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Adding vegetable stock making in my pressure cooker (yummy!) to my existing garden/food workflow

 
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I am currently eating a plant-based diet for health reasons.  For me, that means cooking with a lot of legumes, and I make a lot of soups.  When I'm in a hurry, I'll throw some canned cooked beans in a bowl with some spices and flavorings (dash of this, splash of that, diced onions and garlic or heavy pinch of powdered ones) and some frozen corn and peas and microwave it.  Viola, vegetable bean soup!  It's not really cooking but it's healthy and satisfying.  But: that fast soup or just about anything else I cook works a lot better when I have a good strong flavorful vegetable stock handy.  The commercial ones are too expensive or too insipid or have too much added vegetable oil (which I avoid) -- but mostly they offend my sense of frugality whether or not they are fine from a culinary and diet perspective.  Especially when:

My morning workflow during gardening months involves getting out in the garden first thing when it's (relatively) cool.  I do my watering, I do my weeding while the hose is deep-watering stuff, I do the basic garden putter of picking off dead leaves and offensive critters, and I usually do a fast harvest of things that need to be picked, which for me, this morning, was tomatoes, cukes, a few kale leaves, a few fat onion greens, some okra, a few small green peppers, a few asparagus beans, and some volunteer purslane.  

My garden is small and my ability to make it produce strongly during the summer dormancy of scorching July/August temps here is weak.  So often when I come in, of a morning, I literally have like two beans and four okra pods and a green pepper and my little bowl of tomatoes and cukes.  But at least a couple of times a week, I know I've got enough stuff getting old in my fridge that I need to have steamed veggies for lunch.  So on that day, I'll also pick a handful of kale and a handful of onion greens and a handful of whatever herbs I got and whatever volunteer "weed" greens are out there (right now that's purslane and going-to-seed sorrel and lambsquarter).  The thing about this is that I don't really *like* some of these vegetables, especially the okra and the kale.  I am still teaching myself to like them, and my current strategy is to steam them up in a wild melange, so that there's not too much of anything I don't like and it's mixed with lots of other stuff I do like.

So I get out my countertop electric steamer (I prefer electric appliances over stove top cooking in the summer when my AC units are struggling) and I chop up whatever I got from my garden.  Today it was kale and the pole beans and okra and an old zucchini and thin-fleshed little heat-stressed green bell peppers and purslane and sorrel and lambsquarters and onion greens.  I also throw in a few store veggies, often including potatoes, white or sweet.  Today it was a big white onion and some carrots and the last of a trio of fat juicy red sweet peppers that were 3 for a buck at Sprouts.  I jam that electric steamer basket full, to be served later with Asian condiments like hot sweet chili sauce and soy sauce.  And then it had been my practice to compost or bin all the ends, cut-offs, and unappealing bits left over from prepping.

But, remember this is a post about making vegetable stock!  And I had done it a few times, the old-fashioned way, with a long simmer of relatively few vegetables in a big kettle on the stovetop.  The results weren't very interesting and did not (IMO) justify the expense in propane, because the stock didn't really brighten up my life.

But recently I had an epiphany that my beloved electric pressure cooker could be used to make stock.  It is essentially pressure-cooking inside a big thermos bottle, so it doesn't ad much heat or steam to my kitchen.  So here's what I've started doing.  

On a day when I know it's steamed vegetables for lunch, I pick a few extra greens and more of the weedy green stuff and especially the herbs that don't go nicely into the steamer basket.  So I have a bit more stuff in the bowl I use to collect my daily harvest.  Then I set the electric pressure cooker vessel right next to the steamer basket on the counter by my cutting board where I do all my vegetable prep.  Now I have three different places for the stuff that comes off my knife to go: stockpot, steamer basket, or bin.  But a ton less gets binned!  As I prep onions, carrots, peppers, zucchini, okra, beans, and kale, all the ends and sides and parings and edible-but-tough stems, sun-scorched or discolored bits, and miscellaneous refuse that's perfectly food-flavored but unattractive or unappealing because of texture?  That all goes in the stock pot while the best bits go into the steamer basket.  Only the truly woody stems, undesirable-flavored seeds, or actual rotten/moldy bits go into the bin.

