Bones may seem like a waste – something to throw right in the trash – but they’re actually an incredible untapped resource! By turning leftover meat and bones into broth, you’re using the whole animal and making a more delicious and nutritious product for a fraction of the cost. You can learn how to make healing bone broth at home by following this simple process.
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Before we get into the actual process, let’s first talk about terminology. I feel like the words stock, broth, and bone broth get thrown around a lot lately. Let’s examine the differences…
Stock is what you buy in boxes or cans at the store. It’s used as a base for soups. It’s usually fairly plain and made primarily from bones, vegetables, and possibly little bits of meat.
Broth, at least in the culinary world, would be the resulting, flavored base of your soup. You might boil meat and vegetables in it, but it’s basically stock with flair.
And that is why bone broth is a conundrum to me. It’s technically a stock because it’s made primarily from bones, but it’s often flavored with herbs, so maybe it does border on “broth”? Honestly, I feel that bone broth and stock are the very same thing. However, for the sake of this post, we’ll stick with calling it bone broth.
Benefits of Bone Broth
Another primary component of bone broth is that it’s boiled for a longer period of time than you might do for stock. This extracts extra nutrients and collagen from the bones that you wouldn’t get if you were, say, making stock from just turkey giblets. It also gives time to reduce the liquid, making it more nutrient-dense, and intensifying the flavor. In fact, if your broth becomes gelatinous when it cools, that’s a major win because it means there’s high amounts of gelatin or collagen.
Why is that a good thing? Because collagen can help reduce inflammation that can be present with conditions like arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. In general, it’s great for healing gut issues and improving nutrient absorption.
In fact, I know someone personally that has had great success reversing stomach issues related to inflammation. He replaced his morning coffee with hot bone broth and has had wonderful results! I even plan to get Jerry on the same path to help with some of his gut issues.
Bone broth is also good for the health of your hair and nails. Plus, it’s a great immune booster, so be sure to have some on hand the next time you feel a cold coming on.
Bone Broth Ingredients
You can start with any type of bones you have on hand, whether that’s a whole chicken, a leftover turkey carcass, or even pork and beef bones. Ideally, you’d start with raw bones and meat because it will result in a broth with higher nutritional value. However, you can also use previously cooked bones, like the leftovers from cooking a whole bird.
For our most recent batch of bone broth, I include both the raw neck and spine of our Thanksgiving turkey and added all the bones and meat bits leftover from carving. For our next batch, we currently have a bag in the freezer that has two carcasses from cornish game hens and leftover bones from wing night. Once we have enough, we’ll make another round of broth!
You can keep it very simple, just boiling the bones in water and calling it a day, but for added flavor, which I recommend if you’ll be drinking it straight, you can throw in onion, carrots, celery, and fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme. Plus, as always, a little salt and pepper to bring out the flavor.
The preparation is super easy. Break the bones down at the joints, so they fit as tightly as possible in your cooking container. Roughly chop the carrots, onion, celery, and herbs. Use them to fill the cracks between the bones.
There are two ways to approach cooking the bone broth. You can do it the traditional way, on the stovetop. We’ve done this before and it works, it just takes time. For a beef broth, you’d want to boil it at least 6-8 hours. To make chicken broth, it would be a good 4-6 hours. You can even make fish broth, boiling it 1-2 hours.
With our most recent batch, we used the Instant Pot and it made the process even easier! We filled the pot, set it for 120 minutes on high pressure. After a 10-minute rest, I released the pressure. It turned out fantastic and tasted like it been boiled on the stovetop all day.
Regardless of your cook method, the overall process is pretty much the same. Prepare the bones and ingredients, as noted above, put them in your pot, and fill with water until the ingredients are just barely covered. Cook for the appropriate amount of time and voila! Healthy homemade bone broth!
If you’re like us, you want to stretch things as far as possible. The good news is that you can typically get two rounds of broth out of the same ingredients! It’s true that the second round is less potent, but you’re still essentially making something out of nothing, so we’ll take it.
You can combine the two batches to make it all the same strength or keep a “strong” batch and a “weak” batch. This is especially helpful if you’re drinking bone broth regularly for its body healing properties. Sometimes the quantity is more important than it being the strongest broth ever made.
For this process, we put cheesecloth in a strainer and strained the first batch. Then put those same ingredients back in the cooking pot and covered it with water again. Add more herbs and a little salt and pepper and process again. It’s that simple!
Below are some general measurements to use as a guide, but really there’s nothing too specific to the process. I store our finished broth in pint jars in the freezer and gradually bring them out to defrost in the fridge. The broth will keep for a very long time this way. It can also be pressure canned to be made shelf-stable for long-term storage.
Anyways, there you have it! That’s how easy it is to make healing bone broth at home. It’s not only delicious but also good for your body. We hope you’ll give it a try!
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For Other Great Recipes, Check Out These Posts…
Homemade Bone Broth Recipe
- Enough bones to fill a large pot 3/4 of the way (these can be chicken, beef, pork, or fish)
- 1 large onion
- 2-3 celery stalks
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp each dried rosemary, sage, and thyme OR
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme
- Break the bones at the joints so they easily fit in your large pot. If previously frozen, they do not need to be defrosted.
- Roughly chop your onion, carrots, celery, and herbs
- Fill the pot with your bones
- Add the veggies and herbs to fill the cracks
- Fill with enough water to cover the bones
For Instant Pot
- Cook on high pressure for 120 minutes
- Let sit for 10 mins
- Release steam
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer
- Simmer time based on bones used:Beef: 6-8 hoursPoultry: 4-6 hoursFish: 1-2 hours
- Strain your broth through a cheesecloth-lined strainer
- Add used ingredients back to your pot
- Add another pinch of salt, pepper, and herbs
- Cover with water and cook one more time
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Just a side thought…
While we’re on the topic of gut health, might I also suggest switching up your bread routine? Homemade sourdough is a much healthier alternative to traditional white bread.
When compared to white bread, sourdough is lower in sugar and higher in protein. Also, because of the fermenting process, lactic acid is left behind when the bread is baked. Lactic acid makes nutrients more readily available, digestible, and absorbable. It’s a win all round!
Below is my video for making a very straight-forward sourdough loaf. It takes a few days to make, due to the long rise, but it’s totally worth it! Also, here’s my post on how to get your sourdough starter going!