Waste Not, Want Not

I felt a little foolish saying yes, but as far as I could figure, I had paid good money for it and I wasn’t going to turn down anything that could possibly be nourishing food for my family!

The “it” that I’m referring to is all the miscellaneous bones and fat that was left over after the meat was all packaged up (this isn’t including the two packages of nice, normal shaped soup bones I received). When I was on the phone with the meat shop, discussing how I wanted my meat cut and packaged, they asked me whether I wanted certain parts of the cow, such as soup bones, and this was the one question I didn’t quite know how to answer.

I decided to say yes, thinking that if I was really at a loss for what to do with it, I could always get rid of it, but it was at least worth a shot. This very large bag of bits and pieces has been sitting in my deep freeze now for over 2 months, and in my nesting frenzy (and realizing that I desperately needed the space it was taking up for all the berries that are now in season), I decided to buck up and figure out what to do with it all!


I confess that as I removed the large bag from my freezer and set it on my counter to scrutinize, I was tempted just for a moment to chuck it all out and pretend that I had never taken it from the butcher’s. I was out of my comfort zone, already had enough things to do that week, and wasn’t sure I really wanted to deal with this bag of random bits and pieces. Nonetheless, I moved forward and I’m glad I did.

The best thing I could figure was to let it defrost enough to separate the pieces, and then split it up into my three largest soup pots. I honestly wasn’t even sure what the pieces would be like once thawed, but fortunately I was able to make them fit between the three pots. It turned out that a lot of the pieces were bone with a lot of fat on them, and some of the pieces almost seemed to be straight fat, and others looked a lot like soup bones.

I proceeded as I usually do when making bone broth, letting them sit in cold water with apple cider vinegar for an hour to draw out the gelatin in the bones, and then simmering them for about 12-24 hours, with remnants of celery, onions, garlic and carrots, as well as some seasonings and salt.

In the end, it made an enormous amount of broth!


This is a very, very large stock pot, and it is absolutely full of beef bone broth (there was also another large bowl full of broth besides this)! I think I put 14 1 litre canning jars/yogurt containers full of broth in my freezer and a couple of smaller containers, not to mention a couple of ice cube trays that I filled with broth as well (and popped the frozen cubes into a ziploc bag for when I just need a little broth)!

You can also see in this picture that there is a lot of fat that has risen and congealed while the broth cooled in the fridge overnight. This I have separated, and am planning to take the plunge and try my hand at rendering lard (Edit: Which I now realize is called tallow because mine is beef. ๐Ÿ™‚ The process is very similar to rendering lard, and as some have commented that mine is already rendered, now that I re-read some stuff, including having found this tutorial, I think that mine is basically done and I could use it as is). It looks easy enough, and I can’t bear the thought of wasting anything that could be used, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Honestly, I felt like I was Ma Ingalls or perhaps a grandmother in the Depression Era as I did all of this. It’s certainly not the norm for most housewives, and yet I was so glad that I had done it. Every bit of food that we receive is provision from God’s hand, and I want to cultivate an attitude and work ethic that demonstrates my gratefulness for what He has given us, and a willingness to use it all to the best of my ability as I serve my family.

It was a valuable lesson for me in not wasting anything that God provides for us. I’m so thankful now that I took the time to deal with it, and will be happy to use all that beautiful broth, not to mention the tallow I’m about to make, knowing that it is good, wholesome food for my family.

I’m joining in the Pennywise Platter Thursday carnival over at The Nourishing Gourmet, an excellent place to find more ways to frugally dish up nutritious foods!

How do you feel about finding ways to creatively use absolutely everything that you have available to you? Do you ever find it a challenge to take the time and effort to jump over the hurdle of not wanting to be bothered by a difficult, time-consuming or unknown task?

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  1. I’m so glad to see this post! I have a bag of bones that look just like that in my freezer.:-)

    We got our first small order of grass-fed beef in June and I asked for a bag of “bones for broth”. To which he replied, “Sure!” and proceeded to tell me what size bag and how much they would be. When I got them they were labeled as “dog bones”. And they look pretty fatty, and I keep thinking that I just need to try them for broth and see how it goes.

