

bbq sauce- 3/4 quart

tomato jam-about a pint

apple pie bourbon-quart jar

raspberry blood orange vodka-pint jar

dilly beans-about 2 quarts

Starting to Preserve Food/Food Preservation for April 29-May 5th

pears

I’m starting to get into food preservation in a big way again.

Me and like every other homesteader on the planet I think.

There’s been a lot of noise about food, food stability, supply chains, and access lately. And it’s completely understandable, when our time is now measured ‘pre pandemic’ and ‘post pandemic’ it’s a little…naive to not recognize that we’re in a period of massive upheaval.

I should tell you that I’m a homesteader and prepper by training but I was also raised in a HEAVY hard science family, from rocket science into meteorology…and medicine. I will not tolerate conspiracy theory, how ‘they’re suppressing the facts, man’, bs insults like ‘sheeple’, or how you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who can like totally prove it’s all media noise.

I also live in the second largest city in New York. I am ready for a fight y’all. I get angry under stress and I’m telling you I’m not above fighting in my own comments.

Anyway. Food preservation.

I have some tips for food preservation in a time of upheaval. I have written on this in the past but without some of the fun and interesting complications of a global disruption events. This is written more for the people who are truly just hitting the ground running so this is going to feel very intro level. And this is going to be a longer entry than what I normally write.

Getting into Food Preservation

There are a couple very obvious ‘big name’ preservation types that will probably come to mind even if it’s ‘zombie invasion’ memes or your grandma, frankly. As an aside, I was promised on Facebook that this was going to be ‘fae come back to the mounds and start eating us’ month and you gave me murder hornets. I am unimpressed. I am actually less afraid of the sluagh than I am of stinging insects.

chicken

This is the future the discordian gods want.

 

You may need to think beyond canning. I will get into why in a second. I have been drying basically anything I can get onto my Nesco. I even dried yogurt the other day (that’s still up in the air in terms of repetition, but you can do it). Dehydration, freezing, air drying, fermentation, oven drying, meat preservation like biltong which yes is just a fourth style of drying, tinctures, and yes, canning.

I am telling you that you might want to get beyond canning because the entire world is now telling you to start canning at the time of year when it was already low canning supply stock season on top of manufacturing disruptions. As in…you may literally not be able to find lids here soon if everyone is telling everyone else to ‘just can stuff’. And yes, I love canning and there are things that are better handled by canning than say dehydration. I can’t tell you what next month will bring and maybe we’re going to be able to easily access supplies but we also could be feeding all that excess milk to our Hoard overlords, I rule literally nothing out as a Pagan homesteader in 2020.

*Under normal circumstances I would never say stuff like this and I KNOW it’s controversial so don’t make noise about it. Don’t do anything that you are not fully comfortable with and I can’t make that call for you as a person. You can in theory re run canning lids. The issue is are they going to seal, and if they do, are they going to fail in the long run. That’s why they tell you do not re run lids, the failure rate is much higher and much more chaotic/random than with new lids. But you CAN do it. Supposedly older lids have a better success rate with this. You also have a higher access to food grade plastic than you might be comfortable with and in an era with harder access to glass canning jars with is when I suggest shifting to it and saving as many jars as you can for actual canning. Coffee cans and Gatorade bottles are both good for holding dried items and are already tested for food storage. Several brands of spaghetti sauce and other store sold food items come in Ball produced jars and you can run them in water bath canners. Water bath. I’m stressing that. Water bath.

Also, reminder, you can do high acid foods in a water bath but if you want to do beans, meat, etc you’re going to need a pressure canner. Or freeze it.

Preserving Seasonally

strawberries

This is always important but it may be hella important for at least the next growing season. Watch what’s in season, google it if you have no idea what you’re looking at. Seasonal food, even when purchased from a conventional store, is going to be higher quality and cheaper than trying to work with out of season foods. Sometimes you might have no choice/just want to mix foods that aren’t in season but you can help keep pricing down by using seasonal guides, as in, if you want to work with lemons mix them with strawberries in early summer.

This will also be helpful because as a person who grew up in a farming community with a giant backyard garden, as in I’ve been around plants for decades, please stop telling people a victory garden is a guaranteed path to food stability. I have gotten into a LOT of fights about this over the past few months. I am NOT telling you not to plant if you have the ability, I am telling you that flooding, droughts, pests, mineral depletion, time restraints, health concerns, and old fashion shit luck are all things and crop failure exists. You can find yourself with a thousand tomatoes and literally nothing else. That’s great because you don’t need to buy any tomatoes for the year. You’re probably not going to want to live off of just tomatoes. So find your seasonal charts and preserve off of that once you have your stockpiles to where you want with your basic foods.