Then when my steamer basket is steaming, I add a few things to the stock pot.  This includes the herbs from my garden that I don't use with the steamer (today that was a bit of sage, thyme, a little sprig of lemongrass, and some pinched-off basil flowers, and dried-out greyish bits of the sorrel), a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning, a few fennel seeds, a bit of garlic powder, a pinch of smoked paprika, and a cheating little bit of turmeric powder so the resulting stock is less gray/brown and more golden.  I also check the fridge for other neglected store veggies, which today yielded me some celery tops for the stock.  I top up the pressure vessel to its max fill line with water and set the cooker to max pressure/max time (which on mine is 99 minutes).  Set it and forget it.  

I let the pressure cooker cook and return to near room temperature (which takes some hours given how well it's insulated).  Then I just run the stock through a wire strainer (a colander would work) and return all the fleshy bits filtered out to the compost or trash depending on how lazy I am feeling.  (I have...complexities...about composting kitchen waste, and it doesn't always happen.)  Anyway, the stock goes in wine bottles in my fridge, and (as I can remember) I also freeze some in ice cube trays to store in the freezer.  I don't trust the fresh/bottled for more than a week or two, but now I can splash it liberally into everything I cook instead of the cooking water I was too-frequently using before.  The stock ice cubes will keep effectively forever I imagine, but I haven't been doing this long enough to test that and in any case I don't expect my supply to last more than a month or two past the time when my garden is frozen down to near-nothing.    

Net result is that by combining it with an existing kitchen workflow I get really tasty vegetable stock in unlimited quantities (well, compared to my limited needs when cooking vegetable foods for one person) at close to zero cost in money and with less than ten minutes of additional kitchen time.  I suppose this is old hat to experienced kitchen people, but I've had to learn 80% of my cooking "skills" (primitive as they are) since I started trying to make whole vegetable foods interesting enough to eat three squares a day of.  And for me, the keys to cracking a good vegetable stock turned out to be:

1) incorporating it in my existing garden/kitchen/eating workflow;
2) using the "set it and forget it" electric pressure cooker
3) freezing the stock into cubes before it sours in the fridge
4) using a much larger diversity of vegetables and flavorful herbs than most stock "recipes" suggest

It wasn't until all of these came together for me that it all began to seem worth the bother.

Hope that some part of this will prove helpful to somebody!


 
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Super!  I don't have a pressure cooker but I wonder if a slow cooker would work?
 
Dan Boone
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I don't have a pressure cooker but I wonder if a slow cooker would work?



I believe it would!  I didn't think of that before I got the electric pressure cooker or I would have tried it.  Downsides might be (a) not as energy efficient and (b) puts a bit more heat into your kitchen for longer and (c) takes a lot longer overall, albeit there's no watching required. But still, I think it would work just fine.  I'm not sure how it would work out on flavor.  Traditional stovetop simmered stock (probably I was making it wrong) always came out muddy and dull-flavored for me, while the pressure cooker seems to retain more flavors.  I would expect the slow cooker to be somewhat intermediate?  Just guessing here.
 
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I just let my peelings, cuttings, etc build up in plastic bags in the freezer until I have enough to do a stock pot full.  (If I have left-overs, they go into the bags also.)  Free nutrition, and flavor from what most people just send to the landfill (after it has stunk up their trash bin since last week's pick up).

I'll have to look into those stand-alone pressure cookers.  I can just set one up on my back porch, and keep all of those BTUs out of the house during warm weather.
 
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Pressure cookers are the best for broth!  Also pretty awesome for cooking beans, rice and potatoes.  My pressure cooker makes brown rice in the time it takes to cook white rice in a regular pot.

If you have a modern pressure cooker (not with the jiggly weight thing, that leaks a fair amount of steam) you are using far less energy and heating up your house less than open cooking.
 
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Dan, how long do you pressure cook your stock?  You said your cooker will go to 99 minutes, but I missed where you set the timer for stock.

Thanks!

Edited to add:  Never mind.  I reread your post again, and there it was.  The full 99.  Thanks!
 
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I am not making vegetable stock but steam juicing berries and apples but the operation would be the same. I am taking advantage of the summer heat in my west facing outdoor kitchen. Around 6 PM the sun coming under the porch roof reaches the top of my outdoor kitchen counter and the temperature reaches 90 to 100F.  By that time I have all my prep done and it takes very little input from the electric hotplate to get the temperature above boiling. By the time the steaming is done the sun is behind the distant trees and the temperature drops to a comfortable level to complete the storage phase while I still have daylight.

So for a summer kitchen I recommend the west wall on the outside of your house. Do the preparation in the morning shade and the cooking in the afternoon sun for for maximum use of  the cycle of coolth and heat.
 
