I won’t go too much into WHY you should consume bone broth, because it’s real science-y . But you might be interested to know that many Hollywood stars claim bone broth as their secret beauty and anti-aging treatment. That’s because bone broth is full of glyciene, an amino acid that is important for healing. It also contains collagen—the ingredient present in all of the expensive beauty treatments you find in stores. Whether it’s a gaping wound, a virus that’s affecting your immune system, or a damaged gut barrier, the age-old remedy for healing and vitality is some good ol’ chicken soup.
Glyciene also helps with digestion, detoxification, regulation of blood sugar levels, muscle repair and growth, mental alertness, mood and stress reduction. Bone broth is the easiest way to increase your glyciene intake, which is why I drink a cup a day!
When my doctor first suggested this I thought it was disgusting, but once I tried it and got used to the idea, bone broth replaced my morning cup of coffee as my go-to pick me up. Bone broth is also rich in numerous vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which are essential for bone health.
Step 1: Gather your bones! We almost always buy meat on the bones (because it’s healthier, cheaper, and you can repurpose the bones for bone broth!), and then after cooking we stash them in the freezer until we are ready to make a batch of broth. Remember that chicken you roasted? Pull out the carcass! You can use any kind of bones you like, but we usually use chicken or turkey. Technically you can use uncooked poultry bones, but we just cook them with the meat on to save a step. If you use bones from beef or another large boned animal, it is best to roast them before making broth.
Optional: If you like, you can also store vegetable scraps in the freezer to add in to your stock. I didn’t do this for a long time, but started a few months ago as a way to produce less kitchen waste and add more flavor to the broth. I will also throw in the chicken or turkey neck if it is available. This small bit of meat that wouldn’t normally be consumed adds great flavor.
Step 2: Put bones in slow cooker. Cover with water and add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (this helps extract the minerals from the bones).
Step 3: Turn slow cooker to low and let simmer (sometimes we have to alternate between the low and warm settings because our slow cooker runs pretty hot. You don’t want it to boil). After an hour or so, skim off any foam that has risen to the top. This step is not essential, but the foam can give it a funky flavor. A conventionally raised animal will produce more foam than a pastured animal.
Step 4: After 24 hours, strain broth into a storage container. Return bones to slow cooker, and mash using potato masher (or pastry blender or whatever you can find).
Step 5: Refill the slow cooker with water, and simmer for another 24 hours. Strain the broth into storage containers and discard bone mash.
Why so long?
The low and slow technique for cooking bone broth does two things: The first 24 hours draws out the glyciene, which gives the “immune boost” that most chicken soup recipes are known for, and the second 24 hours really breaks down the bones and releases the minerals that are crucial for healing and restoring any deficiencies. I recommend combining the two broths, as the second batch definitely has a stronger taste of minerals. If you are using larger bones, you will probably need to simmer them for closer to 4 days. This is why we like to use the slow cooker—I don’t trust myself to have our gas stove on for that long!
Broth can be stored in the fridge for up to one week and in the freezer for 3-6 months. I recommend freezing in small batches.
Note: A good broth will gel once cooled (and will un-gel once reheated). Don’t be alarmed like I was when I threw away our entire first batch thinking something had gone terribly wrong. If you want to get it extra gel-ly you can add chicken feet, but I haven’t quite gone that far yet. Having said that, don’t be alarmed if your broth DOESN’T gel. It’s still good for you!
How to use Bone Broth
- Drink a cup a day! Avoid reheating in the microwave, instead filling a mug half way with broth and topping off with boiling water.
- Use for any recipe that calls for chicken stock.
- Make your grandma’s famous chicken noodle soup.
There are now a few commercially available options for proper bone broth (such as Pacific or Bone Broths), but they are quite expensive considering the same thing can be made from your table scraps and water.
Have you ever made bone broth? Thanksgiving is only a month away– Save your bones!
Important disclaimer: I have no medical training. Just lots of passion for real food! Please consult your own doctor and do your own research in support of my suggestions. It’s an important part of taking control of your health!