Saturday, July 28, 2012

Making Beef Broth

We've been gifted with beef soup bones twice with our meat orders, but I had never gotten around to doing anything with them beyond tossing them in the freezer for "someday".   Well, someday came around yesterday when I realized that my freezer wasn't closing tightly due to ice build-up around the edge.  Thankfully that is the freezer that holds my flour and frozen fruit, so even if it had failed completely, it wouldn't have been very costly.  But it still needed to be fixed.  So I moved the fruit to the meat freezer.. but then the meat freezer was too full.  Out came the soup bones, and I went to Google.

From this... (I didn't take a picture of the oven step)

 to this...

...took about 17 hours.   About an hour in the oven yesterday afternoon, then 14 hours simmering on the stovetop (12 for the slowcooker as that one started later).  Skimming off the fat is a little tedious but not hard, I did that twice before I went to bed and once around 2 am when I was up anyway.  Strained through cheesecloth this morning, ladled into jars, and cooled in the fridge while we went to town.  Not labor-intensive at all, really, just a lot of little steps.

The jars are in the freezer now - I don't have a pressure canner, otherwise it would have been cool to process them for the pantry.  The trick to freezing jars is apparently just remembering to leave an inch of headspace, to allow for expansion while freezing.

The recipe I followed is here:

I didn't have any garlic or celery, but since this is a basic stock to use as a starter, vs a broth that would already be seasoned, I think it will be okay.

And I love that it really didn't cost me anything, aside from electricity of course.  The bones were freebies, and I already had all the other ingredients on hand.  :o)