Bone Broth is a highly nutritious stock made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue. Using acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, breaks down the collagen and connective tissue. This leaves you with a tasty, nutritious liquid commonly used in soups and sauces.
Stock or broth begins with bones, some pieces of meat and fat, vegetables and good water.
Peasant societies still make broth. It is a necessity in cultures that do not use milk because only stock made from bones and dairy products provides calcium in a form that the body can easily assimilate.
Broth a necessity when meat is a luxury item, because gelatin in properly made broth helps the body use protein in an efficient way.
Some of the main nutrients in bone broth are:
- Amino Acids – glutamine, glycine, and proline
- Chondroitin Sulfate
- Minerals – calcium, magnesium, phosphorus
Bone broth can improve health by:
- Minerals in bone broth support the immune system
- Collagen heals the gut and can help conditions such as leaky gut, diarrhea, constipation & some food in-tolerances
- Chondroitin sulfate in bone broth helps arthritis and joints
- Collagen in bone broth can make you look younger & help you skin hair & nails
- Glycine in bone broth helps sleep & memory
- The minerals in bone broth support healthy bones
- Glycine in bone broth can boost calmness and mental clarity and is good for anxiety.
- Bone broth can regulate blood sugar levels
- Bone broth detoxifies the blood
Difference between broth, stock, & bone broth
Broth is typically made with meat and can contain a small amount of bones (think of the bones in a fresh whole chicken). Broth is typically simmered for a short period of time (45 minutes to 2 hours). It is very light in flavor, thin in texture and rich in protein.
Stock is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat (think of the meat that adheres to a beef neck bone). Often the bones are roasted before simmering them as this simple technique greatly improves the flavor. Beef stocks, for example, can present a faint acrid flavor if the bones aren’t first roasted. Stock is typically simmered for a moderate amount of time (3 to 4 hours). Stock is a good source of gelatin.
Bone Broth is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat adhering to the bones. As with stock, bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the bone broth. Bone broths are typically simmered for a very long period of time (often for 8 hours, and sometimes in excess of 24 hours), with the purpose being not only to produce gelatin from collagen-rich joints but also to release a small amount of trace minerals from bones. At the end of cooking, the bones should crumble when pressed lightly between your thumb and forefinger.
Ways to use bone broth
- Sip it in a mug
- Use in a stuffing/dressing,
- Use in a gravy
- Use in mashed potatoes
- Use in a marinade
- In a stew
- In braised meat recipe
- In sauteed vegetables
- Swap your coffee for a mug of bone broth
Why make it yourself from scratch: economical, store bough just doesn’t have the same nutrient value
Real bone broths need time to develop flavor. The longer you simmer bones, the more nutrients that leach out and thus, the more flavor.
Second, a good broth will contain good quality bones. The better the diet and treatment of animals, the healthier they are (duh!) and the more nutrients that leach out.
And finally, a good bone broth uses not just bones but a variety of other collagen-rich animal parts that impart valuable nutrients such as gelatin which, when a broth cools, gives it a jello-like consistency. Gelatin is rich in amino acids that play important roles in digestion, joint health, skin health, detoxification and even sleep and mental health.
If you can’t make it from scratch: Purchase from a local farm who makes bone broth from their animals (Bethlehem Farm)
Click here to learn more about Bone Broth
Chicken Bone Broth
- 2-3 roasted chicken carcasses (approx. 2 lbs. of bones); include any leftover skin or pan drippings
- 1 or 2 medium onions, unpeeled & quartered
- 1 head of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half crosswise
- 2 celery ribs, cut in 1 to 2 inch pieces
- 2 carrots, cut in 1 to 2 inch pieces
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 5 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 teaspoons peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (1 tablespoon per pound of bones)
- 2 to 2-1/2 quarts water (enough to immerse above ingredients)
Add all of the ingredients to a 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker. * Cook on low for 12 hours (or more). While still hot, use tongs or slotted spoon to remove large pieces from broth. Then pour through a wire mesh strainer to remove the remaining solid bits.
For a fat-free broth, use one of these methods for removing the fat:
METHOD 1: Pour broth into a large bowl or container, cover, and refrigerate overnight or until completely chilled. Scrape the hardened fat from the top and discard.
METHOD 2: While broth is still warm, pour it into a grease separator (available on Amazon and at cooking stores), that allows you to pour the fat-free broth from the bottom.
FREEZE IT. Broth can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. For extended storage, it should be frozen. It’s convenient to freeze it in 1 or 2 cup portions for easy use in recipes.
USES: This broth can be used in any soups, gravies, or any recipes calling for chicken broth. It also can be drunk as is for a healthy supplement to your diet.
NOTE: This is a salt-free broth. Add salt to taste, as desired.
*If your slow cooker is smaller, you can half the recipe using 1 chicken carcass and half of the remaining ingredients.
Beef Bone Broth
- 4 lbs beef bones
- 12 cups water
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 medium onion, roughly diced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks
- 3 bay leaves
- 3-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 t black peppercorns
- Preheat oven to 450 °F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bones on the baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Once the bones are cooked place bones in a large stockpot and cover with water. Add the vinegar and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Roughly chop the vegetables and add to the stockpot. Bring to a rolling boil and then lower to a simmer.
- For the first 2-3 hours, skim any foamy layer that develops on the top and discard.
- For beef bone broth, simmer for 48 hours, for chicken bone broth, simmer for 24 hours, for fish broth, simmer for 8 hours.
- Allow to cool slightly and strain. Transfer the broth to an airtight container and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight. This will allow the fat to rise to the top and solidify.
- Scrape the fat off the top with a spoon. This will leave you with a gelatinous bone broth when cold.
- Store in an airtight mason jar or freeze until ready to use. When ready to use, slowly warm the broth over a low heat to bring it back to a liquid consistency.