How to Make Bone Broth: Nourishing Bone Broth Recipe for Rookies (3 Methods)
Scroll down if you just want to know how to make bone broth, but first is a little back story…
My friend, Jill, and her husband, David (pictured here), recently found out that his sister has lung cancer, and their world was rocked as you can imagine. I've been blessed for a couple of weeks now to watch these two real foodies jump into action, and do all they can (even though they're many states away) to help Leana battle this disease. Neither of them are the type to blindly follow mainstream advice, and they research everything in-depth. Jill has promised that they'll share more along the way, as far as what they've found can really make a difference, such as supplements, food, etc., because they know how many of you out there could be helped by this information, too! Thankfully Leana and her husband are open to alternative options, along with the radiation and upcoming chemo. They even went to a Naturopathic doctor recently, to learn more about how to support her body in every way possible in the coming months.
Soon Jill and David are packing up and heading out to help them as Leana begins chemo. Below is an email Jill sent to the family in the meantime on how to make bone broth. I've added a few of my own comments in italics.
So, everyone bear with me, because I can't help delving into the deep, nutrition-oriented recesses of my mind…
One of the things we learned when Hannah (their daughter) was on her allergy-healing diet protocol (which focused on gut health), is the value of something called “bone broth” for soothing and healing the gut lining. From all we've read, it sounds like chemo can be rough on the gut, and with the intense antibiotic therapy Leana's been on, this could be helpful right now for that, too. I just wanted to throw this out to everyone because, 1. I'm not there right now to make it, which is driving me crazy, and 2. It's really easy, so I wanted to share the how-to's, that way if anyone is inclined to do so, they could add it in with their meal preparations.
Bone broths are broths made from the bones–especially bones that have joints in them–from chicken, turkey, beef, and even pork or fish — I usually just make chicken and beef broth myself, unless it's after Thanksgiving. 🙂 You can make it with a whole chicken including the meat (or meaty beef soup bones, ribs, oxtails, or a combo), OR you can save your bones from chicken, turkey, and beef ribs/other bony cuts (or get bones from a butcher). The joints and connective tissues are loaded with collagen and gelatin, which, when dissolved in water, is extremely soothing to the intestinal tract, and actually helps to rebuild a damaged gut. Bone broths have a lot of great nutrition as well (like dissolved minerals from the bones and nutrients from marrow) that is very easily digested and absorbed.
Here's a link to a great article, including recipes on how to make bone broth (but I think my crock pot way is easier). Also, check out this book by Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel:
- Nourishing Bone Broth Recipe Method 1 (crock pot method with the meat):
Place a whole chicken, chicken parts, or meaty soup bones (with meat) in a slow cooker. Add a couple tablespoons of this apple cider vinegar (the acidity from the vinegar pulls minerals out of the bones and into the broth) and cover with cold filtered water. After it starts simmering, skim the gunk that forms off the top. (Sally Fallon says this gunk is from larger molecules – impurities, alkaloids, and large proteins called lectin, which could give the soup strange flavors.)
Add a teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste), some peppercorns if you want, and a cut up onion or two, a handful of smashed or chopped garlic cloves, one or two carrots and celery stalks (use organic celery though since it's on the “Dirty Dozen” list–the produce items with the most pesticide residue). The veggies are optional, but it adds flavor and some nutrition. The most essential parts, though, are the meat with the bones, vinegar, and water.
Turn the crock pot on low and let it do its thing for 12-24 hours — 24 is best, but I've found that if you debone the chicken/soup bones by 12 hours or sooner and set the meat aside/refrigerate for later, returning the bones, skin, and connective tissues to the pot, that the meat itself will have a better texture and flavor–use the meat for soups, stews, enchiladas/taco salads, meat salads, etc. Beef bones can actually go longer than 24 hours–up to 3 days. If you want, you can add a bunch of fresh parsley or fresh carrot tops (related to and tastes just like parsley) during the last 10 minutes, for extra flavor and minerals. I rarely remember though.
By the way, after it starts simmering, you could skim the gunk that forms off the top. (Sally Fallon says this gunk is from larger molecules – impurities, alkaloids, and large proteins called lectin, which could give the soup strange flavors.)
Strain the bones from the broth and there you have it! You can use the broth in soups, sauces, and other recipes, or simply drink it. (If seasoned well this is a nice hot drink on a cold afternoon, especially when you MIGHT have already had enough coffee for the day… But the KEY to making it taste dreamy at this last stage is in your seasonings! Add sea salt, pepper, garlic and/or onion powder, fresh garlic after sautéing it in butter, fresh herbs, just play with it and see what you like! Still doesn't taste good? Add more salt.) Depending on how chicken is raised, you may end up with a lot of fat on the top of the broth–which is kind of gross when it's a lot–if that happens, just skim most of it off (easiest to do once it's cool). Pastured chickens will have the least fat.
