I wanted to make Beef Stock following the recipe in Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. I've never made stock before, but it seemed easy and very nutritious. According to Sally Fallon, if stock is properly prepared, "meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate."
I have a huge stainless-steel 21 quart waterbath canner that I used to make my stock. No need for me to run out and buy another pot! You could also use a crockpot (this is a good choice if you are uncomfortable leaving your stock on the stove overnight or have to leave the house). The drawback of the crockpot is that you get less stock.
My first task was to track down some beef bones. I wanted some bones from pastured cows, so I called Whole Foods. They set some aside for me...at the hefty price of $3.99 per pound (I got $20 worth). In the future, I don't think I'll be so picky. We recently went out to dinner and 3 of us had prime rib. I could have saved those 3 bones in the freezer, but at the time, I didn't know I was going to be making beef stock. I put out the word to my family and coworkers to save any beef (and chicken...for chicken stock) bones they may get for me.
While I was at Whole Foods, I also picked up 3 yellow onions, 3 carrots, celery, fresh thyme and parsley (which, I forgot to use). I wanted to use organic produce because I was trying to make a healthy stock, and pesticides aren't my idea of healthy. If it were the summer, I would have picked up the produce at the farmers market.
One thing I might change next time is to attempt to track down a calves foot (which was an optional ingredient in the recipe). I really don't know where to begin to look for one. My stock turned out great, but it could have been thicker...meaning it could have contained more gelatin. According to Fallon, "proteinaceous gelatin in meat broths has the unusual property of attracting liquids-it is hydrophilic-even after it has been heated. The same property by which gelatin attracts water to form desserts, like Jello, allows it to attract digestive juices to the surface of cooked food particles." She also says that gelatin is a digestive aid...great for people with intestinal disorders, as well as a protein sparer, meaning it helps the body use the proteins that it takes in. So, it's great for people with anemia, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and cancer.
Ok, now on to the cookin'. First I roasted the bones in the oven at 400 degrees until they were browned.
I put the roasted bones, vegetables, and a 1/2 cup of vinegar into the giant pot. Then I covered them all up with filtered water and let them sit for an hour.
|This is what it looked like when it was done.|
Then, they were refrigerated overnight. As it cools in the refrigerator, the fat rises to the top and gets hard. It makes it easy for you to take it off (I just used a spoon). I just threw it in the garbage, but you could always render it if you want.
|See the fat at the top?|
|All of my stock with the fat removed.|
I also froze some in ice cube trays. They'll be good for stir frys.
I laid the bags flat in a pan so that when they are frozen, they won't take up much space. I have 14 bags, so I had to make sure to take up as little space as possible. I'm glad I had them in the pan, too. One of the bags leaked, and that would not have been fun to clean up if it was all over the freezer.
I thought I'd post my costs. If I had some FREE bones, this broth would be much more economical. Even still, I got 14- 15 oz. bags, plus 6 ice cube trays (which each have 14 ounces). That is roughly 20 cans of beef stock. I'm not sure the cost in the store, but the organic broth is probably at least $2 per can.