    You’ve inspired me to take the plunge and get that broth going soon.:-)

  2. LOVE home made broth!! Congratulations on digging in and giving it a try!! You will really enjoy the meals you make with it. I grew up on it and was taught how to make it….. so blessed to have had a mom and grandma that taught me ‘old fashioned’ things that are now becoming ‘cool’!! I really take for granted all these skills… thanks for putting such a great post together to encourage and inspire others to try it!!!!

  3. If these are beef bones/parts, then won’t the rendered fat be tallow? Not to be picky, just that I am not sure people use edible tallow in the same ways that they use lard (and maybe the rendering process is not quite the same?), so it might be important to look up what are some good uses of tallow before trying to make anything out of it. Sounds like a fun adventure, though!

  4. I’m pretty sure your tallow is rendered. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would save that lovely fat in a glass jar in the fridge and use it for frying. I too LOVE homemade broth! It is so satisfying to go to my freezer and grab a container of broth for soup, sauces, gravies… YUM! Enjoy your efforts. You are blessed!

  5. I, too, have soup bones in my freezer from the 1/4 beef we ordered.
    I am planning on doing this, but hoping to be able to wait until the weather cools. There is nothing like the smell of warm broth on a day with a cool breeze! I am starting to feel the space crunch, though, with all the summer harvest being packed in my freezer…we’ll see how long I can hold out. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’d love to hear what you end up doing with the fat since I was planning on just throwing mine away. You convict me,though, with your excellent point about provision from God’s hand…
    Thank you.

  6. That looks like a 5 gallon stock pot… ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve finally discovered how to make real broths and we love them! I would also say that the fat is rendered. I save this fat from my broths for frying lean pieces of meat.

    Yes, we do try to save and use EVERYTHING – but sometimes it gets away from me. A couple weeks ago I finally cooked up a duck and a goose we had sitting in our freezer. I saved all the skin to render out the fats. I’d made goose-grease soap before and it was wonderful, and I’d heard duck fat is good for frying. The bowl sat and sat in my fridge so I finally had to throw it out – but it wasn’t completely wasted. We put it under our live traps (predators have been after our chickens) and it’s helped trap a couple ‘possums…

  7. I’m interested in what you do to make homemade broth. I’ve always just boiled the bones with celery,onion and carrots. Doo-dah, the end. I never thought to boil it for 12 hours. What exactly do you do with the AC vinegar? Do you soak and then start again with fresh water? I love your blog, I’m so interested in whatever will get me the most for my money! (and the best broth!)

  8. I just made chicken broth this week. I had never made it before, but it smelled so wonderful! My boys kept coming down the stairs asking if we were having soup! I used my crockpot overnight to simmer the bones. I just couldn’t leave it on the stove when it is so hot outside. I love how so many of us are going back to using as much as we are given, trying to reduce waste and be good stewards of our money!

  9. If you don’t want to use the fat to fry foods (store it in the freezer in chunks), you can use it for suet bars or making homemade soap. I keep a bag of post-broth bones in the freezer as a special treat for my Cairn Terrier. She is a well-fed, happy dog.

  10. For some reason I was totally intimidated by grinding my own grain. I snagged a Whisper Mill for $5 at a yard sale and it sat in my cupboard for almost a year. Isn’t that silly! Finally after some encouragement from Twitter friends, I jumped in and made my own bread and am hooked. I can’t believe I was intimidated for so long!

  11. Oh Steph! You are my hero! ;o)

    I’m going to remember you next time I’m faced with this option… You and Ma Ingalls! That would save me lots of money!

  12. Laura, you’re absolutely right that it’s tallow, not lard. I didn’t understand that the distinction had to do with where the fat came from, rather than how it was made. Now I get it. Definitely tallow. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jen, I also agree that as I’ve been reading more, I think it’s already rendered. However, I think it’s probably still quite beefy tasting, because it has remnants of the broth on it. I think if I rendered it again, I could purify it a bit more, to make it more useful for times when I don’t want to include any beef flavor. Care to correct me on that? I’m new to this rendering business! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Candace, one thought I had was frying up zucchini sticks… yum! Especially since my garden is just full of zucchini right now! Other than that, I will probably use it to fry things, like eggs or fried rice, etc.

