Have you heard of bone broth? Maybe you’ve heard it mentioned but aren’t quite sure what it is why it is so highly praised by many.
There are a lot of good reasons to make this amazing liquid. If you haven’t tried making your own yet, grab some leftover chicken bones and a pot and get to work. Your taste buds, wallet and your health will thank you.
What Is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is simply a liquid obtained from boiling bones from chicken, turkey, pork or beef in water. The end result is a tasty liquid that’s delicious on its own, but also makes a wonderful and nutritious base for soups and stews.
How is Bone Broth different from regular stock?
The biggest difference between bone broth and regular stock is that bone broth is cooked a lot longer.
When you boil bones for a long period of time, you leach all sorts of nutrients, minerals and other things that are good for you like glucosamine and collagen.
There is no standard as to what is called stock and what’s called broth. A recipe may call for stock or you may buy chicken broth at the store. In those instances think of the terms interchangeably.
In other words, if a recipe calls for stock and all you can find is broth, go with it. If you’re making it at home from scratch on the other hand, you can make true stock or broth.
Next, let’s get vegetables out of the way. When it comes to vegetable broth and stock, they truly are the same thing.
You’ll see in a moment that the difference between stock and broth has to do with meat and bones. Since neither are found in vegetable broth or stock, they are the same thing.
To make vegetable broth, you simmer things like onion, garlic, carrots, celery, broccoli etc. in a large pot of water. You can even add potatoes or sweet potatoes for extra body.
Use whatever you have on hand. Even scraps will work. Boil them in water for an hour or until your broth has a good flavor. Strain and store.
Now let’s get to the meat and bones. We’re talking stock, broth and bone broth here. They can be made from chicken, turkey, beef, pork, etc. You can mix and match but most of us will focus on one type of meat at a time to make chicken stock or beef broth for example.
Broth is usually a lighter liquid. To make it you boil bits of meat and sometimes bone along with some vegetables and herbs in water. Broth is only boiled for an hour or so and the finished liquid will remain liquid when cooled. Stock on the other hand includes a lot more bone and cooks for at least a few hours.
Meat and vegetables, herbs etc. are often included as well for more flavor. The longer cooking time allows things like cartilage and fat to dissolve into the broth.
The end result is a liquid with a lot more flavor and body. It also tends to firm up (at least part of it) when cooled. Broth is a lighter liquid while stock has more body and more nutrients.
Bone broth is actually more of a specialty stock. It is made mainly from bones without much meat left on them and vegetables are optional.
Good bone broth has cooked for at least 24 hours and often apple cider vinegar is added to the pot to encourage more minerals to leach out into the broth.
Benefits Of Bone Broth
It’s tastes great
Let’s start with the obvious homemade broth, stock or bone broth tastes really good. If you haven’t tried making any of these, do yourself a favor and get in the kitchen now. Bone broth in particular has a deep rich flavor that you just won’t get out of a cartoon of chicken stock.
Drink the broth on its own, or use it as the base for soups, stews and sauces. You can use bone broth in any recipe that calls for broth or stock. Or try simmering your rice or vegetables in the broth for added flavor and nutrition.
Bone broth is made from the bones you’d toss in the trash otherwise and water. It doesn’t get a lot more frugal than that. For no more than the cost of a little power to boil the bones, you have something that’s just as tasty as or better than high-end stock you buy at the store.
If you’re buying quality chicken, turkey or beef, you can make the most of every dollar you spend by utilizing every little bit including the bones. Then take it even further by making soups and stews with the broth. It’s a great way to make even little bits of meat and veggies go a long way.
It’s Good For You
Let’s not forget about the health benefits of bone broth. There’s a reason grandma would put on a pot of homemade chicken soup when someone got sick. Bone broth is full of minerals including magnesium and calcium. The fat content in the broth helps our bodies absorb the various minerals. It’s also full of collagen and gelatin which are good for your skin, hair and joints. Add to that the immunity boosting properties of a good cup of broth and it’s no wonder this has been praised for centuries.
