SFN – Part 3: Dem Bones

I messed up, this blog was supposed to be Part 2 of my on-going Something From Nothing Series but then well, I forgot. It sat in my draft file until I found it this morning. Like a jewel sitting there waiting to be discovered.

Bones are normally what we all throw away. The leftovers from meals of chicken, beef, ribs and more.

Bones are great though and should never be thrown away. Bones are full of marrow and goodness just waiting to be repurposed.

Method for beef or chicken stock: Collect old bones. Poultry in one container, beef bones in another, pork in a third and so on. When you have at least three to five pounds of bones, place them in a large pot with water, herbs of your choice and simmer for hours and hours. You can make quick work of this if you use a pressure cooker or Instapot, just follow directions carefully as the bones will be under pressure. When you are done, you have delicious bone broth. For extra flavor, roast the bones first for about 45 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 350-F deg. Strain, cool and label so you can freeze until needed. I like to take a large ice cube tray and put broth in to freeze because each cube is a 1/3 cup measure. I then put the frozen cubes in a freezer zip lock container and use the cubes when I need a boost of broth flavor. Very convenient.

Bone broth, a derivative of beef stock in my mind, has become uber trendy as of late. Making it essentially involves the same method as making beef stock but be sure and add in an onion and a couple of carrot and celery stalks along with a few bay leaves to amp up the flavor profile. You can simmer this stuff for up to three days to extract as much bone goodness but be sure and use as many bones with marrow as you can find. Strain well.  There are many purported health benefits to bone broth. My Instapot claims you can make it using the pressure cooker option in just 50 minutes which I will definitely try at some point although the smell of simmering bones is not to be missed. There is something homey and almost primal about the scent of roasted and simmering bones in the house.

Next step: Do not, repeat, do not discard the used bones. Instead, dry them out and bake them in the oven when you happen to be using the oven for something else. They will become dry and brittle, very fragile which is a good thing. This is when you can either pound them up finely or boil them in water until they literally fall apart and you can then whirl them in the blender with the water you used to boil them to make a bone rich liquid.

What you have now is free bone meal. Yes, you heard it here first, you just made your own bone meal. I usually just pour the liquid directly onto my garden soil and rake in lightly. I just fertilized my garden for free and did not use any chemicals to do so.

Now, just to be clear, I do not live a lifestyle of townhouse on the urban prairie so I don’t do this all this time or even on a regular basis. I simply collect bones and make a little weekend project out of it when I know I am going to be puttering around the kitchen. The point is, I use the bones up, literally, until I send them back to the earth from presumably whence they came.

And that, my frugal friends, is the ultimate something from nothing.

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