    Hezzielee, here is how I make my broth:
    The reason there’s a bit more to it is that I am trying to draw out the gelatin from the bones, in addition to making a nice soup flavor. The gelatin has excellent health benefits, which I talk about a bit in this post that I linked to.

  13. For the beef tallow, it does help to melt it in water and refrigerate it again to get off any bits of meat or stock that stuck to the fat when it came out of the stock pot. The fat will last a long time, but any bits stuck to it will get moldy. That also helps some with the flavor.

  14. Very enlightening. I love to make veggie broth, but how wonderful now that you have an abundance of Beef Broth. I am curious to know how much your cow was & now that you have all the cuts & such…if you have figured out how much it came out to be: price per lb. including now that you have broth. Just curious.

  15. Broth I expected. I do that too on a regular basis.

    Tallow? I never even thought of it! Thanks for introducing me to a whole new world of lard. Or tallow. Just goes to show you how far removed I am from food sometimes. Which is why I started to get back to the basics a few years back. And also good to know for our cow we’re getting in October. THanks!

  16. Wow that is A LOT of stock!!! How big are your pots?

    It can be intimidating to do things like that. I seem to recall when I was first married throwing out a turkey carcass, rather than making stock. Now I cannot believe I did that, but I was too intimidated to know where to start, or who to ask. Now I would know!

    I have a big pot of chicken bones, skin etc simmering right now from a chicken I cooked. I was given a new stock pot (as my old biggest pot was fairly smallish) for my birthday/anniversary! I wanted one, by the way. I am doing it the way you describe in that old post using ACV etc. It works well. I need to do some more beef broth too…since I just realized the other day I was using my last two jars.

    So you re-use yogurt containers to freeze it in? I was unsure of whether or not that would be safe. Mine are #5 plastic, but I was unsure if they are still meant for re-use. Up until now I have been freezing it in plastic containers with lids (the re-usable, #5 kind) if big amounts and in smaller 1 or 2 cup canning jars if its a small amount. I would rather use glass, so often I do some of both. I have tried a few times to use 1 L canning jars and each time I have tried, they have cracked and therefore I had to throw them and the food out. ๐Ÿ™ what a waste. Even when I left a ton of headroom etc. How do you manage to do it without breaking them? The yogurt containers seem like a good idea as they won’t break. Especially as things get shifted around in the freezer (mine is a chest one).

  17. this is great! I just read somewhere that someone who had been using lard for yummy flaky pie crusts just used tallow and it was even flakier-I’ll see if I can find that site.
    Also, we will be getting a beef done up for our freezer too, how did you have yours cut up?

  18. A simple way to purify your tallow (rather than render it again) is to melt it and strain it through a paper towel or cheesecloth. I do this with lard that I’ve used once, in order to re-use it. This will remove all those beef bits. If you want it to be truly pure though, rendering it a second time is probably best. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Rachel, my beef was $2.09 per lb, and that included the weight of the bones, fat, etc. That was for a front portion, rather than a side or rear. The reason for that choice (and the reason it’s a better deal) is that it has less fancy cuts (like sirloin) and more utilitarian meat, best for cuts like stewing beef, roasts, and ground beef.

    Lisa, that sort of answers your question. Because I chose the front portion on purpose, I had mine cut into a nice mix of ground, stewing and roasts. I also cut just a few packs of steaks and ribs. Plus, I got all the bones and fat.

    Kristina and Jen, thanks for the added info on rendering the tallow!

    Nola, I’m not actually sure how big my pots are, but they are all large enough to handle a large batch of broth on their own, and one is particularly big (someone suggested it’s 5 gallons- I don’t know, but it might be). I had each of them brimming full!

