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Originally published at Women Not Dabbling by Gina

turkey-001

This is a good week to share one of the most beneficial parts of a meat-based holiday meal: the bones! Instead of throwing away your turkey carcass this year, why not make some stock or soup. We all know we are in the midst of some lean times and, unlike the turkeys of my youth, no part should ever be wasted, in my opinion.

I feel like I am a little “preachy” towards the choir today. I’m sure you already know how tasty and easy home-made broth or stock can be (and I wrote about fish stock a few months ago here). I’m betting some of you learned to make broth from a childhood memory of the perpetual stock pot your grandmother or mother kept  on the stove or maybe you just started by experimenting with after-meal bones after reading something somewhere in your mid-thirties (guess which way I learned!) Either way, learning to make stock is one of the essential homesteading/homemaking skills to know, especially if you dabble in livestock or just eat an omnivorous diet. Besides, I believe it is important to remember that an animal gave its life for us to eat so we should honor it all the way down to its bones.
Broth is not only wonderful for soups, but easily digested and rich in minerals and other health goodies as well. It is essentially a type of medicinal tea made from bones. Among many other things, broth contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, glycine, collagen, amino acids, protein and sulfate. All of these are, of course, extremely essential for healthy minds and bodies.
Stock can be created from almost any type of bones. It starts with the leftover bones from dinner, some bits and pieces of meat or fat, leftover vegetable bits. Add a splash of vinegar or wine to help extract some of the minerals and such trapped in the bones. Cover with cold water (to extend the soaking period) and simmer the mixture for an extended period of time (anywhere from two hours for fish to all day or overnight for larger animal bones). Individual types of bone broths vary slightly in preparation, but this is the basics.
In many cultures, broth is the only major source of calcium in their diet. Many people are finding they cannot digest milk products and broth provides an excellent alternative. Making broth also stretches meats and bones can be bought quite inexpensively from a local butcher.
This holiday save the turkey carcass from the meals you make or attend (the ultimate doggie bag!) and make some broth. Here is an example of how broth from a carcass of bones can provide valuable protein and a mineral rich food resource, plus a bonus after-Thanksgiving meal.
Turkey Carcass Soup (A true slooow food soup)

 Step 1:

*1 turkey carcass (hopefully with some meat still attached)

*Left-over bits from vegetables cut for holiday meal

-(celery trimmings, carrot tops, onion parts)

*Garlic

*Bay leaf

*1-1/2 teas. Salt

*Pepper to taste

*Splash of vinegar or wine

*Cold water to cover

Break the turkey carcass into pieces and place in stock pot, crock pot, or Dutch oven. Add remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to boil (or just turn on crock pot!). Reduce heat to low (simmer), cover and cook for at least 2 hours (I go longer). Remove bones and allow them to cool (or burn your fingers). Pick off any meat and reserve.

Step 2:

*Vegetables of choice

-(carrots, onions, celery, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.)

*Spices of choice

Strain the broth and discard flavoring vegetables (I feed them to dogs for extra nutrients, but, of course, if you have yours on any special diet just discard). Put the broth back in stock pot and add vegetables of choice and cook until almost tender. Add noodles or rice and continue cooking until noodles or rice are tender. Add turkey meat and seasonings of choice (we like curry, pepper, and more garlic). I have also added cooked navy beans to this soup (yum!)

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