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Dan Boone wrote:  I also freeze some in ice cube trays to store in the freezer.  I don't trust the fresh/bottled for more than a week or two, but now I can splash it liberally into everything I cook instead of the cooking water I was too-frequently using before.  The stock ice cubes will keep effectively forever I imagine, but I haven't been doing this long enough to test that and in any case I don't expect my supply to last more than a month or two past the time when my garden is frozen down to near-nothing.    



I have found that my ice cubes shrink over time because of the tendency of things to sublimate in a freezer, so I put my ice cubes in a sealed box in the freezer to keep the ice cubes longer-- like I'm going out of town or whatever, they should be there when I want them. They seem to last longer when they are sealed up and it makes room in my ice trays to make more. Just thought it might be something you could try, or maybe the sublimation will make yours more concentrated?

I'll have to try this method for stock, might be a tad more efficient than my normal simmer all night long.

Jason
 
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Dan Boone wrote:   I also check the fridge for other neglected store veggies, which today yielded me some celery tops for the stock.  I top up the pressure vessel to its max fill line with water and set the cooker to max pressure/max time (which on mine is 99 minutes).  Set it and forget it.  


We use a pressure cooker all the time (we own 6, for a variety of reasons). The whole point of pressure cooking is it gets the job done FAST. For example, vegetable stock should be done in 5 minutes at a reasonable pressure; give it 10 if you want overkill. 99 minutes would be excessive using a normal pot; that long with a pressure cooker is just a waste of time and energy
 
Dan Boone
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John Rynne wrote:The whole point of pressure cooking is it gets the job done FAST. For example, vegetable stock should be done in 5 minutes at a reasonable pressure; give it 10 if you want overkill. 99 minutes would be excessive using a normal pot; that long with a pressure cooker is just a waste of time and energy



I'm not sure we're on the same wavelength here.

The whole point of pressure cooking is to do cooking jobs fast.  But is stock-making even truly a cooking process, or is it a flavor-extraction process?  In other words, I may be using my electric pressure cooker to do a different thing than it's designed to do, so the default wisdom may not apply.

The way I learned to make meat-based stocks from my mother involved simmering the bones on a wood stove (what we had) overnight -- a long slow simmer that leached all the flavor out of the stock material and reduced the total liquid volume, further concentrating the flavors.

I am only reasoning by analogy when it comes to vegetable stock-making, but what I've tried in the past was a similar long slow simmer.  On a gas stove (what I have now) it's fuel-expensive and I haven't been that impressed with the results; the flavor comes out sort of dull and muddy.  

Online recipes for vegetable stock all seem to suggest about 90 minutes of simmering "or until the volume is reduced by half".    I'm not getting any reduction in my electric pressure cooker, since the steam is captured, but I think that might be why my resulting flavors are brighter and fresher, because volatile flavors are not escaping with the steam.  

I can indeed "cook" the vegetable components of my stock in the first ten or so minutes in my pressure cooker.  But I'm not sure I'd get much flavor out of the vegetables in that time.  I should try the experiment; it won't hurt much (just the cost of one heat cycle) to close it back up and re-cook if the broth is weak.  

Thanks for the input!
 
Julia Winter
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It's worth trying different times.  I make bone broth, and have found it tastes better after "only" 4-6 hrs at high pressure (versus overnight or longer, which is what I used to do).  When I make seafood broth, I go for a lot less time as well.
 
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I would have to agree with John Rynne that a pressure cooker for vegetable stock for 99 minutes would be excessive. When I was involved in commercial cooking we would simmer the veal bones for hours. But flavor extraction from bones is quite different from flavor extraction from vegies. Try a batch for 10 minutes. I bet it's superior. Then try 5 minutes.
 
Dan Boone
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I think it's time for an update on this thread!

First, a confession: I fell out of the habit of making vegetable stock.  A few things contributed. It's a hassle.  And  I ran short of freezer space so if I froze any for longer keeping, it was a problem. Or I'd lose the frozen stock in the back of the freezer for so long that it took on freezer odors/flavors.  And then a few times I lost track of the time and didn't use refrigerated stock before it soured.  But probably the biggest reason was that my vegetable stock wasn't very exciting.  Full of vegetable flavor, sure, and a useful ingredient, but not the sort of thing that calls your name from the fridge and demands "Cook with me, eat me!"

I got to thinking about this a little while back in connection with beef broth.  Now, I'm currently mostly trying not to eat animal products, but sometimes I taste when my wife cooks them for herself and others.  And she's got a method of cooking beef roasts in a slow cooker where she browns it, throws it in the slow cooker pot with some onions and carrots, and "glug glug glugs" a box of commercial vegetable stock on top of it for cooking liquid.  (She's funny about food; she wants everything the same every time she makes a dish, so she wouldn't dream of using homemade stock, which is never the same twice.)  

