Wild Food Lab Projects:
Salted Fish in a Day
Wild Food Lab
Making Your Own Organic Wild Food and Chicken Bouillon Cubes.
I love chicken soup. I've already made wild food soup cubes in the past (Vegetarian) but wanted to go a bit further and be able to add chicken, beef, etc... to my soup cubes. In essence, making my own bouillon cubes.
As soon as you add some animal products, in order to have a good shelf live you're looking at 2 methods of preservation in this case: Dehydrating and Salting. The vegetarian soup cubes I have made in the past were simply dehydrated and contained just wild edibles and vegetables.
Doing some research on what you buy at the regular store, I was really horrified to find out about the actual content of your regular bouillon cubes, there is barely anything natural left in it. We're talking flavoring, colorants, MSG, etc...
A basic recipe for what you buy at the supermarket is:
Salt 50% - Hydrolyzed Protein 30% - Dextrose 15% - Spices, Flavoring, and Coloring 5%
We can do so much better and make our own soup cubes with organic elements. Here is my recipe:
Urban Outdoor Skills
Organic Wild Food Chicken Bouillon Cubes:
Take 4 large legs of organic chicken (Whenever you eat chicken, you can also save the bones, feet, legs, cartilage, wings, etc… and freeze it to use later).
Place 4 chicken legs in around 3-4 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer for several hours. What you want to do is to extract the collagen from bones, cartilage, etc.. and it takes quite a while. Let it reduce bit by bit. It’s how you make gelatin. After a few hours (took me 6hrs), you’ll notice that the liquid is becoming more thick.
Strain (I use a strainer and cheesecloth), throw away the bones (you can eat the meat, it’s really tender).
From my 3 or 4 cups of water, I may end up 1/2 cup of liquid/gelatin.
Next I usually place the liquid in a jar and let it cool in the fridge.The liquid will be transformed into a solid gelatin. This can keep for a long time in the fridge and you can also freeze it (not in the jar though). You basically have solid chicken stock without spices.
In this case, I intended to use the chicken stock the next day to make my cubes so I removed the gelatin from the jar using a knife (cut around the chicken stock and shake the jar upside down)
Slice the top off. (it contains fat but it’s optional to cut it off). For long term preservation purposes, fat can become rancid so I’m more interested in the gelatin (mostly collagen)
I placed the chicken stock back in the jar and into hot water to make it liquid again. It's much easier to mix it with the spices/herbs that way.
Next I grind my dehydrated spices using an electric coffee grinder (Expresso setting). You basically make your own spice powders. I do so with onions, garlic and Italian herbs. I also use wild edibles so in this case I made some stinging nettle powder but you could use other vegetables such as parsley, carrots, celery, etc... By the way, you can buy garlic/onion powder at the regular store but it just doesn't taste as good as home-made powder.
Next I gather the spices I have powdered and mix them up using the following ratio:
5 Parts Salt
3 parts Wild Food (Stinging Nettles in this case) or you can use other vegetables such as celery, carrots, parsley, etc...
1 Part Onions
1 Part Garlic
1 Part Italian Herbs
I add chicken stock/gelatin until I get a thick paste. I let the mixture rest for 15 minutes so the flavors are really blending together then I shape it into cubes using my (clean) fingers.
Next step is the dehydrator. It may take up to 8 hrs at 135 degrees to dry the cubes (a solar dehydrator is a good idea). You want something really dry and solid so it will keep for a very long time. Once done, place into a closed jar and voila! You just made your own organic bouillon cubes!
You could do this recipe without using as much salt but then I would advice you to keep the cubes in the freezer. The quantity of salt in this recipe is necessary for preserving the cubes without the need of a refrigerator, you are basically using 2 methods of preservation - salt and dehydration. I've made some soups with cubes that were 6 months old and it was still delicious.