Editor’s note: You may remember Anjuli from when she shared her major #pioneerskills and taught us how to make bread out of a beer can. This time she is back to teach us all How to Make Bone Broth. Bone broth is basically pure magic, and very welcomed this time of year. We are so excited to share with all of you just how you can make it at home.
How to Make Bone Broth:
Of all the magic elixirs I have come across, one of my favorites is bone broth. Easy to make and store; it provides all of those age-defying, joint-soothing, gut-building, immune-boosting amino acids and anti-inflammatory factors you may get from powdered collagen supplements. It is tasty on its own, as a base for your favorite soups and stews, and can richen up your go-to pasta sauce. I have a cup spiked with pepper every morning with breakfast and if I feel a cold coming on, I add a few extra spices like turmeric and ginger and have more throughout the day.
PHOTO: Chelsea Kyle
My personal recipe is relatively simple with only six ingredients because I prefer a neutral base flavor:
4-6 pounds beef bones – I prefer the knobby joints, like hips and knees, for their high gelatin and collagen content. I go with grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free bones from a local farm for about $3 a lb. Do not be deceived – Quality matters! As your goal is to extract minerals and amino acids from the bones, you want them to be as clean as possible; it is good to be picky here about your star ingredient.
2-4 pounds chicken parts – The skeleton of last night’s roast chicken will do. I also stock up on organic chicken backs when I find them in my local grocery. They’re relatively inexpensive and a require no preparation.
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar – This begins the process of breaking down the bone matrix and pulling out the minerals.
Salt – Start with about 2 tablespoons of salt in a 16-quart batch and season to taste later.
Pepper – I don’t measure this so much as give the contents of my pot a healthy dusting.
Water – Cold and filtered is preferable, but it is not a deal breaker to use tap.
If you want to use other ingredients, go for it! If I’m lucky enough to have a ham bone lying around, I love the rich flavor that adds. Onions, carrots, celery, and herbs are nice flavorful additions. This is one of those ‘no wrong answer’ cooking scenarios where individual tastes can and will vary.
PHOTOS: Paleo Hacks
I roast my beef bones on a foil-lined baking sheet at about 375 F until they look nice and toasty. How long will depend on how large your bones are, if they’re frozen, and personal preference. Roasting brings out the umami flavor and makes the finished broth more palatable on its own.
The second ‘prep’ step is to dump all other ingredients into your stock pot, fill with cold water and put it on the stove. Easy peasy!
Finally, bring your pot of goodness up to a boil and then simmer on low for 6-8 hours. If I’m feeling particularly lazy, I’ll leave it overnight. In the morning, I’ll add more water if the level has dropped too low, bring it back to a boil, and turn the heat off so that it can cool a bit. An ice bath is the best method of cooling to prevent any unwanted microbes from joining the party.
I usually only cool mine well enough that it won’t scald me, scoop out the bones, strain it through a fine kitchen strainer into a smaller pot, and put the whole shebang into the fridge to finish cooling.
Once cooled, there will be a thick white layer of fat on the top. This can be easily scooped off and discarded, or used for some other purpose – like making fried potatoes. You know you have a good batch if the cooled broth has the consistency of a jello shooter and can be scooped out in chunks. The texture is due to the gelatin and collagen that has been broken down and extracted during cooking.
PHOTO: Plating & Pairings
For storage, I keep a gallon in the fridge for daily use (lasts about a week) and divvy the rest up for the freezer. Due to how much I go through, I use a gallon or quart sized re-usable plastic containers. Large ice-cube trays are a good option for smaller, easily thawed, portions.
Other cooking methods:
This can also be made in a crockpot or instant pot.
For those who really want to use all of their hunting products, you can make a good bone broth out of anything with a skeleton. Obviously, the flavors will be different depending on what you’re starting with, but there is no reason not to try!
You can reuse bones if you wish. I recommend fresh poultry bones with each batch, but you will still get results from your larger beef (or deer or boar or pork) bones a second time around. The flavor will be a little different, less hearty, and there will be much less gelatin. Some people will boil their larger bones a third time however, I’ve never made it past third because I don’t enjoy the flavor at that point. It’s one thing if you’re trying to make it through a long cold winter in Alaska but since that’s not most of us, toss them and start fresh!
- 4-6 pounds beef bones (2 pounds to 1 gallon of water)
- 2-4 pounds chicken parts
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2-3 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
- 2-3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled
- bay leaves
- fresh thyme
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Place beef bones in a foil lined roasting pan and roast for 30-45 minutes or until browned as desired.
- To a 16 quart stock pot, add roasted beef bones and all other desired ingredients.
- Fill pot with cold water until about 2 inches below rim.
- Bring to a boil over med/high heat and then turn to low.
- Simmer on low heat for 6 hours or overnight.
- Remove from heat and place pot in an ice bath until cool enough to strain and pour into smaller containers for storage.
- Refrigerate or freeze, skimming off fat layer before use.