- Nourishing Bone Broth Recipe Method 2 (crock pot method with just bones): Using just bones/or the carcass from chicken/turkey with the meat removed (the leftover part that normally gets thrown out)…
Whenever you eat meat/chicken with bones, save the bones in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When you have a bag full or almost full, make broth. Of course if it's an entire chicken carcass, that's plenty for a pot of broth.
Put the bones in the crock pot, along with a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and enough cold, filtered water to cover. Add salt/pepper, and veggies if desired. (Kelly here: I throw veggie scraps in a baggie into the freezer whenever I'm chopping onions, garlic, celery or carrots, then when I'm making broth, I toss some of this into the pot.) Turn it on low and let ‘er rip for 12-24 hours. Strain bones. Voila: instant broth. (If you're in a hurry, even after a couple hours you'll have some good broth, just be sure to save the bones and add more water to boil them again for more broth.)
- Nourishing Bone Broth Recipe Method 3 (using a big pot on the stove): Instead of a crock pot, use a soup pot and use the same basic instructions above, or follow the basic instructions at this link. Just simmer on low for a few hours. (Kelly again: I keep mine partially covered while simmering, but you will still need to watch it and add more water now and then. I've ruined a few batches by letting it boil down to nothing without realizing it, grrrrr…)
Click here for my favorite collagen to add to your broths, soups, sauces, etc. for a superfood boost!
A few notes:
* When Hannah was on the GAPS diet (not recommended for cancer patients, by the way), it was actually recommended to drink some bone broth with every meal to improve digestion. But as often as remembered is great, of course. (If you want to heal allergies, behavior issues, or other auto-immune disorders, Get the GAPS book here or even better is this entire GAPS beginners kit – it's no longer on sale, but it's still a great deal. This diet is for any type of healing! Also you may want to read: Gut Health 101: 6 Questions and Answers About A Strong Immune System and the GAPS Diet.)
* Bone broth freezes really well, too. (After cooling completely I use ziplock baggies labeled with the date so I use the oldest first.) If you freeze it in glass jars, though, just leave a large amount of head space, so that when it freezes and expands, it doesn't bump into the jar's shoulder and break. Refrigerate first, before freezing, and leave the lid loose until it's totally frozen. Here's an article on freezing liquids in glass jars without breakage.
* If it congeals when it cools, that is an awesome thing–it's an indication of the presence of lots of gelatin. If it doesn't congeal, that's fine–it still contains gelatin (and much better quality than Jello!), as well as all the other good stuff. Also, you may notice that chicken bones will become kind of soft and some of them may even fall apart in places (like the ends)–that's because the minerals that were in the bones are now in the broth. (Right where we want them!)
(Want more of the beneficial pastured gelatin though? Use this brand, just sprinkle it into your broth!)
* If you use beef soup bones, the flavor with be much improved if you actually brown the bones first in the oven. Just put them in there on 350* until they brown up–about 30 minutes to an hour. Then add them to your crock pot. (I rarely remember to do this.)
* Bone broth is not called “Jewish penicillin” for nothing. Really, this stuff is extremely soothing and nourishing when TLC is in order. It also happens to have large amounts of amino acids that we typically don't get a lot of in modern diets because it is no longer common to “use the whole animal” in cooking. So it fills a nutritional gap as well.
* Bone broth makes a great cooking liquid. For example, quinoa or rice tastes MUCH better cooked in broth than it does cooked in water. Plus the broth enhances the digestibility of anything its eaten with. (Much like healthy fats!)
* If you make fish broth, choose a mild-tasting, non-oily variety of fish, and try to include the heads if possible, because the thyroid gland is in the head, and it will infuse the broth with lots of natural iodine. Also, fish broths cook more quickly–if you decide to make it, maybe see the attached info/recipe link above.
*Often you can get 2, and sometimes even 3 runs of broth from your bones, especially if your first run was only 2-4 hours.
It's me again (Kelly) – who wouldn't want these two in your corner if it was YOU diagnosed with cancer? Thanks David & Jill!
More links to look over:
- Part 1: Health Benefits of Bone Broth / Homemade Stock (Beef, Chicken, Turkey, etc.) – my original post on why to make it.
- Part 2: How to Make Delicious and Nutritious Homemade Stock / Bone Broth – my original post on how to make it.
- Just don't think you'll make it yourself? You can also order real homemade bone broth online: Organic free-range & grass-fed bone broth. (I know the guys who make this stuff and they're truly real foodies, I see them at the WAPF conference every year.)
- Also, if you just want to add more beneficial gelatin to your stock (or if you want to use it to make homemade jello!), you can also get this gelatin from pastured animals. I also use it when my 2nd or 3rd run or so of stock isn't as gelatinous as the first. Or to add extra nutrients to any soup, sauce or stew.
If you have anything to share about how to best support your loved ones (food or supplements or whatever!) when battling cancer, please comment below, and I'll add it to my upcoming post along with Jill and David's info.