We are a meat eating household, but after my long-term veganism I'm still not entirely comfortable handling meat. I also find myself extremely aware of meat use and waste. Bone broth is a natural follow-up to a meat heavy meal, and a great way to further value a meat purchase. It wasn't until last week though, that during a bone broth making session, I had a huge DUH moment. Usually, after the broth, the bones would go in the trash. Rarely, if I'm especially organized and on top of hippie chores, I'd get another batch of bokashi going.
Why not take the bones and make bone meal for the garden?
I felt like it was great way to further honor the meat-eating choice we make. I'd see what the process is like and maybe add it to the arsenal of Permaculture approaches we use. The bones are high in calcium and phosphorous, so "waste" seemed to be a terrible fate for them. Plus they come out after a long broth simmer so much more brittle than before going in, so I figured it would be easier on the blades of the blender.
One more way to use what we have.
I looked homemade bone meal up on the internet, and apparently I'm not so brilliant. Lots of search returns came up. I followed the instructions on Chiot's Run since I've been reading her blog for a while and know she knows what she's doing.
Here's the long and the short of it:
- After making bone broth, separate the bones from the meat. I made another quick broth for the dogs to really clean the bones, but I think a quick rinse would be fine, too,
- Dry the bones in the oven on a low temperature. I think I did mine on about 200 F for about 2 hours, mixing them around in the pan once or twice to make sure they all dried.
- Throw them in a not-too-precious but hardworking blender, put the top on, and pulse away. I used the ice setting. It took a while to get them to powder form because these were wild hog bones and were stronger than chicken bones (which I find usually just fall apart after making broth).