When her roast is done, she pulls it out of the liquid along with the vegetables.  The cooking liquid, which is now a hybrid veg/beef broth full of beef collagens and beef fat and is extremely delicious, she has no interest in.  She'll feed it to the dogs.  Except, I usually stand there dipping bread in it and stuffing my face for a little while before I get my willpower under control and remember that I don't want all that beef fat in my diet.  

But like I said, this got me thinking.  Why is the beef broth so much more attractive and inviting than my vegetable stock?  Some of it's the beef fat, for certain; and the presence of dissolved collagens gives it a rich body that vegetable stock usually lacks.  And some of it is the broth/stock distinction; broth has seasoning (salt and pepper at least) while stock usually does not.  

That sent me to the internet to do some research.  What could I do, I wondered, to make a vegetable stock as rich and unctious and delicious as that beef broth?

For some palates, it will never happen.  There's no genuine substitute for animal fats, flavor-wise; and vegetable collagen is not really a culinary thing.  But I figured I had to be able to improve my vegetable stock game.  And I turned up several suggestions from diverse sources.  They included:

1) better attention to the flavor profile, by using fewer (or no) bittering brassicas, and by including more sweet vegetables/fruits.  In addition to the carrots everyone uses, parsnip is recommended, or even an apple.
2) more alliums, all the alliums.  Once source says there's no such thing as too many alliums and insists that onion and garlic skins are essential.  
3) making broth instead of stock -- cook it with salt and pepper.
4) add body with potatoes, beans, or cooked bean liquid.
5) use any or all of dried mushrooms, nutritional yeast, miso, soy sauce, or MSG to add umami.
6) add a little bit of vegetable fat to more closely simulate the fatty mouth feel of animal fats in meat broths.
7) brown or roast some of the vegetables before putting them in the stock pot.

I haven't tried all of these suggestions; I doubt it would be prudent to try them all at once.  But this morning I made a vegetable broth that was miles better than any I've made before.  Indeed I spooned some into a bowl and sopped it up with some old pumpernickel bread, and found it very nearly as satisfying as the same snack with beef broth.  

I was running around my kitchen and garden using a bit of this and a pinch of that, so I can't precisely reproduce my "recipe".  But here's what I remember putting in my pressure cooker, all amounts approximate:

A large red onion with skin on, quartered.
A huge (30" tall, greens the thickness of fingers) green onion from my garden, plus its leek-sized white underground parts.
A handful of chives.
A medium-sized head of garlic, with skins, sliced across the equator to halve and expose all cloves.
A yellow potato, quartered.
A large store carrot, chopped in short chunks.
A carrot thinning from my herb garden, with top.
Several inferior (twisted or distorted) sweet yellow banana peppers, ringed.
A Keiffer (homestead) pear, quartered and core removed.
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved.
A handful of dried pinto beans.
A small handful of fresh dill leaves.
Several sprigs of fresh parsley, curled and flatleaf mixed.
Part of one leaf from my turmeric plant
Two or three leaves of swiss chard.
Two small leaves of kale.
About ten inches of sweet potato vine plus leaves
A large sprig of fresh oregano
A fingertip sized sprig of fresh rosemary
A small handful of fresh basil leaves
A handful of dried pinto beans
A couple teaspoons of dried celery seeds
A teaspoon of peanut butter
A teaspoon of tahini
A tablespoon of olive oil
A half-teaspoon of cumin
A half-teaspoon of curry powder (garam masala)
A couple tablespoons of prepared Chinese/commercial mushroom powder (suspected to contain MSG)
A half-teaspoon of black pepper
A tablespoon of salt
A tablespoon of heavy/dark soy sauce

Then I topped up my eight quart pressure cooker (Instapot) vessel with water to the top of the max-fill indicator line.  

Had to pause and think at that point.  People in this thread, and by far the majority of internet commentators, all urge a very short/fast cook for veg broth made in a pressure cooker.  This is said to contribute to "clean" or "bright" or "fresh" flavors.  But I've tried this a few times, and all I get is a weak sort of dishwater.   I think it might be good advice if you're going for a specific vegetable flavor, but for the dark, rich, full-of-umami and body product I have been craving, I continue to think that longer cook times are needed.  However, I decided to compromise between my first impulse (two hours at high pressure) and the internet's "five to twenty minutes" advice that has let me down so badly in the past.  