There you have it. Bone broth is one of the tastiest and inexpensive health foods that you can make right in your own kitchen. Grab that chicken carcass leftover from last night’s dinner from the fridge, get out your large stock pot and get cooking.
How To Make Bone Broth
Bone broth is the liquid you get from boiling bones in water for several hours. It has a lot of nutritional value, is full of minerals and is said to help boost your immune system. It’s also very tasty and makes a wonderful base for all sorts of soups and stews.
Stovetop Bone Broth
The easiest way to make your first batch of bone broth is to start with a cooked chicken. Roast it yourself or head to your local grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken. Pull the cooked meat of the chicken and serve it for dinner. Store any leftover meat in the fridge to use later on to make chicken and noodle or chicken and rice soup with the bone broth you’re about to make.
Put everything that’s left – all the bones and any remaining bits and pieces of meat – into a large pot that has a lid. Fill it with plenty of cold water. The more water you add, the more broth you’ll get in the end. Don’t fill it all the way to the top or you risk the liquid bubbling over.
Next, add a good splash of apple cider vinegar to the pot. This step is optional. If you don’t have the vinegar in your pantry don’t fret it. You can add a splash of red wine or white vinegar if you’d like. The vinegar helps get all the minerals out of the bones and into the broth. But again, don’t worry if you don’t have it. Your broth will be just as tasty and almost as good for you without it.
Cover the pot with the lid and crank up the heat until everything comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook your bone broth for a minimum of 12 hours. Although, if you can cook it for 48 to 72 hours, that is better. Of course you don’t want to simmer the broth while you’re out of the house or sleeping.
Start the broth in the morning on a day when you know you’ll be home. Simmer it all day until you’re ready to go to bed. Turn off the burner for the night, but keep the broth sitting on the stove. In the morning, bring the liquid back to a boil and continue simmering.
The broth will be tasty after a few hours of simmering but will get better with time. After it has cooked for 12 hours you can start to use it. Just replace the liquid you’re taking out with more water to keep stretch the broth.
Slow Cooker Bone Broth
If you don’t want to “baby-sit” your broth all day or continue to simmer it for 24 to 72 hours straight, put your slow cooker to work. This works particularly well for a chicken carcass or any small batch of bones.
Put the bones in the crockpot and cover them with plenty of water. Again, adding a splash of apple cider vinegar will help get the most nutrients and minerals from the bones. Cover and cook on low as long as desired.
Strain out the liquid and if you’d like, start another bath with the same bones. You can get up to 3 batches of bone broth out of each batch of bones.
Check out this recipe for a step-by-step guide to making slow cooker bone broth.
Perpetual Bone Broth
Last but not least there’s something called perpetual bone broth. The basic idea is that you have a pot of broth simmering at all times. You dip out what you need to drink or cook with, add more water and bones as needed and keep it going. You can do this on the back of the stove, turning it off at night, but it may be safer and more efficient to make your perpetual broth in the slow cooker.
This is a good idea if you’re sick and are trying to get a constant supply of hot broth to sip on without a lot of work. Put your chicken bones in the slow cooker along with any herbs or seasonings you like, cover with water and cook for 12 hours. Then start dipping out a cup or two of broth at a time, refilling it with water each time. Use the broth for 3 to 6 days, then remove everything from the slow cooker, clean it and start over.
Pour some of the finished bone broth into a smaller pot, add the shredded chicken along with some rice or noodles and leftover veggies to make some soup. Or just drink the broth. It’s delicious.
What Bones Can You Use To Make Bone Broth
You’ve heard about bone broth, but you may be wondering what type of bones you can use to make a batch of broth. Bone broth can be made from just about any type of bone, but for best result, make sure you include some larger bones containing marrow and some knuckles and/or feet (chicken) to get plenty of collagen. Let’s look at some of the different types of bones you can use and where to find them.
Here’s something easy. Chicken bones are the perfect “gateway” bones to make your first batch of bone broth. Go buy a nice organic chicken. Roast it and enjoy the meat for dinner. Toss everything else into a large stock pot, cover with water and simmer at least 12 hours.
