“There is nothing like a plate or a bowl of hot soup, it’s wisp of aromatic steam making the nostrils quiver with anticipation, to dispel the depressing effects of a grueling day at the office or the shop, rain or snow in the streets, or bad news in the papers.”
– Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book
There’s nothing like a hot, steaming bowl of soup on a crisp fall day to bring a smile to my face and satisfaction to my belly! A good homemade bone broth has become an important aspect to producing a nutrient-dense soup in my household. It also saves me money and excess kitchen waste. All those leftover chicken carcasses, beef and lamb bones, and vegetable scraps can be saved and used to make a gallon or more of stock for mere pennies. It not only tastes better, it’s more nutritious too!
A Well-Made Bone Broth:
- Provides abundant bio-available minerals (very easy to consume, digest and absorb) – calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfate, flouride and other trace minerals.
- Strenghtens the immune system
- Enhances digestion
- Provides collagen and gelatin nourishing our connective tissues (joints, tendons, ligaments, skin, mucus membranes and bone). Collagen also helps heal the lining of the digestive tract.
- Amino acids: arginine, glycine, proline and glutamine – helps the body detoxify amongst other things.
- GAGs (glycosaminoglycans) for gut healing
- Makes skin supple, thus helping with wrinkles, stretch marks and cellulite
Bones are highly mineralized. Using an acid, like apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s Raw Unfiltered with “Mother”) in the water before cooking pulls these precious minerals from the bone. Adding things like chicken feet, joints and knuckles will consistently offer a gelatin- and collagen-rich broth. The bones should soak in cold water for about an hour before bringing them to a boil. This is important, as this is what provides a really good gel to the end-product.
When choosing and gathering bones (if not using leftovers), get to know your local rancher or butcher, as they are often willing to part with them for minimal to no cost. Go for a variety of bones from different animals, if you like. Be sure to get organic, free-range, grass-fed or pastured animal bones as everything an animal eats, how and where it lived, will factor into the health benefits they will provide in your broth.
Store bones in your freezer until you have enough to build a good stock (one chicken carcass is adequate). Make sure they are cut into small pieces. This will reduce the cooking time as well as allow more of those health-giving nutrients to become part of your broth.
1. Place bones in large stockpot and cover with water.
2. Fill stock pot with water (preferably pure and filtered) leaving room for broth to boil.
3. Add 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar to water prior to cooking to help draw out beneficial nutrients in the bones. (preferably an hour)
4. Bring broth to a boil SLOWLY and then reduce heat and simmer for at least 6 hours (see cooking times below for specific bone sources). Remove scum as it arises.
5. Add a large onion (chop in quarters, peel left on), 2-3 carrots (chop in large chunks, “skin” left on) and 2-3 celery sticks (chopped in large chunks). Use organic vegetables when possible.
6. You can add fresh herbs to your stock in the last 10-15 minutes. Also, add a bit of salt, to bring out the flavors.
7. Pour broth through a strainer and set aside to cool (in the fridge is best). Set aside bones and remove all meat for future dishes.
8. When broth is cool, you will notice a layer of congealed fat on the top. This is a protective layer and should only be discarded just prior to consuming.
9. Broth should be consumed within 3 days or frozen for later use.
Money Saving Tip: Save the remnants of vegetables whenever preparing other dishes. Put all in a plastic bag in freezer until it’s time to make broth.
Storage Tips: Put broth in freezer-safe containers (glass is ideal, leaving headspace for expansion). Try several different sizes – specific amounts depending on what you are making (2 cups for grains, 2 quarts for soup, etc.). Or freeze broth in ice cube trays (BPA free) – this is equal to about 2 tablespoons a piece. Once frozen, store in large container.
Suggested Cook Time: Cook chicken bones for 6 – 48 hours. Beef bones 12 – 72 hours. (A long, slow cook time is necessary to fully extract the beneficial nutrients from the bones.)
Suggested Dosage: Drink 1/2 – 1 cup daily
For an even more health-promoting broth (with foods such as kombu, shitake, and astragalus) check out this post by Recipes to Nourish!!!!
Uses For Broth:
- liquid for cooking rice and/or beans
- nutritive drink
- base for gravies and sauces
- braising vegetables (consume any remaining liquid)
You will come to LOVE the incredible flavor homemade bone broths will add to your dishes and the increased health it will bring to your life!