Sunday, June 16, 2013

Turkey squeezings!

Well., not really Turkey squeezings, but definitely squeezing that last little penny out of that Turkey; and on that note: thank you, wonderful neighbours who let me have their turkey carcass after feeding us dinner. Turns out I have no shame and will ask for other peoples proto-refuse (This bird was cooked in a green egg and I am green with envy and BBQ lust, it was YUM-MY)
Turkey carcass with ginger bug in upper left corner and steam juicer inset on the right, I are multitasker
Doesn't that just look delicious? And there was sooooo much meat left on that bird I almost made enchiladas. If you haven't figured it out, I'm doing a step by step on how to make turkey broth powder :)

Step one: Obtain Turkey carcass. Skin, bones, meat scrapings, basically what is left after the meal. This is the same process as one would use to make any other poultry broth, btw, so don't think you need to limit yourself to turkeys. Beef is a bit different, next time I do beef I'll do a post about it :D

 Step two: Put the carcass into a large enough slow cooker to cover it all with water. If there is grain based stuffing, you want to remove that, but veggies, fruit and herbs are perfectly fine to leave in there. This is when you add any seasonings you want in there. I used garlic powder, mixed herbs and salt and pepper.

Step three: Add any vegetable left overs you have laying around/ in the freezer (you DO keep your vegetable leavings in a bag in the freezer, right? Everyone has that bag, right? I'm NOT weird, stop saying that).

Step 4: Add enough water to cover the whole shebang and set that baby on high, go off to do other things for about 16 hours, just stir every now and then and at some point taste it. The bird was cooked before taking this bath, so you are safe, but I do like to let it go for a bit so the flavours can mingle and get to know each other. This is what your re-constituted broth will taste like, so make it work for you. Here's what you are looking to get:

I wish I could take a picture of the smell, it's simply divine.

Step 5: Using a pot large enough to accommodate all of this, or several pots until you have reduced the volume enough, strain the bones and vegetable matter out. If you are canning this you will want to strain it much, much better than what I am doing here, which leaves some bits in, just get the majority out.

Step 6: Boil it all. Then boil it some more. If you cannot do this outside, your kitchen will become a steam room/sauna, so make sure to wrap yourself in a towel and enjoy the experience. Here's what you are looking to achieve:

Notice the lack of about 8 and a half quarts of liquid? Yes, my skin is baby soft and my entire house smells like Turkey, thanks for asking :D That's about a cup of liquid, it's noticeably thicker than water.

Step 7: After that has cooled a bit, load the liquid on fruit roll up trays for your dehydrator

Set to 160 degrees F and let her go

until you have this:

Takes about a day and a half.

Step 8: you know your broth is completely dehydrated when you can do this:

What I'm doing here is simply pressing on the back of the roll up sheet and the dehydrated broth comes right off. If it sticks it's not done. Unload all of your trays (the thinner the layer, the quicker it dries) and crunch them up

Then crunch them some more and if you feel so inclined, run them through a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to create powder, just be quick about it, this stuff WANTS water. As in, if you just LOOKED at the faucet it will stick to your fingers. You can just break it up small enough to fit your jar, consistency does not affect the taste, it does however re-constitute faster if powdered. And it's easier to measure.


Homemade, dried and powdered turkey stock. All ingredients that I know and can pronounce (but then, I speak German, so that's probably a weird litmus) and lovely stuff I can use in my dried soup pre-mixes without worrying about what might be in it.

I keep it in the fridge or freezer, but it's perfectly fine in the pantry for at least three months. It does have trace fat in it and it's a meat product, so some caution is advised, but it's also pretty salty in this state, so if it smells good (and boy howdy, does it ever), it's fine.

I also make a second brewing of the turkey carcass, with more vegetables and seasonings added, that's the broth I freeze or can.

Aside from taking about 3 days to make, this broth is easy to make, actually pretty low effort and cost me next to nothing. The carcass was free, and even if not, it's using something that is a by-product of eating poultry, the vegetables are also by-products of something we already ate, the seasonings are pennies at best and the fuel is probably around $1. So for a very generous estimate of $2 (no, I'm not going to figure out what the cost of the bones was by weight, because 1. I don't know what the turkey cost, 2. I didn't weigh the carcass and 3. Even if I had bought the bird, I would have considered the entire weight as part of the meat and accounted for it that way, so in MY house bones are free, YMMV) I have the equivalent of 2 jars of organic/preservative free (OK, salt, stickler, you) broth base. I'll take it.

That's all I got for now,
Happy Pinching :D

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