Broth Diary 2015

Well, I’ve put up some posts about Broth in the past, and after several years now of doing this regularly, I have come to some conclusions:
1.   Start with cold water.  Add a tablespoon of vinegar to help extract all the minerals.
2.   A pressure cooker (Instant Pot) works the best for carefree, quick and tasty broth. How long to cook?  Instant Pot pressure cooker:  90-95 minutes set manually. Crock pot:  high for 8 hours/med 12 hours or overnight.  Stove:  9 hours (or more) on a simmer (don’t boil, see   Broth Importantly).
3.   Raise chickens, or if not, buy whole organic chickens. The carcasses are what you will use.  In a pinch and don’t want/need a whole chicken?  Try a couple pounds of wings.  Chicken feet and necks make amazing additions to broth.  Keep them if you are butchering or find them in your organic co-op.
4.   Add spices and herbs to finish, not during your long cooking.  Best to include at the end for no more than 1-2 hours to avoid bitterness.  My favorite additions for poultry broth are star anise, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, allspice berries, cloves, thyme stems, red pepper flakes, and if needed some 5 spice powder.  If I’m feeling saucy, I might add a half lemon and a knob of ginger.  Favorite additions for lamb broth are bay leaves, cardamom, rosemary, lemon, cloves, cinnamon, more garlic, and cumin seeds.  Favorite additions for beef broth are bay leaves, garlic, red pepper flakes, cloves, oregano, thyme, coriander berries, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, and dried tomato skins or powder. (Leave out tomato skins and red pepper flakes for PP Friendly version.)
5.   Onion skins (red and yellow) make the broth deeper colored and flavored.  For really deep color, add mushrooms.  Don’t  use potatoes to make broth. 
 6.   It’s OK to add a tablespoon or two of fish sauce to your broth to bring up the umami.  No one will know.
7.   Before simmering, beef and lamb bones benefit from a hot trip in the oven on a tray. . .about an hour at 350.  Schmear with tomato paste if you are into super rich dark meat broth.
8.   Using bones your family already gnawed on is perfectly OK.  I know, I know. . . but there is no way any bacteria could survive a pressure cooker.
9.   Salt after reducing.
10. You do not need to buy expensive cheesecloth.  Get a loose weave kitchen towel and use that.  Just rinse it in the sink, ring it out and toss it in the washer when done.
11. Storing:  freezing in straight sided jars is best.  Use pint, half pint, or 3/4 quart jars or other straight sided jars.  Regular quart jars have a shoulder/neck that is smaller.  When you want to thaw the broth, that neck will be a problem . . . a bottleneck to your scrumptious broth going into your recipe.  You can also pressure can this.  Follow directions, but keep in mind some folks think pressure canned broth is less nutritious.  I think it’s pretty tasty anyway, and I do some of mine this way. The point is that you CANNOT water bath broth.  That could lead to tragedy.  Don’t do it. DON’T DO IT.   If you don’t yet know the difference between pressure and water bath canning, then please just FREEZE it.   (Ok well, now that we finished that liability section, we can move on.)
12. Taste it!  It had better taste good before you store it.   If it is bad tasting—and this happens occasionally if you are experimenting—simply give it to your dogs.  They’ll love it.
13.  LABEL the jars with something descriptive:  Super Chicken and Turkey Broth, Asian Chicken Broth, Goose and Stupid Guinea Hen Broth, Sort of OK Basic Chicken Stock, or Mild Beef and Onion Broth.  Date it by month and year (if you remember).
14.   Good luck and may the broth be with you.

jars ready.broth
Jars ready for freezing.

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