    As for the yogurt containers, I’m comfortable using them because I cool my broth off first (in the fridge overnight or for an entire day), so it goes in cold, and then it just gets frozen. It’s never hot while it’s in them. And I seem to do fine with using glass about 95% of the time. I always put it in cold, leave lots of headroom, and let it thaw at room temperature or else in a sink of cold water or in the fridge. I do have them break on me occasionally, but I never have enough yogurt containers, so I end up having to use glass much of the time.

  20. I just love this post.

    I’m glad to meet all the homemakers who use every part of the animal including the fat and bones.

    My mom used every part of the animal-for meat, fat, and broth. I was so blessed to witness the process while growing up. It gives me great satisfaction that I’m making the best use of everything God has given me to nurture my family.

    I look forward to making that pot of chicken stock after a chicken dinner!

  21. I didn’t know you could keep the fat from the broth and make lard! How exciting!! I’m going to do that the next time I make broth.

    Thanks for the info.

  22. My parents are European so soup always came from stock, never from a can. This explanation would be very helpful for a first time broth maker. I normally toss the fat but I guess I should rethink that.

  23. LOL, that’s SO how I feel when I am rendering fat or making broth. When I bought my beef fat to render, we had to get my husband’s SAW out to cut into small pieces. I can’t remember why now, maybe because it was connected to the bone still? Anyway, haven’t done it again since! Though lard was easy enough to render……

    Thanks so much for being part of the carnival last week!

  24. Stephanie โ€“ too bad you needed the freezer room โ€“ the stock took it all up! I made beef stock for the first time this winter, too (always have made chicken stock, but beef is more of a commitment with buying the bones!). One tip โ€“ roast the bones for an hour first and that will draw out more delish flavor.

    I have to recommend Kelly the Kitchen Kopโ€™s French Onion soup for your broth โ€“ it was easy and amazing, esp with local onions this month. I saved the fat off my broth not knowing what it was or what to do with it, but I finally read Cheeseslaveโ€™s post that you referenced and realized I already had tallow. Imagine my joy! I just made HM French fries in it, and oh. my. goodness. They were mouthwatering!! I have to recommend them to you with your tallow โ€“ and no need to re-render it, since you probably donโ€™t have time anyway.

    Re: yogurt containers for freezing. No. 5 plastic does not have BPA in it, so it should be a safe(r) plastic to reuse. I use the yogurt containers too when I run out of glass jars! I like to use spaghetti sauce jars and the like b/c theyโ€™re free to me, so if they break, I donโ€™t have to cry too hard.

  25. that broth looks great! Rendering lard is great fun! I actually got carried away when i found out how cheap good pastured organic pork fat was and bought 20 lbs (50 cents a pound) needless to say it was more than i could render and i gave up after like 10. Still i know have 3 dozen jars of great lard in my freezer for down the road and my dogs have lovely snacks whenever they want one.

    did you get a nice congeal to your stock? First time i did it, i thought it was all fat and i had done it wrong. I was soo used to store broth i didnt realize good broth should have gelatin in it!

  26. Katie, I would love to make french fries with it! I just did deep fried zucchini sticks using my tallow last night, and they were incredible! We gobbled them all up! My next idea is sweet potato fries, which we love baked, but fried might be even nicer.

    Conrad, yes, I got great gelatin in my broth. I’m actually planning to post about it, to help explain how broth is supposed to look when you get all that beneficial gelatin out of the bones.

  27. Stephanie, thank you for your post and your blog, you’re such an inspiration to me of a biblical housewife! I’m slowly wetting my feet with tasks like broth making but have never purchased meat from anywhere but a grocery store (yet!). I’m wondering if you could let us in on how you make fried zucchini. We’ve been buying veggie chips from our natural food store and even my veggie shy husband likes them but none of the recipes I’ve found online look like they’d turn out the same! Thanks!

  28. Good on you!

    We’ve got our second organic cow on order and when the butcher calls me I’m going to be very clear that I want EVERYTHING. Well, as much as I can get, that is. We do raw food diet for our cat and the organs are perfect for him. As for bones, I’m so envious of all that stock!! I hope to have a similar stash soon.

    Happy eating!
    .-= Aimeeยดs last blog ..Taming The Yeast: Easter Egg Bread =-.

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