I did not brown or roast anything first -- too lazy.

So I let it cook for an hour and then come down to standard pressure on its own (a couple more hours.)  And as mentioned above, it was miles better than any I have made before.  It's dark and rich, the small quantity of vegetable oils in it beads attractively on the surface of the broth, and it's got unaccustomed sweetness and body.  I'm really pleased with it!

I think the main differences are due to the potato and the pinto beans and the tiny amount of nut butters contributing body.  Plus, making it as broth (seasoned) instead of stock (unseasoned).  Keeping the brassicas to a miniscule fraction, plus adding the pear, shifted the flavor balance from sharp to sweet.  I will definitely be making more veg broth again now that I know how to make it actually tasty!




vegetable-broth.jpeg
vegetable broth
Vegetable stock
 
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Dan, great recipe! I appreciate its complexity. It's amazing how much a little olive oil will bring out the flavor, as well as all the other ingredients you listed. Even if one has a fraction of what you've included here, the key point is that it will have tons more flavor than just using water. Cooking a vegan meal that doesn't taste vegan is a skill. Your recipe here is a great step toward that.
 
Dan Boone
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Tim Skufca wrote:Dan, great recipe! I appreciate its complexity. It's amazing how much a little olive oil will bring out the flavor, as well as all the other ingredients you listed. Even if one has a fraction of what you've included here, the key point is that it will have tons more flavor than just using water.



The very first thing I did with it is cook up some nice crimson lentils in three cups of the vegetable broth.  I though this would be a good test because lentils, for all their merits, are often quite bland and dull and a bit of a chore to eat.  As I hoped, they were considerably brighter and more flavorful cooked in this broth instead of in water as per usual.

My one quibble would be that I don't consider this a recipe -- more of a "here's what I did" to demonstrate, as you say, the complexity that I think helped.  I think the tips to increase body and sweetness and umami are important, but one could do this with completely different suite of vegetable bits.  Anybody with a full crisper and/or any amount of live garden ought to be able to achieve similar results, regardless of the particular ingredients that go into the pot.
 
Dan Boone
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I want to update this thread with more about my evolving opinion on pressure cooking times for making stock.

Dan Boone wrote: People in this thread, and by far the majority of internet commentators, all urge a very short/fast cook for veg broth made in a pressure cooker.  This is said to contribute to "clean" or "bright" or "fresh" flavors.  But I've tried this a few times, and all I get is a weak sort of dishwater.   I think it might be good advice if you're going for a specific vegetable flavor, but for the dark, rich, full-of-umami and body product I have been craving, I continue to think that longer cook times are needed.  However, I decided to compromise between my first impulse (two hours at high pressure) and the internet's "five to twenty minutes" advice that has let me down so badly in the past.

So I let it cook for an hour and then come down to standard pressure on its own (a couple more hours.)



Subsequent to posting the above I've made a few batches of stock with expanded pressure cooking times -- I think I have tried 1.5 hours and 2 hours now.  (My old electric pressure cooker was limited to 99 minutes but if the 8qt Instant Pot I'm using now has an upper limit, I haven't found it.)  Each time I've expanded the cooking time, the broth has gotten darker and richer.  I'm sure there must be a point of diminishing returns but it's measured in hours apparently.  

One possible explanation for my running crosswise to broader opinion is that my goal is rich, toothsome, colorful stock.  Many of the internet recipes and discussions (whether making meat stock or veg) seem to be focused on achieving an almost-clear, light-colored stock that's "pretty" when served with noodles or whatever.  It's not uncommon for people to suggest straining their stuff through many layers of cheesecloth to filter out turbidity and particles!  So I may just have a different goal.  

That said -- and here I'm going slightly off-topic since I'm no longer talking about vegetable stock -- I recently made two batches of turkey stock also.  In my house everybody else's notion of "picking" a turkey carcass leaves behind literally pounds of skin, meat, shreds, scraps, and of course the usual bones and cartilage.  This year I couldn't stand the food waste -- even with some of the easier pickings normally going to the dogs -- and so I put the Turkey carcass and a few flavor items (onion, garlic, carrot, celery, salt and pepper) in the pressure cooker to make stock.  I pressure cooked it for an hour and it was fine, but somewhat pale and wan.  Even so, it had so much collagen/gelatin that it set up like jello in my fridge and freezer containers; it will make good cooking liquid, no complaints.  

