Waste not, want not

One of the things that I talk to people about a lot is their diet and what nutrients they are getting through their food.  The easiest way to make a significant change in your diet (for the better) is to make your own food.  I know that can be a challenge - especially with busy schedules and eating on the run.  That's why I love making broth.  It's especially nice in the winter when its cold outside and you want a little soup to warm you up.  It is also nourishing when you're feeling under the weather.  Maybe this year, you can make a little broth and start a new tradition - one of eating more whole foods. Thanksgiving turkeys offer an abundance in so many ways.  Beyond the traditional Thanksgiving meal, there’s leftovers, turkey sandwiches, lunches, and so many more recipes.  And after you’ve plucked all that delicious meat from the bones, you have the perfect makings for a delicious bone broth!

Bone broth is a delicious, nutritious stock that cooks long enough to extract some minerals from the bones, as well as the beneficial collagen.  Collagen is a protein that supports building tissues, muscles, bones, teeth, and connective tissue.   Plus, it’s basically free and totally delicious.

It’s also really easy to make, use, and store.  Once you’ve cleaned the meat and skin off the bones (you can leave a little on for flavor if you like – I love leaving some of the skin with the tasty seasonings), place the turkey bones in a large pot (NOT aluminum) or crock pot.  If you like, you can add some vegetables.  Carrots, celery, garlic, and shallots or onions are tasty and nutritious additions.  Add enough water to completely cover the bones – too much water will keep your broth from gelling.  Splash in a bit of apple cider vinegar to help extract the minerals from the bones.  Then cover the pot, bring to a simmer.  Skim any scum that comes to the top.  Reduce heat and simmer on LOW heat for a minimum of 8 hours and up to 24 hours.  This broth works best if you just leave it alone.  No stirring, no fussing.  It’s important that you use low heat for this.  You don’t want to destroy the collagen that you’re trying to extract.  When you’re all done, strain the broth and discard the solids.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to a year.  I like to freeze mine in 8 oz portions in glass bowls or even ice cube trays, then pop out of the bowl and keep in freezer bags in my deep freeze.  That way, I have a collection of nice-sized portions to drink, to use in soups, or to share with my neighbors.

A good bone broth will be gelled when cool.  When you reheat it, it will liquefy again.  If it doesn’t gel, don’t worry.  It will still be good.  Chances are, a non-gelled broth had too much water, or was cooked too hot, or not cooked long enough. Make note of what happened and do better next time.  No matter what, it's still good broth!

I hope you decide to make some bone broth from your Thanksgiving turkey this year.  It will reward you all winter long!  Remember to also make bone broth any time you have meat bones.  You can keep bones in the freezer until you’ve got enough to cook.  That way, you always have some great broth ready for that unexpected cold or flu – or for a quick, home cooked meal when life gets busy.  Throw in some rice or noodles, a few vegetables, and cut up meat for a tasty soup.