Broth (also call stock) is a mineral-rich infusion made by boiling bones along with vegetables, herbs and spices. Every five-star restaurant has a stock pot of broth simmering on the back burner, ready to use in their best recipes. It has been a mainstay of human diets for centuries because it is such an inexpensive and nutrient dense food.
Why bone broth?
It is an excellent source of minerals and is known to boost the immune system (That’s why your mom gives you chicken soup when you’re sick, right?) It is anti-inflammatory and can improve digestion. It’s high in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus and, because it is also high in collagen, it helps support joints, hair, skin, and nails.
Now you can buy broth at the store, but why would you, when it is so easy to make, costs just pennies and your homemade will be far more flavorful and nutritious? You can make a quick broth by cooking it in a pressure cooker for an hour or two. But if you really want to extract the most flavor and nutrition from the bones, take your time and simmer it slowly for 2-3 days. A slow cooker or crock pot is perfect for this.
You can use any bones you want: the bones from your turkey or chicken meals, the bones from roasts or steaks or you can buy bones at the butcher shop. My butcher shop sells them as dog bones (with very little meat and usually the bones are larger) or
soup bones (with a bit of meat on them.)
Make a big batch and freeze it in smaller portion: 2-3 cups for most recipes or in ice cube trays for recipes where you just want to add little bit of flavor.
Ingredients for Basic Bone Broth
- 3-4 lbs of bones or one turkey or goose carcass, 2 chicken or duck carcasses
- 1⁄2 C apple cider vinegar. (The vinegar helps extract the minerals and nutrients from the bones.)
- Carrots, celery, onion. I usually add 2-3 carrots and celery and 1 onion, quartered. I will also add other vegetables that I might
have on hand: cauliflower or broccoli stems, parsnips, turnips, kohlrabi, etc. Coarse chop them into 1” pieces.
- Herbs. Use whatever herbs you like best: bay leaf, parsley and thyme are my favorites. 1-2 cloves of garlic is nice, but if you add much more you will have a very strong garlic flavor. I stay away from rosemary and tarragon as I find their flavor too strong for use in some recipes.
Put all ingredients into your stock pot or slow cooker and add water to cover everything. Let it sit for a half hour or so to allow the vinegar to start leaching the nutrients from the bones. Then turn the slow cooker to high to bring to a boil. After an hour or so, skim off any froth or foam that forms on the top. This can add an “off” flavor to the broth. Do this 2-3 times during the first 2-3 hours of cooking or until no more foam forms.
Simmer the broth for 2-3 days, adding water as needed, until you have a rich, gold-to-amber color. Remove bones and veggies by straining through a colander. If you want a fat-free broth, cool it in the fridge and remove the fat that congeals on the top when the broth is cold.
Reheat and strain the broth again, this time through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any remaining sediment. Freeze any broth that you will not use in the next few days.
Makes about one gallon broth.