(Yes, I know that making turkey stock by the gallon isn't very consistent with my preferred plant-based way of eating.  But my horror of food waste is very powerful, and bone broth is sort of a nutritional powerhouse.  It's a compromise I'm comfortable with.)


So, two days after Thanksgiving (yesterday) a local store was clearancing unsold turkeys for fifty cents a pound -- the so-called "fresh" ones that have been prethawed at the store for displaying in the refrigerator bin on short sell-by dates for popping straight into the oven.  A family poll concluded that a sixteen pound turkey for 8 bucks looked like "instant leftovers" and so it proved.  But after "all the meat" got pulled off and put away for sandwiches, the unpicked carcass was even richer than usual.  I had to make another batch of broth!  That was last night and it was very late by the time I had the pressure cooker set up, so I set the pressure for three hours and then let it sit on keep warm (basically a permanent simmer) until I got up this morning.  

The difference was night and day -- the longer cook yielded a stock that was twice as dark and much more flavorful than the first batch.  Interestingly, I put 3.5 quarts of water in my pot and got six quarts of stock out, which says something interesting about just how much collagen (plus fat and moisture) is dissolving out of the bird.  I did check, and the internet chefs are universally in the camp of "the whole reason for using a pressure cooker is quick times, half an hour is plenty, after that you're just wasting fuel/electricity."  Again, the only way this could possibly be true is if their goal is a clear and pale broth, with flavor a secondary consideration.  

Since I already had as much stock from the first batch in my fridge and freezer as I have room for, I went ahead and pressure canned this batch in glass jars.   Seeing as store-bought broth/stock costs a minimum of $1.75 a quart and up (way up in some cases, I've seen brands priced at $5.00 and above) it's arguable that my seven jars are "worth" more than twice in future grocery savings as much as we paid for the whole bird.  

 
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I realize everybody who cans and preserved food already knows this, but there is enormous satisfaction to be found in preserving and storing high-value delicious nutritious food.
95AACBDC-46B5-4548-AEE6-D573221F4374.jpeg
canned turkey stock
canned turkey stock
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canned turkey stock
canned turkey stock
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pleasure room
pleasure room
 
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I am like you in that I much prefer a rich, dark broth and I *never* filter it. We recently got an Instant Pot to replace my rapidly dying 25 year old pressure cooker and I wasn't impressed the first time I made broth with it. I will try your suggestion of letting it go much longer. I do believe that the collagen and nutrients in bone broth are important in keeping my bones healthy. That said, I can't use my thick, jelly-like broth for cooking absorptive things like rice - it just doesn't work unless I do a mixture of about 1/4 bone broth to 3/4 water. Have you tried that and found the same issue?

I also agree with your attitude about the value of canning your broth bonanza - Well Done!
 
Dan Boone
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Jay Angler wrote:I can't use my thick, jelly-like broth for cooking absorptive things like rice - it just doesn't work unless I do a mixture of about 1/4 bone broth to 3/4 water. Have you tried that and found the same issue?



Since we cooked the first turkey I've only had time to make one dish with the first batch of bone broth, and that was a noodles-with-vegetables dish made (also in my Instant Pot, very short cook time to avoid dissolving the whole wheat noodles) with two pounds of noodles, two pounds of frozen veg, and two quarts of bone broth plus about 1.5 quarts of my rich vegetable broth from earlier in the thread and a bit of top-up water (probably less than a quart).  It worked fine, but honestly there was too much bone broth for the dish.  Maybe it's because I'm not routinely eating meat, but it was a bit too rich and jelly-slick in its mouthfeel.   I think no more than one quart of bone broth next time.

I have used my rich dark vegetable broths extensively to cook legumes; they work a treat (but they have essentially zero collagen/gelatin in them).  I have not yet tried them to cook rice.  

It seems to me that a heavy gelatinous bone broth probably already has pretty much as many molecules dissolved in the water as there are available chemical bonds.  Even when the result is heated until it's a liquid, it makes sense to me that it would be less than ideal for cooking dried grains and legumes.  Perhaps we need some pure water in the pot that's more chemically available to soak in.
 
Dan Boone
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Jay Angler wrote:I do believe that the collagen and nutrients in bone broth are important in keeping my bones healthy.



Pretty much the only negative health implication I've noticed from eating my mostly-vegetable diet has been weak fingernails, prone to cracking and splitting if not kept very well trimmed.  But I take this as a marker that all my collagenic tissues are probably similarly impacted.  It's the primary reason that I've started experimenting with bone broth.  My mother, who went to college in the 1950s to be a home economics teacher, learned and taught her beauty-obsessing teenage daughters that they should consume lots of Jello or Knox unflavored gelatin to improve their nails.  I'm not interested in consuming that particular product (I'm suspicious of the odd chemicals used to "purify" animal products in modern rendering factories) but I have decided I need to get the collagen somehow.
 