*It’s not as pivotal if you’re buying already preserved foods unless you’re going straight to producer for them, in season. Know that when you go to Aldi or similar regardless of time of year that frozen and canned food is probably not in season food. If you buy pickles at a farmer’s market next to a mountain of cucumbers they very well may be in season but they’re already preserved so you have to ask yourself your personal feelings on that one, does it actually matter? I can’t answer that question for you.

I’m not touching on wildcrafting because I really don’t have that much of a knowledge base there. By all means go for it if you do or can access someone with the skills base, and it will DEFINITELY be driven by seasonal shifts.

Know Your Stockpile Limits

dandelionchai

Dandelion Chai

A family of 10 is going to have radically different needs than a couple with no children. I’m guessing you do not have lion’s mane and reishi next to your carrots the way that I do. Part of a successful food stockplile is knowing what you actually need and how much. I am drying increasingly large amounts of apples and bananas every week because I haven’t hit the ceiling yet with what a functional amount of both looks like for me. I dried one eggplant once and haven’t done that since.

There’s a lot of factors that go into this including household size, frequency of use, storage space limitations, and monetary restraints. This will require an investment in overhead at first. There are ways of mitigating that but yes there will be a required amount of money put into it one way or another. The easiest way to start with what you need to put into your stockpile is ‘what do you already eat in the highest quantity’ and go from there. My husband takes dried fruit every day on the truck so we go through a lot. That eggplant is still sitting there. If you never use jelly don’t make it. If you hate pickles don’t get into pickling. It seems obvious but I have had a lot of conversations over the last decade that amounted to ‘I don’t know why I made three gallons of bread and butter pickles, none of us like them’. There will be failures of one form or another as you go (cough: eggplant) but you will definitely cut down on them by thinking about what you already use.

The big thing with this is a rotting stockpile is a waste of space and money, and is arguably immoral. If you have fifteen pounds of carrots to put up at the end of harvest rock out. But don’t buy more carrots in three months unless you actually drained those carrots by that point. When you’re first preserving you might find yourself feeling like crap this is a ton of food, but it’s easily it’s a ton of food -right now-. It’ll get easier a couple of years in when you can watch your stash for things like I still have jam from 2020 I should pull back there.

Weekly Preservation

 

I don’t have yields this week, I wasn’t paying that much attention for the sake of recording it.

Assume dried if not specified like jam

-five pound bag of fuji apples (baked with some), both plain and spiced

-2 1/2 pints strawberry ginger jam

-quarter pint dried ginger and turmeric root

-dried oranges and lemon, plain

-dried citrus, spiced

-white potatoes

-organic bananas

-apple strawberry fruit leather, one tray

-carrots

-mushrooms

-spinach and kale

 

Stocking a Kitchen

garlic-139659_1280

For whatever reason, I can blog without guilt.

I can’t do much else without guilt right now-if I’m at home, I feel like I should be cleaning, packing, or sleeping. You’ll notice eating isn’t on that list. Ha. Ha. [Now is not the time to talk about mental health and homesteading/intensifying homesteading, but I feel an entry coming on at some point.] I can’t even unwind with a movie or a book for a few hours without feeling like I’m wasting valuable time. We went to a free Shawn Lennon concert…do you think I could relax enough to recharge? Of course not.

But blogging seems to be ‘productive’ enough to let me unwind a little and regroup without kicking the guilt into gear.

This may be a 101 entry-but there are several situations that I can think of without really trying as to why you would be looking for information on stocking a basic kitchen. Fires, fast/long moves [quickly or across country, or both], first households, natural disasters are all situations where you might find yourself suddenly having to flip a kitchen with little guidance. If this isn’t the first household you’ve set up, this will be easier, but if you’re finding yourself interested in hearthcraft and have no idea where to begin, this will hopefully be helpful.

-Buy the best you can afford, and upgrade if you can

I feel like all of my lists lately have an entry that I mentally label ‘the cloth toilet paper’ entry. It’s the point where I feel like if I’m going to get any push back, it’s going to be that entry. What I mean here is really literal-whatever your price range is, buy the best you can at that point and then upgrade from there. You can almost always upgrade [or not, if the pieces you have are completely functional and holding out fine for you]. Here’s the thing, though-I am fully aware, having lived that reality, that the dollar store is sometimes your current price point. The dollar store is actually good for starter pieces, as long as your careful with the plastics. They’re flimsy and not going to go for years-but they’re cheap and available.

