With the kids back in school—or as I like to call it, The Friendly Neighborhood Petri Dish—I’ve been making plenty of bone broth to ward off the assorted bugs and ailments that the boys bring home. After all, bone broth is much more than a simple flavor booster for soups, stews, and stir-fries; it’s one of my favorite ways to keep the family healthy. At this time of year, Big-O and Lil-O seem to perpetually be on the verge of catching a cold, but a good night’s sleep and a steaming mug of bone broth in the morning seem to keep the worst at bay. I don’t want my boys missing school. (Confession: it’s mostly because I can’t get any work done unless they’re out of the house.)
In my cookbook, I offer three different methods to make bone broth, but I tend to either use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. Whenever I’m pressed for time and/or feeling lazy (which is ALWAYS), I break out a programmable pressure cooker and dump in all the ingredients at bedtime. Even after the cooking time is up, the soup stays hot, so we can have fresh bone broth in the morning. I’m telling you: I’m totally investing in a second Instant Pot. (And no, Instant Pot doesn’t pay me to gush. I just do it ’cause I can’t help myself.)
I know, I know: to my loyal readers, the awesomeness of bone broth and programmable pressure cookers is old news. But here’s something we haven’t yet covered: once we’ve got ourselves a piping-hot pot of homemade bone broth, how the bleep are we supposed to store it?
Although Michael Ruhlman initially suggested keeping it at room temperature for up to a week (and simply boiling it each time before using it), he changed his mind after reading Harold McGee’s article in the New York Times. Even if refrigerated, the longest bone broth can be stored is a few days ’cause it’s such a spectacular growth medium for bacteria.
(If you don’t want to read about how to do it, watch this Periscope video I shot in my kitchen!)
Here’s what I do with a freshly made batch of bone broth:
After I strain the bones out of my stock using a giant strainer, I let the pot cool to room temperature. Then, I ladle as much as I think can be used for cooking/drinking purposes over the course of 4 or 5 days, and I store that amount in an airtight storage container in the fridge. Whatever’s left gets frozen—but in useable portion sizes instead of a giant ice brick. Over the years, I’ve tried ice cube trays and muffin tins, but my favorite way to freeze broth is with a silicone baking mold.
The one I use has eight individual 90-mL compartments—each of which is almost exactly the volume of my ladle.
I love silicone molds because they’re food-safe, freezer-safe, and you can easily pop the frozen broth cubes out. (Plus, if your idea of tidying up in the kitchen involves cramming stuff haphazardly into cabinets and drawers, these squishy silicone molds can be smushed into whatever nook or cranny you have available.) The only downside? Because the mold isn’t rigid, it’s important to place it in a baking tray before filling it with broth and transferring it to the freezer. (Update: I also love these silicone molds from Oxo that come with lids and trays!)
The cubes freeze in about 6 hours and will keep in the freezer for up to a year.
Once they’re solid, plop the frozen ovals into an airtight container that goes right back in the freezer. As long as the broth blocks remain completely frozen, they won’t stick together, making it a cinch to take one out when you need it.
You won’t believe how useful it is to have frozen bars of bone broth on hand. Plus, you can trick your sweet, trusting, gullible children into thinking you’re melting a bar of soap on the stove, and then feeding it to them. Good times!
Before I forget: another forehead-smacking kitchen hack I learned from America’s Test Kitchen’s new cookbook, The Make-Ahead Cook…
…is to use a couple of frozen blocks of bone broth to cool off subsequent pots of freshly-made bone broth. After all, you don’t want to wait several hours for your broth to cool sufficiently for you to do your pour ’n freeze thing. You have better things to do, am I right?
What are you waiting for? This post is over. Go make a pot of bone broth pronto, and freeze the rest for later!
Looking for recipes and resources? Head on over to my Recipe Index or my Resources page. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).44