Sunday, October 14, 2018

Breaking bones for the marrow and stock.


THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE IS A SUGGESTION AND PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK. Be careful.

If you have a bunch of whole bones and you like making bone broths, cooking, and rendering all the marrow - crack them open. A stone hammer will save you from having to saw them with a machine or by hand, or smack them with a steel hammer - which is usually not enough. The broken bones release the liquid marrow quickly during the cooking process and can thus be skimmed for preservation with minimal exposure to heat.

Get a hefty stone, preferably rectangular, with one flat face or the hammer will shoot off in odd directions when striking. Round the edges of your hammer stone where the thong will pass and overlap by striking with another small stone; this will mitigate abrasion. Wrap with the moist raw hide thong securely to the wood handle. A long strip of game skin wrapped moist will dry tight and rigid. Wrap also the bundles of the already wrapped babiche, and pull snug, you will put a heavy taught on your rawhide latching; this also saves you from worrying too much about making the rock to handle wrap tight in the beginning.

Pre stretching your babiche before wrapping will remove excess water and ensure an extra tight dry.

The critical function of the wood handle is to absorb shock from the stone so its not transferred back to you while mauling. The handle does not need and should avoid the use of a hole, as shown in the image three down; it helped originally as I had thread the hide through it. I now do a wrap, like the one pictured at the bottom.



The handle is made to have a top wich will sit the stone snug and ultimatly have, only a slighly forward slant when mounted. The slant on the top will reduces the chances of the stone slipping back, reduce wear on the babiche when mauling, and make the handle more comfortable for the wrist when striking. The handle shown above and in the final images is able to sit the stone head closer to where your hand can grab and therefore provide a better leverage advantage than the handle with the hole.

I use a big, strong rock with a flat top for the anvil.

If the bones are whole, one can simply remove the marrow, mush or cut it up and put it in the same vessle as the bones for skimming from the render.

If the tallow or oils are old, they may be used in a lamp. Old oils appear a yellow/brown colour when solidified at the top of gelatin and are detrimental to your mental and physical health.

When an oven with slow cook low is available, I use glass jars with glass or steel lids as my cooking vessels; I began doing this to avoid the metals that would leach from the pots, stainless steel pots primarily, but excessive, inorganic iron fron an old cast iron as well. During the many times I have done this, one large jar failed with hot liquid inside; I was pushing this jar with already many cracks for possible failure; despite that, the use of glass puts a-lot of stress on your mason jars with cleaning, other dings here and there, and so on, and as a result broken, expensive, jars, yet, I still use the method for a number of reasons. Any glass that is completely translucent can be used, such as old food jars. I'd also use artisan clay pots as an alternative with the aim of avoiding off metal tastes in the food and metal leaching.

I recall reading that the women of one native tribe - yet may have been quite prevalent - would quickly sew heavy 'mits' of the raw skins to protect their hands for the task of mauling bones. The mits would have been used to prevent cuts from the sharp bones, which is a possibility if you are not careful.

One can do a good job cracking all the big knuckle bones the first time, though they may be slippery and shoot out, or you can crack the chunks up a little more after they have been cooked once to extract a little more marrow and gelatin.

Take it slow when striking bones, but not so slow you lose focus on the task and hit your fingers. I suggest striking lightly till the bone sets and take a  good strike at it with your hand away. Also, you may want to do this where you dont mind your bones shooting out all over and getting dirty.

For the hunters - the vertebra of appropriate animals can be mauled in segments; this help to hold the bones at a safe distance. The neck, spine, and bones of small animals can be heavily pulverized into a raw mash and eaten as a nutritious raw patte. BE SURE if said bones are cooked however, that you dispose of the fine, sharp bones of the ribs and spine responsibility, burning as an example, or small animals like dogs and wild kanid may eat them and damage them. If you cant responsibility dispose of these leave these bones raw and whole for the wilds. You may take it a step further, by separing the vertebra so the carron may reach the nutritious CNS.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR FINGERS: I am not responsible for broken fingers. Nore am I responsible if you use my bone cooking method described and for any reason drop or crack a jar with hot liquid inside resulting in injury.
Be careful.

Contact me through my etsy page; I may have babiche available for sale.


The bone shown in the picture is old and has yellow rancid fats (for clarification). This particular thong has lasted me years/many striking jobs, and is still tight. This image shows my old hammer weave which lasted about four year of heavy use then failed.
You may want a sturdier anvil stone setup.



Improvement from the previous design. About 15 feet of tough moose babiche - probably overkill.





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