-Use your thrift stores

This is a great option if you have them available. The same idea applies to garage sales, estate sales, and the like.

I have a thing for measuring spoons with molded/raised size markers. I have destroyed more than one set of measuring spoons by washing off the markers. I can eyeball sizes fairly accurately but with canning, I don’t want to risk throwing off a recipe. I have upgraded several sets of spoons with trips to the thrift stores. I have also found small pieces of cookware, and when I was first starting out after school I bought all my plates and coffee cups at the Salvation Army. You do have to be careful with pricing-thrift stores are notoriously expensive for things like canning jars where they try to charge per piece.

-Give up form for function [or save it for gifts]

I love most of the stuff in gourmet cooking shops. I love the cookware, the amazing ladles, and the coffee makers. The only thing I really have my eyes set on, truly, are good European canning jars and a coffee maker. I spent six years working as a barista, loved it, and learned the value of a truly good brewer. However, about those ladles. I have an Oneida solid metal ladle that after 8 years of my mediocre household skills is still puttering along fine. I can’t justify the price difference to upgrade a solid metal ladle to another solid ladle just because it’s shiny and pretty.

But. There is something to be said for what could be called heirloom quality tools. And knives especially are aided by a little more money being put towards the cause. If you’re the type of person who┬ácelebrates gift giving situations, ask for these tools [or gift cards towards them] as your gift. People might think it a little odd that you want a $20 ladle, but you might get it.

-Shop beyond your normal zones [or your normal stores]

Goya sells a lot of inexpensive staple cooking supplies like spices, sofrito, and beans. In fact, a great many of the food staples in my kitchen are cheaper in ‘specialty’ sections of Wegmans or specialty stores. Target and Tops both want $5 a bottle for sesame oil for drunken noodles, whereas it’s $3 a bottle at T&T Grocers up the street, who specialize in several Southeastern Asian cuisines. In fact, I get my instant coffee strips for baking and camping at T&T-they’re less than half the price for high quality instant coffee compared to mainstream American grocers.

-Buy a cookbook

The Internet is a beautiful thing, but get a solid cookbook. Just one, to start. You can flesh out your collection once you figure out what you want to be cooking [unless you already know]. I actually like the workhorse basic Betty Crocker red and white cookbook, but Cook’s Illustrated have several huge, well tested cookbooks on the market.

-What fits your style?

Do you need a waffle maker?

This has actually been a running battle in my household for years now, and with getting a much larger kitchen in the new apartment, I fear that Mid will ultimately win this war and we’ll get a waffle maker when the Christmas sales start up. So basically tomorrow in American shopping reality.

Do not buy things just because you feel like a well rounded kitchen should have one. If you don’t see yourself using it, then don’t spend the money on it. It causes clutter and eats up money. I do feel like you should have a good quality stand mixer, preferably one you can get attachments for like a Kitchenaide or similar. But I honestly can’t think of anything you need beyond that. You can live without a microwave, you don’t need a toaster oven, and I know that even my beloved coffee makers are optional.

Unless of course you actually do need those things in your household. Then get them, but ignore the waffle makers of your world.

-Multitasking items

I used my graniteware canner so infrequently as a canner and so frequently to corral kitchen cloth that during one of the waves of purges over the past two months getting ready for this move I got rid of it. I use a stockpot for most of my water bath canning. And the beauty of it is that I use the pot for more ‘normal’ pot things. Buy items that you can get more than one use out of.

-Out of the box and into the basket

One of the very, very few things I do enjoy about moving is finding the farmer’s markets and CSAs. I…have never actually subscribed to one but I like to find them and daydream. And then forget about actually signing up because I almost always find them in January when all we’re growing is lake effect snow. I do have friends however that swear by them, and for someone like me who now works Saturdays during most farmer’s markets, it might be on my to do list for next summer so I can still get my local produce without scheduling conflicts.

-Give up on matching

Pick a color. Or a color family. Or a generic print family like ‘flowers’ or ‘fruit’ or ‘flamingos’. Great. You now have your kitchen theme. My theme for the new kitchen is fall colors and harvest themes-fruit, pumpkins, golds, dusty jewel tones to pull in the colors from the living room. So now that I have a rough idea in my head I can mix and match items that I find on sale or are gifted without trying to fit things I find on sale into my kitchen without throwing off the visual of the place. You don’t need to give up personal style or your budget, you just have to be flexible with what you’re willing to work with [this is also why my Kitchenaide is egg shell white. It was less than half price because the color was discontinued.]

