With people turning up sick this week I realized that I am running short on broth in the freezer. I save lots of money by making this item from scratch. One specialty item that many people are not aware of is broth. Shouldn’t broth be full of simple ingredients? This is not always so. Next time you are at the store grab a can or box and read the ingredients. “Modified food starch” can be full of gluten or corn. “Soy protein isolates” and “spices” are also deal breakers for me. Even the organic, certified gluten free broth still contains “spices.”
Besides, have you priced organic broth lately? I almost caved and bought some last month for simplicity’s sake when family was coming over for a big dinner. Then I looked at the price. It was almost five dollars a quart! I couldn’t do it. I went home set my alarm for early the next morning, then threw a chicken skeleton from my freezer in a pot to simmer most of the day and went back to bed until the kids got up. It wasn’t until this week, that I thought about using the slow cooker all day instead. It worked perfectly. By evening, I had a pot full of nicely simmered broth and the house. Next time, I may even try to simmer it all night long.
You can make broth from any kind of bones. Chicken, turkey, duck, beef, lamb, pork, deer, and more. If you can eat it, you can make broth from it’s bones. Save bones in your freezer until you are ready to make broth. Save them from your pork chops, steaks, ribs, roasted chickens, and even from that leg of lamb from Pascha. Now, I don’t mix varieties, but I imagine you could if you wanted. There are millions of recipes for broth on the Internet, but I like to keep it simple with just two ingredients. You can add salt and spices later based on the meal at hand.
I like to package my broth in old yogurt containers. I beg these off of family and neighbors because John doesn’t eat enough yogurt to keep me supplied. I fill these with about three cups of broth, label with scotch tape tags, and chill them in the refrigerator before moving them to the deep freezer.
Put the bones in your pot or slow cooker and fill the pot with water as full as you are comfortable. Cover with a lid. Turn it on to low and simmer for 6-12 hours depending on your day. Once it has simmered for a while skim the foam and gunk off the surface with a slotted spoon. Add water to keep the bones covered as needed. When you declare the broth done, strain out the bones and discard. Allow the broth to cool 20 minutes or so before packaging for storage.
I don’t just make bone broth, I also make vegetable broth. I never was comfortable with recipes that told you to boil your veggies into oblivion, then discard them like you do the bones. That just seems wasteful to me. I take a different approach. I make a veggie puree and use it as concentrated vegetable broth. For this you need a good blender. I have a Vitamix, but I bet this will work just fine in any blender. Just be sure not to overload your model. If you do not have a heavy duty blender, you might chop your vegetables a bit smaller to reduce strain on your motor.
Any vegetables work. Onions, carrots, celery, leeks, fennel, squash, spinach; the possibilities are endless. Though, most of the time I keep it simple. This week I had lots of celery and carrots that needed to be used, so I started with that base. This is just the combination I used this time. I don’t think I’ve ever made it exactly the same way twice. Think about trying this the next time you have vegetables that might go bad otherwise.
1 onion, quartered
5 Carrots, chopped in 2-3 inch sections
5 stalks of celery, chopped in 2-3 inch sections
2 zucchini, cut in chunks
2 yellow squash, cut in chunks
4 cloves garlic
Fill you container comfortably with chopped vegetables, then fill about halfway up the vegetables with water. Blend until smooth. Pour into your soup pot. Repeat until you are out of extra vegetables or your pot is full. Heat over medium until gently boiling. Reduce and simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Cool and package for storage.
Remember I consider this concentrated broth. It is supposed to be thick. You will notice that I use equal parts vegetable broth and water whenever I use it in a recipe. Keep a lookout for it in tomorrow’s recipe.
Now I have quarts and quarts of valuable gluten free broth that I made with minimal effort for pennies on the dollar.