If you’re in a rush, you can even pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and use the bones when you’re done to make broth. It’s a great way to make sure you’re using up every little bit of the bird and you and up with some tasty broth.
If you have a farmer in your area that raises chickens for meat or eggs, ask what they do with the bones. You may just find a source of chicken bones free of charge. You can make broth from raw bones, but the flavor will be better if you roast them in the oven first.
Turkey works just as well as chicken. You may just want a larger pot. Before you toss that turkey carcass leftover from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, make a big batch of broth. Bone broth freezes really well. Make a big batch and run the broth through a strainer. Store it in containers and freeze until you’re ready to use it.
Bones can be boiled several times to make more batches of broth. Make one batch to freeze and then another one to use right away. Use less water the second time around to still get a flavorful broth.
Beef and Pork Bones
Both beef and pork bones make for some amazing broth. They are a little bit harder to find though. Talk to the butcher at your local grocery store and ask him to save the bones for you. Sometimes you can even find inexpensive soup bones in the meat department.
Your local farmers market is another great place to source your bones. Talk to the farmers. Even if they don’t raise beef or pork themselves, they can get you in touch with someone who does.
Roast your bones before you make the broth for best results. Just spread them out on a baking dish and bake at 450 F for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow them to cool until they are comfortable and safe to handle. Put the bones in a large stock pot, add plenty of water and boil for at least 12 hours. Use a combination of marrow bones and knuckle bones to get the best broth with the most health benefits.
Bison and Wild Game Bones
If you’re lucky enough to have a hunter in the family, ask him to save the bones for you. Or call up your local game processing business and ask about buying bones from deer. You treat them just like pork or beef bones.
The same goes for bison bones. If you have a bison farm in the area, it is worth making a call. While you’re there, pick up some ground bison too for some of the tastiest burgers you’ve ever had.
How To Use Bone Broth In Cooking
You’ve made a big batch of bone broth and end up with more than you can possibly drink before it goes bad. Freeze what you can’t use right away and thaw it down the road to use in your everyday cooking. Store your broth in glass jars or plastic containers and store them in the fridge or freezer. Thaw them as you need a big batch to make a pot of soup.
Another option is to freeze the finished broth in ice cube trays. Once they are frozen solid, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. Pop some of the frozen broth cubes into the pan / pot whenever you’re cooking veggies for a little extra boost of flavor and nutrition.
Aside from drinking fresh bone broth by the cup, you can use it anywhere you would use chicken broth or vegetable stock. The obvious first choice is of course as a base for soups and stews. The bone broth will add a lot of extra flavor and nutrition to all your favorite soups. Instead of adding water, or water along with a couple of bouillon cubes, use your bone broth. The broth gives all your soups and stews that yummy homemade flavor. Even something you throw together quickly will taste like you’ve cooked it for hours on the back of the stove.
But don’t just stop there. Try boiling your rice in beef broth instead of plain water for a tasty side dish. Not only will it taste much better, you’re also adding a lot of extra nutrition. You can do the same with pasta. Boil your noodles in the broth, then serve the broth in bowls before the meal.
Speaking of meals, we like to enjoy a cup of bone broth at meal time. In addition to adding lot of minerals and other good nutrients, it fills us up faster and keeps us from over eating.
If you’re making mashed potatoes, add a couple of splashes of broth to thin them out as needed. Much tastier than using water and better for you than adding more milk. Or go all out and make a batch of potato soup instead of mashed potatoes.
If you’re cooking a big pot of dry beans, replace some of the water with bone broth. You’ll get a lot of great flavor without having to add a ham bone or bacon. Give it a try the next time you put on a pot of pinto beans.
Storing and Freezing Bone Broth
Do you remember that first little batch of bone broth you made? Chances are that it was gone before it had time to cool all the way down. Since then you’ve invested in a much larger stock pot and you’re buying soup and knuckle bones by the pounds. The end result is a lot more broth then you can use up right away. Making big batches is a lot easier and more efficient. Now let’s find out how to store everything you can’t use up right away.
