What is this white stuff in my beef stock?

jenswrensMarch 1, 2014

So, I just canned 4 pints of beef stock that I made in my pressure cooker yesterday. Refrigerated overnight and skimmed off the solid layer of fat. Then brought to a boil, and pressure canned per the Ball Complete instructions.

There are little globs of white stringy-looking bits floating in the bottoms of the jars. What is this? It doesn't look like fat to me, and it's mostly at the bottom of the jar, not the top, although some of it is dispersed throughout. Anyone know?

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myfamilysfarm

I believe that you can't get the entire amount of fat off any time you skim, no matter how careful you are.

Also looks like a bit of fat has remained. Not enough to worry about, I've had the same thing happen to me. I went ahead and ate it, I had processed correctly, so I didn't worry. I also used it in something that had to boil the 10 minutes.

Hope mine was OK.

Marla

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 6:27AM
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calliope(6)

It's not fat, fat floats because it's lighter than water. It's sediment.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:22AM
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jenswrens

Thank you, calliope. I was pretty sure it wasn't fat. It doesn't look anything like fat, and like I said, it's on the bottom of the jars. It looks almost cotton-like. In fact, if I really had to compare it to something, it looks like dead clumps of those little sea-monkeys DD had to grow for a biology class one year. :-0

So, sediment from what, I wonder? And is it still safe, if I strain it away? I wonder if I've always had it in my broth, but I've never noticed because I've always frozen it or used it immediately. Maybe the pressure canning made it somehow precipitate? Or maybe it's just screwed up and I need to toss it. IDK.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 2:26PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes it is safe and it is normal. You can strain it or just leave it in the bottom of the jar after you open the jar and carefully pour off the top liquid if it bothers you. Or you can just use it as is. Most of us do since it is good stuff from the meat and bone marrow.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 5:57PM
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jenswrens

... it is good stuff from the meat and bone marrow.

Yay! Thanks, Dave! Good to know.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 7:09PM
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cannond

It can also be minerals from your water. Our water is hard. When I want to can something with water in it, i.e. stock, pickles, anything, I get out the huge stock pot and boil water. I let it set overnight and by morning there's white sediment on the bottom. I carefully ladle the amount of water I need from the pot.

My reverse osmosis just doesn't produce enough water per day when I need it for canning. Some people buy distilled water for canning. Both methods keep film from developing on my water bathed jars, too. I suppose vinegar in water bath would do the trick as well.

Deborah

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:34PM
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jenswrens

Interesting, Deborah. We too have hard (well) water, but I always use our R/O water for making broth, tea, etc. However, I did warm the jars on the stove in a pot of hot water from our pot-filler. When I took them out, I wondered if I should dry them out first, but didn't do it so there was some residual hard water in the jars when I filled them with broth. I wonder if it was enough to cause this sediment.

Next time, I will warm the jars in the DW or maybe the oven (can you do that - keep in oven until ready to use?). Timing the DW to run and stay hot in tune with my canning efforts seems like a big logistical PITA. So maybe the oven...

And yes, in that first pic above, if you look close, you can see the white film on the outside of the jars from the canner. Like you, I too always get this from our hard water, in the PC and in the BWB.

This post was edited by jenswrens on Wed, Mar 5, 14 at 10:29

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 10:28AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

When I took them out, I wondered if I should dry them out first, but didn't do it so there was some residual hard water in the jars when I filled them with broth. I wonder if it was enough to cause this sediment.

I sure don't see how it could have been enough but you sure wouldn't want to dry them.

Well water here too. Everyone I know who cans does it with well-water and always has. With the exception of some pickle recipes it hurts nothing and sure isn't any cause for concern. Plus it is much better to use than any water from a softener system is or even that from a city water system with all its additives.

I'd suggest just filling your jars with hot tap water to warm them up - they don't need to be boiled or sterilized anyway - but that probably wouldn't appeal to you.

Adding vinegar to the water in the canner eliminates the hard water coating on the jsrs and if you forget to add it, it just wipes off with a damp rag.

You know, if we aren't careful there is a tendency to make the whole process of canning foods far more complicated than it needs to be.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:18AM
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cannond

I expect the hard water varies geographically. Here, if I don't go through the whole routine I described above, I get a great deal of sediment in the final product. Not very attractive.

Will it compromise the flavor? With as much sediment as we have in our water, it's possible. It's fine for drinking; in fact, my husband prefers it to any water he's ever tasted. Our city friends, however, want the reverse osmosis water.

Deborah

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 3:31PM
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cannond

> I will warm the jars in the DW or maybe the oven (can you do that - keep in oven until ready to use?).I do keep them warm in the over, but I don't believe it's recommended. If you're fairly certain of your oven temperature, 200 degrees is good.

Deborah

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:29PM
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calliope(6)

Blood is what makes meat look red. The pigment in blood is heme, and if you look closely at meat you have boiled too long, it's white around the edges from where it looses the pigment. Any little shards of meat, separated from the meat chunks can have a white appearance, as can other tissue residues like collagen, cartilage, bone marrow. When I am making soup stock from any meat, I see similar residue in the pot, especially when it has cooled and the matter congeals. Hello, what you are looking at is REAL food, the way it really looks when prepared from scratch, and not at some factory where it's been strained to death, homogenated and brought up to some standard product, consistent from can to can. ;-) Sometimes we see foods as they really are for the very first time when we make them from scratch ourselves.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:23AM
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