-Shop online

I buy my loose leaf tea in bulk via Adaigo. I know people who swear by Mountain Rose Herbs. I actually ordered both my bed and my mattress online (which I understand is not a kitchen item but you get the point). Don’t be afraid to shop online for good sales on items that you don’t need in the immediate short term. You can often get good sales on bulk items like spices, and you will most likely be able to get access to supplies you can’t get locally-I can get a lot of herbs at Penzey’s down the road, but I can’t get dried scorpion peppers or Carolina Reapers, like I can online.

Candied Nuts

squirrel-241521_1920

This has been one of the hardest, most mentally challenging periods of my adult life.

I am fighting one of those battles where you finally face a choice-stop, recharge, and figure out how to be more productive or continue throwing energy at the situation until either it or you breaks. I will be moving in the near future, though it remains to be seen if it will be my choice or my landlord’s. I spend so much time cleaning and organizing and purging personal items that I have literally gotten to a point where I can’t tell if the place is actually dirty or if it’s all in my head.

Like I said. It has not been a good month.

I have finally made a decision, however. If constantly running on so few resources that I have allowed my own body to trigger my anxiety disorder is not winning the war, then I might as well pull back and start giving myself the grace that I would be giving other people in this case-that advice that if 10 is good, 100 is probably not going to fix anything either, if 10 is ten times more than what most people would be putting in anyway. I’ve been already grieving the loss of my fall since my future seems to be nothing but scrubbing floors and looking for new housing [or worse].

I found a bag of raw nuts at Target, and today is my normal day off anyway. I miss the feeling of sliding into autumn and I miss my normal excitement leading up to the season. So I made candied nuts and called it an act of self love and self care.

Candied Nuts

Note: I bought the ‘normal’ sized bag of raw Planter’s mixed nuts. This made enough sugar mixture that I probably could have used double the nuts and still have been fine. You can coat a lot of nuts with the sugar mixture as written.

At least 1 pound raw nuts

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

 

Preheat oven to 250

Mix dry ingredients-the sugar, spices, salt

Add nuts, egg, and water

Toss until well coated

Line a tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

Let cool, and place in a jar.

 

 

In Season Produce-June

berries-1326973_1920

What is in season for your particular region will vary. Check with local growth charts (or watch what is going on sale at your farmer’s markets and grocers) for particular harvest patterns.

Apricots

Beets

Blueberries

Canteloupe

Carrots (some, regional)

Cherries

Early corn (regional)

Early peas

Early stone fruits like peaches

Green beans

Hot peppers

Kiwi

Radishes

Strawberries (regional)

Yellow Squash

Lettuces-Boston, green leaf, red leaf

Green onions

Watermelon

In Western New York, produce this end of the month is still sort of slim pickings. It’ll pick up as we get closer to July. However, I did get a head of local Boston lettuce for under a dollar tonight. This is a good time of year for WNY to start centering on local and seasonal-local and seasonal is always a good idea, but unless you’re in a growing zone with a long time range, it can be difficult at best to do. This is the time to start freezing, canning, and drying for those of us with a three month growing span.

Jalapeno Mash

It actually is that shade of green

It actually is that shade of green

It’s not exactly any sort of secret that I love hot food, and I am the type of person that thinks that if 10 bottles of hot sauce are good, 25 will certainly ensure that I will never have to be without both variety and heat.

I’ve been slowly getting back into fermentation again. This is a simple enough project, that can be scaled to fit the amount of peppers you have-which means it’s a good project to have in your box for summer harvests.

This can be done with any peppers, but I used jalape├▒os because I found organic at a decent price.

Notes:

Doing a fermentation in this style requires the produce to stay under the water level at all times. The easiest way I’ve found to do this, for the amount of peppers I ferment at any given time, is to weigh the peppers under with a small (quarter or half pint) canning jar. Clean a wide mouth jar, at least pint size, place the peppers into the jar, cover with brine. I like to skim off as many seeds as I can but I’m not actually sure that it’s necessary. I then place the [cleaned] smaller jar, which will fit into the mouth of the larger, into the larger jar. It will push the peppers to the bottom of the jar and brine will displace around the jar and make sure they stay submerged. Do this in a sink in case it floods. If you pack loosely enough you can cover it with a lid.

jalepenos

Fermentation:

Make a brine-I used warm water and salt, at a ratio of 4 cups water to 3 tablespoons salt. Sea salt is best.