Dan Boone
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Dan Boone wrote:Seeing as store-bought broth/stock costs a minimum of $1.75 a quart and up (way up in some cases, I've seen brands priced at $5.00 and above) it's arguable that my seven jars are "worth" more than twice in future grocery savings as much as we paid for the whole bird.



Thanks to everyone who must have laughed quietly at my out-of-touch notion about the retail price of bone broth. From curiosity, I looked at Sprouts for the most comparable product. It was $6.99 a pint!
expensive-commercial-jars-of-bone-broth.jpeg
expensive commercial jars of bone broth
expensive commercial jars of bone broth
 
Jay Angler
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Dan, you're paying for the words "epic" and "artisanal". I'm betting your homemade broth is even *more* epic, and it's certainly artisanal. As you noted, a really good bone broth should be jelly-like, so a bottle shaped like the picture has to have much thinner contents.
 
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Any stock will be jelly like! (except dishwater "vegetable" stocks) even if you only boil a small chicken for an hour the stock will set. so anything served in a bottle has to be altered in some way.
 
Dan Boone
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I didn't handle those jars, so I can't say if the commercial bone broth was jellified or not.  But there's no reason it couldn't be; all it would take is a spoon to pull it out of the jar with, or warm the jar in a bowl of hot water first.  

I do, however, suspect it's been diluted with water until it stays liquid.  I said this was the "most comparable" commercial product to what I made, but I carefully didn't claim it was as good!  In fact my suspicion is that good stock or broth is a product like a good garden tomato -- it's literally "unobtainium" on the commercial market and the only way to get it is to produce your own.  

Certainly it's the case that all the "cheap" (few bucks a quart) commercial stocks and broths I have ever tried are barely better than salty water.  You don't get much flavorful virtue for the money!
 
Dan Boone
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Since this is the thread that has my post about making vegetable stocks that are thick and rich I want to add this note about a method I have not tried yet.

I was listening to The Splendid Table podcast -- basically just the podcast version of the NPR cooking show.  The host went to the home of a Mexican chef to "help" him make a day-after-Thanksgiving turkey soup of sorts.  And that guy was enrichening his turkey bone broth by roasting pepitas and grinding them and putting the ground roast pepitas in his turkey stock.  

Now, pepitas are not part of my food patterns, but I've seen them in Mexican grocery stores and I'm vaguely aware that they are pumpkin seeds.  Only, not just any pumpkin seeds.  A Jack Spirko "what to grow" episode of the Survival Podcast sometime in the last few months talked about growing the variety of pumpkins that have seeds with very thin hulls/shells; these are sometimes called "oilseed pumpkins" or just "pumpkin seed pumpkins".  I remembered Spirko saying just as a tossed-off factoid that these are the seeds that are sold as pepitas.  And sure enough, this website confirms it, adding in for more detail some of the pumpkin varietal names such as Styrian, Lady Godiva, Naked Bear, and Kakai.  Which is to say, I ought to be able to grow them -- always of interest when I'm grappling with improving the basic building blocks of my regular self-cooked diet.  

So, for my next trick, I need to buy some commercial pepitas and see what they do for my vegetable stock.  Then, if I like the result, plant some pumpkins!
 
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Interesting tip about the pepitas. They are quite popular here, as one of the varieties' names suggests: Styrian as from Styria, Austria. Last year I planted some myself. Two plants survived the slugs, I harvested the gigantic amount of about 200 g in three pumpkins. If I had more space, I would definitely grow more. They are quite a treat when you buy them (rather pricey), but we always have them at home.

Regarding stock making:
This thread is a good reminder to cook my vegetable scraps today.
You have already listed the umami factors like mushroom and similar. Don't forget tomatoes! They have lots of natural glutamate. I also save parmesan rinds (if they have not been treated with fungicides) for the same reason.

If you are not strictly vegetarian, you can add SOME scraps of meat or bones. I have a freezer bag handy and there go all veggie scraps and the occasional trimming of fat (we eat very little beef or chicken). There are always onion skins, but as you have noticed I have stopped adding brassica. Neither do I use strong-flavored veggies such as asparagus.