Storing Bone Broth In The Fridge
Allow your bone broth to cool completely after you’ve finished boiling it. Anything you haven’t used up by this point should be strained into clean jars and stored in the fridge for up to a week.
You can use the broth straight from the fridge in your favorite soups or stews. If you want a cup to drink, pour some in a small pot and warm over the stove. Add a few herbs and spices to taste. This will come in particularly handy after the broth has set for a few day and doesn’t taste quite as good as the first day.
Freezing Bone Broth For Long Term Storage
If you have more broth than you can use over the course of a few days, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and freeze the majority of it. Once your pot of broth and bones has cooled enough to be safe to handle, strain the liquid into a large bowl or pitcher.
Depending on how you plan to use the broth later on, you can either freeze it in glass jars or plastic containers, or pour it into ice cube trays for smaller portions of broths that you can add to veggies as you cook them, think out mashed potatoes etc. Or use a combination of both.
Get your freezer containers ready and stir up your broth to make sure all the nutrients are equally distributed. Pour the broth in the freezer containers and allow them to stay on the counter until they have cooled down to room temperature.
Label your containers with the contents and today’s date and move them to the freezer. When using ice cube trays, set them in the freezer for a few hours or until the broth is frozen solid, then pop them out and transfer them to a freezer bag. Label the bag and put it back in the freezer. You can grab individual bone broth cubes as you need them.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar In Bone Broth
Almost every single website and recipe for making bone broth mentions the use of apple cider vinegar. And for good reason.
Vinegar and apple cider vinegar in particular are a great addition to your broth and will add to the health and nutritional benefits you get from consuming this delicious hot liquid.
Let’s take a look at exactly what you get but adding a gulp of vinegar to your stock pot.
Get More Minerals From Your Broth
The main reason to add vinegar to your broth is to get more of the minerals and trace elements out of the bones. The acidity of the vinegar helps dissolve minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium from the bones and into the broth itself.
One of the big health benefits of broth comes from the fact that it is so dense in minerals and nutrients we are lacking in our modern diet. So do yourself a favor and add a big splash of vinegar to the pot. It doesn’t have to be Apple Cider Vinegar. Even plain white will do in a pinch.
It’s A Preservative
The second reason to add vinegar is because it acts as a preservative. The acidic nature of any type of vinegar will kill bacteria and make sure your finished broth is still safe to consume after a few days. This works similar to the way pickling preserves vegetables and fish.
Don’t rely on just the vinegar alone though. There isn’t enough to kill everything (which we don’t want anyway). Store your broth in the fridge after it has cooled or freeze it for long term storage.
Why Apple Cider Vinegar?
If any type of vinegar will work to leach out minerals and act as a preservative, why do so many recipes call for apple cider vinegar?
ACV is the vinegar of choice in health food circles because of its added benefits to digestion. Good, organic, unpasteurized ACV is full of gut healthy bacteria. It also includes active yeast and essential amino acids.
Adding this type of vinegar to your broth gives it that extra nutritional boost you just won’t get from plain white vinegar.
Where to Get Apple Cider Vinegar
You can find quality apple cider vinegar at your local health food store and even in the health food section of your local grocery store. A popular brand is Braggs. If you can’t find it locally, Amazon is a great source of Bragg’s products including their ACV.
Bone Broth Recipe
- Chicken or Turkey Bones
- Beef Bones *
- Pork Bones
- Bison Bones *
- Wild Game Bones *
- Apple Cider Vinegar
* Roast these bones at 450F for 20 minutes before using in the broth for the best flavor.
- Herbs and Spices
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
4 pounds of bones
Large splash of apple cider vinegar
Put your bones in a large pot. Fill it with water and add the vinegar. Cook for 12 to 72 hours. Allow the mixture to cool and strain into clean containers for storage.
- Beef, Pork, Bison or Wild Game: 48 to 72 Hours.
- Chicken or Poultry: 12 to 24 Hours
- Fish: 8 Hours
Storing Bone Broth
- Refrigerated for up to a week.
- Freezer for up to a year.
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