Cut the tops off the peppers and if fermenting whole cut a slit in each pepper. You can also chop or slice.

Cover with brine, and cover with a lid. See the notes regarding weights [you can see the smaller jar in the above photo]

Ferment for at least a week, or to your normal time frame for peppers

Mash:

Drain the peppers but don’t rinse

In a blender add 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, dried turmeric (about a tablespoon), 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, and the peppers. Blend until pureed. Place in the refrigerator.

 

Medieval Chickens

pixabay

pixabay

I have a weird relationship with both time and thyme. Both disappear on me, and show up in my life in odd patterns, and as much as I love both I end up with a stockpile lost into nothingness. I own something like four packages of thyme in my kitchen somewhere.

How many did I find when I went to make this?

One. I found one. Stuck in some mail.

Don’t ask me to explain this, because I don’t have an answer.

I bake a chicken every Monday night now, at least until it gets too hot to want to run the oven that long. I throw the carcass in the freezer and make bone broth, and we eat off of the bird for a couple of days. I normally cook it plain but I found this on an ahem secret Facebook group. And I love thyme.

…So, if you posted this recipe, credit to you, you know who you are.

[Actually] Medieval Chicken

**I have been told that it actually is a medieval era recipe. The original was written for leg quarters but I roasted a whole chicken. I also didn’t measure since I sort of changed this to a rub

1 roasting chicken

Black Pepper

Paprika

Dried Garlic

Thyme

Olive oil

*Follow your favored roasting instructions, I normally go for about an hour and a half at 350 in a bag

Rub chicken with herbs and oil, and bake. It might bake up dark, and that’s fine [accurate to time period, apparently]

Bone Broth, or, Whole Use Cooking

chicken bone broth

I need seven thousand dollars worth of dental work.

That’s not exaggeration, nor is it a push for pity. I’ve known since I was a teenager that I was most likely going to lose my teeth early.

What is, though, it a very large, very expensive monkey wrench into 2016. You know, of the type where you have to tell people you owe money to that it’s going to have to be a payment plan situation as I basically have my jaw rebuilt. It has also lit a fire under me, and gotten me back into heavy homesteading (I seriously planted a sprouting onion today just to avoid having to throw it out). I was into the idea of whole use/tail to snout cooking this year anyway, but I’m really into that path now.

There’s a lot of old wives tales floating around the Internet about bone broth that actually makes it sound applicable for weak teeth as well. I can’t vouch, and if you read some sites it’s sort of the meaty equivalent of coconut oil-if it doesn’t cure you, you weren’t sick in the first place. It is however heavy on minerals and gelatin and other nice things leeched from the bones-and these are things I often find myself low on.

Long, rambling story to get to the point that I’ve been making quarts of the stuff and using it in everything from rice to soup and spiking it with hot peppers and just drinking it plain.

**You can do this with a crock pot, and a lot of people prefer it that way. My crock pot had a run in with a cast iron pan and is now a tomato planter. I have done two separate things to good results-one is to pull it off the heat, fridge it over night, and start the simmer process again in the morning. The second is just to set it on low, and let it go all night that way.

Bone Broth [Either beef or chicken]

A. If you are using beef bones, or frozen poultry carcasses, roast first at roughly 400-450 for about half an hour. You can rub with tomato paste for flavor

B. You’ll know when it’s about ‘done’ when the bones start to crumble-and they will crumble. For chicken it hits about the 20-24 hour mark

C. I roast a chicken every Monday night and throw the stripped carcass into the freezer until I run out of room. I also have bags in the freezer where I throw vegetable scraps until I make another batch

Bones, assorted sizes, some with meat still on (or not, but the meat adds flavor)

Water

Apple cider vinegar

Assorted vegetables/scraps-normally onion, celery, carrots, maybe some potato peelings

Spices-normally peppercorns, a bay leaf, thyme, parsley, whole garlic cloves, salt

 

Add the bones to a large stock pot, cover with water and a couple good glugs of apple cider vinegar [home brew is fine here, since the acidity level isn’t necessary for preservation]. Let sit about an hour to start pulling minerals from the bones

Add vegetables and seasonings

Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes, then lower and simmer about 24 hours, up to as long as 36 hours. Add water as necessary.

Strain.