Bone broth is one of the most nourishing and nutritious real foods you can make – full of the vitamins and minerals from the bones of animals, it provides nourishment we seldom get in conventional diets. Here is a very easy, slow cooker version that anyone can make!
If you’re into real food, you’ve most likely heard of bone broth. It’s becoming a bit of a trend and was even mentioned by actress Shailene Woodley as her go-to healing drink! Although bone broth is finally getting it’s fifteen minutes of fame, there’s much more to this delicious liquid than new-found celebrity status. Before we dive into the recipe, let’s discuss the different types of broth and why you should be drinking it.
Made with meat and possibly a few bones, such as a roasting chicken. The broth is simmered for a short period of time, usually about one hour. The resulting liquid is thin and almost clear. Broth is great for soups but does not contain the high amount of nutrients that is found in bone broth. Broth can be purchased at most grocery stores.
Similar to bone broth as it is made with bones, but the resulting liquid is still not quite as rich in both flavor and consistency as bone broth. It will contain some gelatin depending on the bones used. It is simmered longer than broth, for about 3-4 hours. Stock can be purchased at most grocery stores.
Made with bones, although leaving some meat on the bones will help immensely with the flavor profile of the broth. Bones are roasted prior to making bone broth to help release both flavor and nutrients. You’ll be using your leftover bones for the recipe I’m sharing today, so they will already have been cooked or roasted in some manner. If you’re buying just bones, be sure to roast them first. Bone broth is typically simmered for 24 hours or longer so the bones should easily break apart. It is full of flavor and healing nutrients. Bone broth is not easily sourced at local grocery stores, although this brand is popping up at natural food stores and is my go-to if I happen to be out of homemade bone broth.
What’s So Special About Bone Broth?
Bone broth is simmered for a very long time. This slow cooking process allows the liquid to permeate the bones, joints and cartilage. Bone broth contains an acidic ingredient such as Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon juice which helps pull the nutrients from the bones. The bones will break down in the liquid, releasing proline and glycine. These amino acids are key players in very important functions of the body. Joint stiffness, ligament pain, gut dysbiosis, digestive issues and skin imperfections are just a few of the ailments that a diet rich in proline and glycine can support. A properly prepared bone broth will look a bit like Jello. If your broth doesn’t gel, that’s okay! The final product will still be rich in nutrients and delicious! However, the more joints and cartilage in the bones, the more gelatinous the final broth will be. Legs, wings, necks and feet are you’re best bet at a gelatinous broth. This gelatin is also the magical substance that can help support our bodies ability to heal itself and fight off illnesses such as the common cold. Read about the science behind bone broth here.
How to Make Your Own at Home
Convinced? Ready to make your own bone broth? Let’s get started.
Fill your crock pot with 1-2 pounds of bones. Joints (leg bones, wings, feet, etc.) will yield the most gelatin in your broth but any bones will do. I encourage you to source bones from local, pasture raised animals. Check out Eat Wild to find a sustainable farmer near you. Most farmers will include the bones if you order meat in bulk or you can purchase them rather inexpensively. I’ve even seen bones at my local real food grocer. I keep a gallon zip top bag in my freezer and save all of the bones from each meal. For example, if we have chicken thighs for dinner, I put all the bones in the zip top bag. If I roast a chicken, I throw the entire carcass into the freezer bag. Once the bag is almost full I make a batch of bone broth. We do the same for pork and beef bones. Nothing is wasted!
Put the bones in your crock pot and toss in the remaining ingredients.
I don’t do exact measurements. I fill up the crock pot with bones add the ingredients (listed below) and top off with filtered water. I add water to the very top of the crock pot and then lock on the lid. I love this particular crock pot because the lid locks down, so the broth doesn’t lose any of the liquid to evaporation. Seriously y’all, it’s a game changer! If your crock pot doesn’t have a locking or tight fitting lid then you can wrap the top in aluminum foil and put the lid on top. Just be sure to stand back when you peel back the foil as hot steam will escape. Hey, no one said real food cooking was without risks! If you do find that the water is evaporating, just add it back in before canning. This will prevent the final product from being too concentrated.
How Do You Know When It’s Done?
Turn your crock pot on low and let it simmer away for at least 24 hours. I usually get caught up doing other tasks or taking care of my son and forget about the broth. This broth went for about 2 days! That is totally okay. You can see the dark color of the broth and the veggies. You may carefully pick up one of the bones and try to break it – it should crumble rather easily.
Get your gear in order before you being canning the broth. I like to use a wide mouth canning funnel with a metal strainer. Ladle your broth through the strainer and fill the jars. Be sure to leave about 1/2″ – 3/4″ of headspace in the jar to allow for expansion during freezing. Believe me, I’ve learned the hard way!
You’ll end up with a bowl full of mushy bones and flavorless veggies. Yummy, right? Some folks use this to make a second batch of broth. Although the flavor and nutrients will be considerably less, it can be a great way to stretch the ingredients (and your budget) as far as possible. You can make a second batch, discard the ingredients, compost them or share the love with your backyard chickens (chickens are not vegetarians) or your dogs. My dog loves munching on the soft bones.
This batch of broth yielded 3 quarts and 1 pint.
Let the jars cool. You may find that a layer of fat rises to the top. You can leave it (fat=flavor) or skim it off before storing. Store in the refrigerator (use within 2 weeks) or freeze. The jars can be thawed in a sink of water or in the refrigerator. Be sure to label them before you store them away. I like to use a dry erase marker and mark them with the broth (C=chicken, P=pork, B=Beef) and the month (3=March).
This wonderful broth is now ready for you to use in any recipe that calls for broth or stock. I also like to use it in place of water for preparing certain foods like white rice. Nothing beats the rich flavor. Add a cup of bone broth to your daily regiment and enjoy the health boosting properties. When you or a family member is feeling crummy or sick, sip broth several times a day. Boost your cup of broth by adding a few extra boosters such as a healthy fat, herbs, ginger, lemongrass, etc. Try bone broth with anti-inflammatory turmeric and grass fed butter in a blender for a creamy drink. I know it sounds strange but give it a try! Your body will thank you for it.
Do you love bone broth? Make your own? Tell us in the comments below!
- Add bones to a large slow cooker.
- Add other ingredients.
- Top off with filtered water
- Simmer on low for 24-72 hours
- Strain into mason jars