I grew up in a family where “waste not, want not” was a way of life. My mom, Mary, would save leftover bones and scraps of meat and vegetables which would become the base for her bone broth recipe. I learned how to make bone broth from mom, who taught each of us nine kids that frugality and creativity could produce healthy, tasty meals. Soup was a staple in our home, and often made from a simple bone broth. When we were sick, bone broth is what we sipped. Learning how to make bone broth is easy and bone broth benefits are amazing and long lasting.
So next time you have a leftover poultry carcass or bones from a roast, don’t relegate them to the trash. Use them in a bone broth recipe. Raw or cooked meaty bones make a nourishing and low-calorie bone broth. Bone broth is immensely popular and trendy. Here’s why.
Bone Broth Benefits
Bones are a good example of not judging a book by its cover. Tucked deep inside are lots of nutrients like gut-healing proteins, healthy fats, and easy to assimilate vitamins and minerals. All this goodness cooks right in the broth. Bones contain collagen, which makes the stock gelatinous and looks like Jello-O. Collagen is great for joint, skin and digestive health.
When someone in the family gets sick, like my mother before me, I feed them bone broth. Bone broth benefits for someone under the weather are numerous. For lagging appetites, bone broth is easily digested and will boost the immune system. It’s powerful medicine for colds and flu. Plus liquids are easier to digest than solids, so you get a quick energy boost from bone broth.
My mom used to add her “secret ingredient” to her bone broth recipe: a splash of organic cider vinegar. No, the broth didn’t taste like vinegar, but my mom knew vinegar would pull calcium and other minerals from the bones into the broth.
And while we’re on the subject of vinegar, I want to share some precious memories. When our children were little, our apple orchard blessed us with an abundance of apples each year. I made homemade vinegar recipes with the apple peelings. The vinegar was not only added to the bone broth but was the base for home-canned icicle pickles, old fashioned mustard pickles and bread & butter pickles.
This summer I took my neighbor, Erin, to my favorite old crab apple tree. We picked loads of crab apples and had so much fun reviving old crab apple recipes, including making applesauce, jellies and homemade apple cider vinegar for bone broth.
Bone Broth vs. Stock — What’s the Difference?
Both use aromatics, vegetables and meaty bones and/or chunks of meat. Stock is usually simmered for several hours, bone broth for a much longer time to allow the bones to give up all their nutrients. Bone broth cooking time varies and is subjective, anywhere from six to 12 hours or more, depending upon the ingredients.
Kinds of Bones
If using raw bones, look for bones from animals that are antibiotic free and raised humanely.
Leftover cooked bones are excellent, too. No need to brown them in the oven. These broths tend to be lighter in color than those made from raw bones.
Whole carcasses, wings, feet, necks, backs, tails, etc. all make a nice bone broth. My favorites are broth made from poultry and beef.
Bone Broth Recipe from Raw Meaty Bones
Get a more flavorful broth by roasting bones before cooking. The onion skin provides nutrients and color. After roasting, I start my bone broth on the stove top and then I transfer it to a crockpot/slow cooker. You could simmer it for the whole time on the stovetop, adding water as necessary.
Use the ingredient list as a guide – a little more or less of any ingredient is ok.
- Poultry: five to six pounds raw backs, wings or necks or a combo
- Beef: five to six pounds raw meaty beef bones
- Two large yellow onions, skin left on and cut into large chunks
- Herbs and vegetable scraps (see instructions below)
Instructions: Roast Bones First
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Lay bones in a single layer on a sprayed baking sheet. Scatter onion on top. Pour a little water in the bottom and let roast until brown, about one hour or so for poultry and about 30-40 minutes for beef.
- Put bones and onion in a very large pot. Scrape up brown bits from bottom of the baking sheet and add to pot.
- Add vegetables and herbs: two ribs celery and unpeeled carrots, parsley sprigs, two bay leaves and a teaspoon or so of peppercorns. Sometimes I’ll add a half head of garlic, cut down the middle with peel left on.
- Pour water over to cover by two inches. Add 1/3 cup organic cider vinegar.
- Bring slowly to a boil, and remove foam as it forms.
- Transfer to large crockpot, and cook on low 10-12 hours or so.
- Strain, cool quickly and refrigerate. Fat will congeal on top.
- Remove congealed fat, bring to a simmer, strain again (a coffee filter strains really well) and pour into containers, cooling quickly before refrigerating/freezing.
Store in refrigerator up to two weeks; in freezer up to three months.
Bone Broth Recipe From Cooked Meaty Bones
I don’t have a specific recipe but it’s easy to do. Since the meat usually has some seasoning already in it, I go a bit lighter on the aromatics and vegetables. This takes less time to cook than broth made with raw bones.
- Place whatever bones you have in a pot and add sprigs of parsley, a bay leaf, a few peppercorns, a rib of celery, cut up, and an unpeeled carrot cut up. If you like, add several large cloves of garlic, unpeeled.
- Pour water over to cover by two inches. Pour in several splashes of organic apple cider vinegar.
- Bring slowly to a boil and remove foam as it forms.
- Transfer to crock pot and cook on low six to eight hours.
- Follow instructions above for straining and storing.
Bone Broth Uses
- Nice base for soups and stews (Check out my abouteating.com site for my 20-minute vegetable soup)
- Gravy base
- Make aspic with the addition of unflavored gelatin
- Use in place of water when cooking legumes and grains
Have you made bone broth? Do you have a favorite bone broth recipe? If so, do you have any tips to share?