I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday. I sure did. There’s nothing like food, family and Turkey on the holiday.
According to PETA, more than 45 million turkeys were raised in 2016 just for Thanksgiving. That is a lot of turkey. The average Butterball is about 180 calories per serving, and I’m sure we all have consumed more than one serving since Thanksgiving. Although it may seem like we will never eat the last of our turkey, the day will come when we’re left with just the bones.
Whatever you do, don’t throw those bones away. Some of the best soup I can remember was from Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Many people refuse to waste any part of their turkey so they grab soup pot and make a broth from the bones. However, if you go beyond that, a collagen, protein and mineral-enriched broth can serve you well into the New Year.
Bone broth is very nutritious and when properly prepared, it can be a very tasty meal all on its own. The secret to a good broth is to simmer the bones, which encourages the release of collagen, protein and minerals found in the them. Bone broth also aides in gut health and encourages healthy digestion.
Here are some steps that can lead to a tasty broth:
Bake the bones first. I know what you are thinking — the turkey has already been baked once. What is baking it a second time going to accomplish? Besides creating a broth with a rich amber hue, it will also improve the flavor. Roast the bones for 15 to 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Time will vary according to the amount of bones. Bones should be dry and shouldn’t contain any flesh.
In order to get the maximum amount of nutrition and flavor, the bones should simmer it anywhere from eight to 24 hours. If you boil the bones, it taints the flavor and gives your broth a burnt taste. Slow cookers make the best broth and don’t need as much attention as a pot on the stove. Place the roasted bones in a slow cooker and cover with filtered water until they are well covered. Cover with a lid and turn the slow cooker on high until broth starts to boil, then turn to low for the remaining time.
The impurities that float to the top of your broth should be skimmed away, by doing this you will create a better tasting clearer broth. Use a skimmer or even a piece of bread skimmed across the top of the broth to remove the scum.
Add vegetables and seasoning last. If you want to flavor the broth, decide how much time you need to process the broth. Once you decide to add vegetables, such as carrots and celery, and spices, like peppercorn and a bay leaf, add them one hour before the broth is finished.
Once the broth is complete, strain it and pour it into glass mason jars. You can store it for up to a week in the fridge or freeze and store for up to six months.
Your broth is now ready to use as a standalone mineral-enriched meal anytime of the day or as the base to many dishes, such as soups, rice or mashed potatoes. The possibilities are endless, and the best part is you didn’t waste a single part of your turkey.
Ze Carter is a food columnist for the Daily Commercial. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.