Other suggestions what to add:
For a good old-style German stock you will also need bay leaves, some pepper corns.
Celeriac is also a must but I use it very sparsely because it gives a bitter flavour.
I also add a little bit of ginger and star anise (we like Asian style ramen noodles with our soup).

Have you tried adding something acidifying like Apple Cider Vinegar? I add about two tablespoons.
(For a rich dark soup like oxtail I do add some stronger liquids like Port wine).

Off to the kitchen now!
 
Jay Angler
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I was looking for some specific nutritional values of a fruit I've been eating and fell down the internet rabbit hole. The result were two articles worth a quick read:

https://nourishedkitchen.com/bone-broth-minerals/  This is talking about how important veggie scraps are to improving the mineral content of bone broth - which of course, suggests how important certain veggies are in veggie broth!

I admit that the mineral I was specifically looking for was magnesium. For whatever reason, I'm either not getting enough of it, need more than average, or need it balanced differently. That led me to Parsley - it's already on my list to grow more, but it's better at "self-seeding" than being "intentionally planted" on my property and it seems to have decided it needs a new spot, so I'm a little short this year. So, carrots are in the same family and their leaves look similar, so let's take a look there:

http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/carrotops.html

Yes, there's a good reason to save some of your carrot greens to add to your broth at least on a trial basis. Now I've just got to grow carrots!

Of course, eating more of my home-grown kale would help my mineral levels considerably, but we've had unusually wet weather even for the wet coast, and my Kale is not looking happy. I'm not even sure we have enough sun for me to try growing kale sprouts on my window ledge without running a light for it for 16 hours/day! As Dan has already mentioned though, adding too much of the kale family to broth will overwhelm the flavor.
 
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Lots of awesome info in this thread!
My Instant Pot is one of my favorite small, kitchen appliances, and I've been wondering how it would do for making vegetable and bone broth/stock.
Now, with all the info gleaned from the thread, I have a better idea of how to go about making it.
 
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Dan, reading about your thick broth made me think of this recipe for paprikash that adds gelatin to achieve the right mouthfeel. It might be a nice way to use your stock!
I've done this recipe vegan-ish (except for the fish sauce), using lots of veg and some TVP or other protein (I bet tempeh would work well), sweet potato.... but just using it as a basic starting point for a nice flavor mix, then you could experiment and put in what you like. I've also made it as written, except for the sour cream, and it is pretty darn good too.
https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/11/best-chicken-paprikash-recipe.html
 
Dan Boone
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This thread has already revealed some of the semi-schizophrenic tensions between my preferred plants-based diet and my compulsion to turn to cookery and preservation to avoid food waste. When I made all the turkey bone broth, there was enough good meat on the bones to fill a quart jar. So I topped that jar with broth and canned it as well, even though I was thinking “WTF am I gonna do with a quart of canned turkey?”

Well, I forgot: when I get sick, I eat all kinds of crazy comfort food.  I’m currently on day three of a fever-bug and yesterday I wanted easy, rich, tasty noodles.

Wound up cooking two pounds of rotini and while they drained, opened that quart of turkey and dumped it in my pot. The broth was more like a gravy and it looked really good! While it heated, I added a bit of mushroom powder, salt, and taco seasoning... but not much. Threw in a pound of cooked frozen corn and a packet of cheeze sauce I found in the pantry.  Added the hot noodle back in, stirred it up, and boom! Sort of turkey tetrazinni. I could only eat a couple servings (because sick) so I froze the rest. The canned turkey really worked here, now (finally) glad I put it up.
 
Jay Angler
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Dan Boone wrote:

This thread has already revealed some of the semi-schizophrenic tensions between my preferred plants-based diet and my compulsion to turn to cookery and preservation to avoid food waste.

I hear your frustration, but whereas you are describing it as "semi-schizophrenic", I interpret it as acknowledging that sometimes your body needs something that your diet isn't providing enough of for whatever special/specific reason, and despite your "preferences" I see you respecting what your body is telling you. To me that is honoring your body, and your mind's ability to listen to it and respect it. You needed something special or different to cope with an illness and you cooked it and ate however much of it your body suggested you need - good on you and hope you get well soon!
 
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Bringing up an older thread with points? reiterations? mostly from hippressurecooking.com whose author I totally recommend:

--The Instant Pot doesn't come to the same pressure as a standard pressure cooker (12psi vs 15, iirc) so recipes should be adjusted and sounds like more time cooking for broth
--She totally recommends a splash or more of apple cider vinegar, to pull gelatin and flavor from bones
--She also recommends onion skins for flavor and umami
 
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