Making bone broth is incredibly simple, if you have a pot, some bones and some patience!
My new daily routine for the past 6 months or so has been to drink a cup of bone broth in the morning when I wake up. It's an incredible way to remineralize and jumpstart my digestion, especially as a mom who has been nursing a growing boy during the night.
I used to be that person who said, no way would I be drinking broth but one day I made up my mind to try it with an open mind, just try it, and see what I think. And I've been drinking it ever since:)
Where to use broth
Aside from drinking it, I also use bone broth in much of my cooking ie roasts, casseroles, soups, stews, even oatmeal and mashed potatoes. There are so many ways bone broth can be used but if you're unsure of it, start by subbing broth for water in recipes.
What bones to use to make broth
I love straight chicken broth, made with our chicken carcasses (I'll link to our store at the bottom!). I usually do couple of chicken carcasses and then the key to making really gelatinous broth is to use a wide variety of other bones, including the heads and feet, if you're up for it, or wings, drumsticks - anything with cartilage, ligaments, skin etc because that is what makes the broth gelatinous. I often save bones from drumsticks, whole chickens, wings meals etc in the freezer until I have enough to add to a pot of bone broth.
Beef and chicken broth mixed is also great, as well as some pork. Shameless plug, we have all those bones in our farmstore!
If using beef bones, use a mix of shanks, knuckles, flat bones and marrow bones - all of which we have. Remember to use high quality bones, preferably pastured, to make high quality broth!
For spices, I tend to only use salt and pepper, especially lots of high quality salt. However, you can also add more salt later. You can definitely also add lots of onion, garlic, vegetables etc.
Now, on to how to make the actual bone broth!
Step 1: Add bones, spices, and water to the pot.
The key here is that you don’t want a huge amount of water compared to the quantity of bones or you’re diluting the good stuff that gives you the gel texture. The water should just cover the bones.
I usually add a nice splash of apple cider vinegar (or any other vinegar) This helps to draw all the nutrients out of the bones.
I like to do it stovetop or on the woodstove. I personally do not like a crockpot since I feel like I lose too much water in the boiling but you may like that option.
Step 2: Simmering the Broth
Place the pot on the stove and bring to a simmer.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Don’t let it boil for long, as soon as it starts boiling reduce the heat down.
Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface during the initial simmer.
Step 3: Rolling Simmer
I like to leave broth simmering for 24-48 hours. I do this with a very low simmer, barely boiling. I have safely left it overnight and while gone but you may not feel comfortable with that.
if you prefer not to cook it this long, bone broth can certainly be made in less time by simmering faster and simply not cooking as long.
Keeping the lid off can help concentrate the broth due to water evaporation but to be honest, I often leave the lid on and still always get the gel I’m looking for.
Check the water level occasionally and add more as needed to keep the bones covered but don’t overdo the water, you don’t want to dilute it.
Step 4: Straining the Broth
Once the broth has simmered to perfection, strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot or large bowl.
If desired, for even clearer broth, strain it again through a cheesecloth or muslin.
Don’t forget to eat the meat! I always use it for things like chicken salad for sandwiches or in any dish that calls for pulled chicken.
Step 5: Storing the Broth
Allow the broth to cool before transferring it to jars or containers for storage.
I typically scoop some fat off at this point and save it for frying eggs or meat.
You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze it for longer term storage.
Or, if you leave the fat cap intact on the top of the jar, you can save broth in the refrigerator up to one month. As long as no air gets under the fat cap!
Maybe this feels all complicated now!
The key ingredients are a mix of bones, salt, water, apple cider vinegar, a large pot, and time. It is not as hard as it may seem and I find the more I do it, the more comfortable and 'old hat' it becomes.
Please let me know if you try making bone broth and how you like it or what you do with it!