It’s that time of year again! Are you ready to make your own bone broth but don’t know where to start? I’m going to share my SIMPLE method, tell you where to source your bones, and give you some ideas on how to incorporate it into more dishes.
So what’s with the whole bone broth craze anyway? It’s one of those “what’s old is new again” things. People used to throw leftover bones in a pot and make a delicious, flavorful stock. Then along came processed food, which stripped the good stuff out (or recreated the flavor profile altogether in a chemists’ lab), giving it a shelf-stable, eternal life. Convenient? Maybe. Health-promoting? Unfortunately no.
Bone broth is easy to digest and promotes healing in the body. There’s a reason people turn to chicken soup when they are sick! Bone broth contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and glucosamine (yep, the same thing sold as supplements to reduce inflammation and joint pain). Most notoriously, bone broth is rich in collagen and gelatin, which may promote healthy skin. Even more importantly, it helps restore health to the gut lining (bye-bye leaky gut). It also supports healthy gut bacteria. This aids in digestion AND supports the immune system.
So what are we waiting for? First things first, you need to start with good quality bones. Local, free-range or pasture-raised animals are going to have the best, most nutritious bones. You can usually find these at your local farmers market or Whole Foods. For chicken bone broth, you will usually find something like “chicken backs,” and if you are brave, pick up some chicken feet too – these will add a big boost of gelatin to your broth. For beef bone broth, you will want marrow bones.
I only buy bones for beef bone broth. For chicken bone broth, I just accumulate bones from meals in a zip lock bag in the freezer until I have enough to make my stock. If you are using local meats, you will rarely get a boneless cut. This is good! Your bone broth with be virtually FREE because you are using the parts one would typically throw in the trash. Win!
The other ingredients I use in my bone broth are onions, garlic, and celery. You could chop these ingredients and add them to your stock (keep the skin and leaves on!), or you could collect kitchen scraps over time, add them to that zip lock freezer bag, and again, it’s basically free! I save the outer layer of my onion peels, the tiny garlic cloves that are annoying to chop, and the ends of celery stalks.
Once I have filled a gallon sized zip lock bag to capacity with about 80% bones and 20% vegetable scraps, I know it’s time to make bone broth. And for beef broth, you’ll want 2-3 large marrow bones. I don’t add salt to my broth because I like to be able to control the amount of salt when I use it.
- Chicken bones or beef marrow bones (about 2 lbs or slightly less than 1 large ziplock bag’s worth)
- 1 small onion (or scraps)
- 3 celery stalks (or scraps)
- 3 garlic cloves (or scraps)
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
Fill a crock pot with bones and vegetables. Cover with filtered water. Add apple cider vinegar. Cover and cook on low.
Chicken bone broth: Cook for 24 hours
Beef bone broth: Cook for 48 hours
Strain liquid and cool before dividing into containers. I suggest freezing it in 2- and 4-cup quantities.
Here are some great ways to incorporate bone broth into your daily cooking:
- Sip it warm from a mug. Since there isn’t any added salt in the recipe, add a pinch of salt to your mug before drinking. It is also tasty with a squeeze of lemon.
- Cook your grains in it. Replace water with bone broth when cooking things like rice and quinoa.
- Use it as a base in soups, stews, and chili.
- Saute with it instead of oil.
- Make mashed potatoes with it. Replace milk with bone broth. It’s also delicious with mashed sweet potatoes.
What are some of your favorite ways to use bone broth that I haven’t thought of?