Introduction: Portable/Pocket Soup
I am very excited about this old-time technique for creating a
portable, nourishing, long-lasting bone broth. If you are into survivalism, self-reliance, preparedness, homesteading, or anything like that, this is a MUST.
Simply put, Portable Soup (it also has many other names) is a leatherly, gelatinous broth reduction.
I first learned about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fE5KzvOZRk
Here is an interesting article on portable soup by National Geographic: http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/25/the-luke-warm-gluey-history-of-portable-soup/
Louis and Clark reportedly took over 100 lbs of the stuff on their expedition across America. It was reported to have saved them from starvation on multiple occasions.
It was also reportedly carried on Captain Cook‘s trip to Australia because it was antiscorbutic (preventing scurvy).
Virginia planter William Byrd II said it was “a wholesome kind of Food, of very small Weight and very great Nourishment, that will secure them from Starving, in case they should be so unlucky as to meet with no Game.”
One particularly awesome thing about this is that it lasts SOOOO long, it will probably outlast you.
"A cake of portable soup, thought to have originally come from Captain Cook’s supplies, survives in Britain’s National Maritime Museum in Greenwich—a flat rectangular cake stamped with a broad arrow [THE IMAGE IN THIS SECTION], looking much like a “slab of glue.” It was tested in the 1930s by food scientist Sir Jack Drummond, who pronounced it “changed very little.”"
Try this out!
Step 1: Get Some Meat
Get yourself some meat from a tough cut like beef shank/shin, neck,
feet, oxtail, etc. You can use the same cuts from pork, lamb, etc; you can even supposedly use chicken, but I haven't tried. You want a cut that has connective tissue and preferably a bone w/ marrow. I used beef foot.
Step 2: Get Cookin'
Put meat into a crock pot (you can do this on a stovetop or open fire, but this process takes a while because it REQUIRES LOW HEAT, so a slow cooker is easier). Cook for 8-10 hours on low (BARELY a small boil). You have to eye-ball the proportions due to the various sizes in cookware, but put enough meat to get a good, rich broth.
Step 3: Let Cool Completely, and Strain Broth
Strain the cooled broth through a fine cloth, or a few layers of cheesecloth. You should also be able to use something like jelly cloth Ball makes for, well, jelly. The particles should be removed and leave you with a translucent (could be cloudy, but not chunky) broth.
Step 4: Reduce Broth
Put broth back into the pot with LOW heat and start reducing with the lid off. There should be NO BOILING. You want to just drive off excess water. If you are using a slow cooker like me, on low with the lid off, you will reduce the broth for about 24 hours, or until there is about 1/2 to 1/4 inch of broth in the bottom. Turn off and allow to cool COMPLETELY.
Step 5: Remove Gelatinous Patty and Dry
When the liquid has cooled completely and become gelatinous, run a knife around the edge of the broth patty, and CAREFULLY remove. Place on cooling rack or dehydrator rack. Use a fan to start drying. Any fan will do as long as there is NO HEAT. You don't want to use heat because it will turn the gel patty into liquid again and make a mess. I read that the gelatin binds with the water, and if heat is used it will un-bind. Anyhow, place on rack with fan and let dry for a couple of days, or until it takes on a leather consistency.
Step 6: Cut Into Pieces
Take the dehydrated patty and cut into pieces, then wrap into paper, in an Altoids tin. You could possibly put into a ziplock bag, but ideally, it would slowly continue dehydrating over time and get harder and harder so it probably needs slight air exposure.
Step 7: Use As Needed
If times get tough and you need a nutrition boost or something that will make a comforting bowl of soup, just whip out your portable soup, mix with hot water, and sip away. Remember, this will last a very long time (possibly longer than any other food you have, except salt). It's also light weight so it's travel-friendly, and easy to pack away.