Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Bone broth is a rich nutrient packed stock, made by boiling animal bones and infusing it with delicious vegetables, herbs and spices. Not only is it inexpensive to make, but it is a versatile addition to your diet, extremely delicious, and full of incredible health benefits!
At the beginning of my journey, I was struggling with my health and it was a co-worker of mine that first introduced to me the idea of making bone broth, on my own, as a healing remedy. While it seemed overwhelming at first, it is actually incredibly easy! Keep reading to find out why Bone Broth has changed my life.
Bone Broth Benefits
Did you know that bone broth has been used around the world for many years as a natural health remedy?
Before diving in to the, "How-To" of making bone broth, I want to share a resource that does an excellent job of describing the ways bone broth can be used to improve overall health. In her post, 20 Amazing Benefits of Bone Broth, Jacqueline Gabardy, L.Ac. describes the benefits ranging from joint health, to digestion, to mental health, and overall improved immune system functions. Check out the full list from her website below:
Bone Broth and Leaky Gut
In my post, What is Candida?, I mention a condition called, "Leaky Gut". You can read more about it in Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS article, Leaky Gut Syndrome: 7 Signs You May Have It. Essentially, it is when the lining of your stomach is damaged, and it allows bacterial and food particles and toxins to leave your stomach and enter your blood stream where they do not belong. This has negative affects on your immune system, can cause inflammation and put you at risk for a number of diseases. Dr. Axe also explains how leaky gut is connected to Candida, and how the treatments are similar in nature. They both include the use of probiotics, elimination of sugar and vegetable oils, and the introduction nutrient rich healing foods such as coconut products, herbs and spices, and bone broth to your diet. Since this is something I am also working to heal, I figured it was time to add this to my routine! Curious on how to get started? Let's go!
Bone Broth: How-To
When setting out to make bone broth for the very first time, I consulted the internet and came across a Recipe by Katie Wells in her blog, Wellness Momma, simple answers for healthier families. I continue to follow to this post every time I make my broth and it is my go-to for sharing with friends! Katie does a beautiful job of explaining the types of bone broth, the benefits, and the how-to of creating your own, with simple ingredients and easy to follow instructions. I encourage you to follow her post when attempting your first batch and you won't be disappointed! Below, check out pictures of my own experiences using Katie's recipe, in attempt to summarize the process as well as offer some ideas on how to switch it up if you need to save time!
I find that the entire process of making bone broth is therapeutic and calming for me. Not to mention the house smells amazing for days!
Before you start, there is a small list of supplies (aside from ingredients) that you may find helpful.
Large stock pot - I prefer to make my broth in large batches so I invested in a large stock pot. For smaller portions a soup pot would work well or, as mentioned below, you can even make bone broth in your crock pot, instant pot or oven!
Measuring utensils -I use a large Pyrex measuring bowl to help me measure water when preparing the broth and also to pour the finished batch into jars for freezing.
Strainers -I have two metal wire strainers, one large and one small. I like to strain my broth twice, once with the large strainer when the broth is first done, and again with the smaller strainer when dividing the broth into jars. The small strainer I have fits nicely into the opening of each jar and this is perhaps my favorite utensil of all!
Soup Ladle -For obvious reasons a ladle is helpful for scooping the broth and or lifting out the bones and veggies when the recipe is done.
Mason jars/ ice-cube trays -These are excellent for storing your broth in the freezer. I like to store mine in jars, but also make ice cubes so that when I am cooking I can just pop a cube in the pan to enhance the favor and nutritional value of whatever dish I am making.
1. Choose your bones
After a few attempts, I can honestly say the types of bones make a huge difference. My favorite bones to use include ones from grass fed animals (usually a blend of beef and lamb) from local trusted farms. This insures that the broth is not only extremely flavorful, but also free from added hormones, antibiotics and any other harmful by-products you want to avoid. I also like to save the bones, as Katie suggests, when I roast a chicken or turkey to make a lighter broth equally as tasty.
2. Roast the Bones
In order to improve the flavor of my broth and to soften the marrow in preparation for cooking, I roast the bones in the oven for half hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when the house starts to smell delicious!
3. Let them sit
When the bones are done roasting I place them in my stock pot with 2tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 16-20 cups of cold water. I let them sit in the water for 20 minutes so the acid from the vinegar has time to break down the nutrients in the bones so they can transfer into the broth.
4. Add your Veggies
Next, I rough chop the onion, celery and carrots, adding them to the pot making sure they too are covered by the water. I add seasonings such as salt, bay leaves, sage, and thyme (be creative and experiment! You can always add more to taste when the batch is done)and turn up the stove to high. Once the water is rolling, I turn it down to simmer and leave until done. In my experience, I have had great results with chicken broth simmering for 12-24 hours and beef/lamb broth for24-36 hours. This means I start Friday night so that by Sunday afternoon it is ready to jar and cool.
5. Skim the fat
During the first couple hours you will notice that a lot of the fatty bits from the bones will rise to the top of the pot. Check on your broth regularly. To remove these bits I use a wide spoon to carefully skim the broth and discard. The better the quality of the bones you use, the less of this you will need to do.
6. Discard of the bones and veggies when done
Once the broth is done simmering I use my ladle to remove the bones and veggies from the pot. These have now been exhausted of their nutrients and can be discarded.
7. Season to taste and let cool
During the last 30 min of cooking I add the softer herbs such as garlic and season my broth to taste. I make sure to let it cool enough that I can handle it safely for putting it into jars.
8. Strain and Jar
When the broth is cool enough to handle, I strain it into jars for storage. I like to do this in smaller batches by pouring some of the stock pot broth into my Pyrex measuring bowl through my large strainer (this will catch any small particles of bone or sprigs of herbs I missed). I find the Pyrex measuring bowl easier to handle when portioning the broth into jars. When doing so, I place my small strainer into the mouth of each jar as I fill it with broth, so that it strains one more time. As the broth cools you will notice the fat separate and form a layer at the top. This can be easily removed when you are ready to use the broth.
9. Store your broth
When filling your jars make sure to leave an inch or two of room at the top. Doing so will make fat removal easier, and also make room for expansion if you choose to freeze your broth. A jar of broth typically lasts 5 days in the refrigerator so I recommend storing the rest in the freezer until you need it. To protect against the jars cracking I place them in the freezer without the lid, and apply it after the broth is solid.
Tips for Saving Time
If making a large batch of broth is too much, or you worry about having the stove on for days at a time there are three alternate methods you can try.
First, you can try making bone broth in your crock pot using a similar process to the one listed above. The advantage of using this method is you can keep it out of reach of small children, and you can literally, "set it and forget it", for a few days until it is time to put it into jars.
Secondly, if you own an instant pot there are several great recipes out there such as the one from, The Real Food Dieticians, which allows you to make smaller batches of broth in only a few hours! I have tried this method and it works very well.
Finally, another method you can try, is using your oven. Once you bring your broth to a boil on the stove you can put it in the oven overnight on low, to simmer until it is ready to be put into jars. Check out the recipe from Katy She Cooks here.
No matter which method you use I encourage you to give bone broth a try. Experiment with flavors and incorporate some into all your cooking. Use as a base for soup, add a few tablespoons to a stir-fry and use in place of water or oil in many of your recipes. With so many benefits you can't afford NOT to try ! I promise you wont regret it.