Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals.
This highly nutritious stock is commonly used in soups, sauces, and gravies. It has also recently gained popularity as a health drink. Bone broth dates back to prehistoric times, when hunter-gatherers turned otherwise inedible animal parts like bones, hooves, and knuckles into a broth they could drink.
You can make bone broth using bones from just about any animal — pork, beef, veal, turkey, lamb, bison, buffalo, venison, chicken, or fish. Marrow and connective tissues like feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards, or fins can also be used. Grateful Graze pasture raised chicken frames are an excellent and convenient way to make bone broth.
Well made stock is a powerhouse for aiding digestion, delivering minerals in an easily absorbed electrolytic form, and for healing damaged joints as well as the gut lining. When cooked in a moist environment over low heat, the protein structure of the bones and cartilage break down into an entirely different substance: gelatin.
Gelatin is a hydrophilic protein; that is, it attracts water--including the fluids in digestive juices. Consuming bone broth with meals eases digestion by drawing more digestive fluids into the digestive tract. Bone broth has long been recognized as a home remedy for inflamed, arthritic joints due to the collagen it supplies. It also provides easily assimilated calcium for our bones.
Bone broths are remarkably inexpensive to make. Many times, you can prepare a decent broth for the cost of the energy used to heat your pot alone. By using the bones from leftover roast chicken and vegetable scraps you have saved, you can make a gallon of stock for pennies. Get to know your butcher or local farmer and you can often acquire beef, chicken or lamb bones for free.
You will need:
- The best quality bones that you can find from animals out on a pasture: grass-fed cows and pastured chickens.
- 4 quarts or more of water-filtered or spring
- Apple cider vinegar or other mild vinegar
- A Trinity of vegetables: celery, carrots, and onions homegrown, organic or bio-dynamic
- A 6-10 qt. stainless steel stockpot w lid
- Sheet pan w parchment paper
- A timer
- Liquid measure, measuring spoons, soup ladle
- A bunch of fresh parsley
To make a batch of bone broth, you may choose to use one 3–4-pound layer or stewing hen, or 3-4 pounds of necks, back or wings or a combination of them, or 2 chicken carcasses. You may also use chicken feet or heads, which add rich gelatin. For my bone broth, I used a combination of necks and backs.
- Roast the chicken or carcass or necks, back and/or wings for color and to intensify the flavor. Place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan and roast in the middle of the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until browned. Roasting the chicken bones really adds to the flavor!!!
- When the chicken or bones are browned, place in the stockpot with 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is soaking in the vinegar and water, coarsely chop 3 ribs of celery, 2 carrots, and one onion. If the vegetables are organic, you need not peel them before chopping. Be sure they are washed first
- When the timer goes off, add the chopped vegetables to the stockpot.
- Place the stockpot on the stove on high heat and bring the pot to a boil.
- Skim the scum from the top of the water and discard.
- Place the pot on low heat, hot enough for movement in the broth but low enough so that the top of the broth is fairly still. (This is not a rolling boil: it is somewhat of a low simmer). IMPORTANT: you need enough heat and movement to draw the minerals and gelatin out of the bones.
- Cook uncovered for 6-24 hours. NOTE: this can be cumulative time. Cumulative time is periods of time you add up to reach the total desired time. You may wish to turn off the pot when you leave the house or go to sleep. Simply leave the pot on the stove ad bring it to a boil again when you turn it back on. Bring it to a boil, skim any scum and discard. Then lower the heat (see 7) and continue to cook.
- Ten minutes before finish time, add a bunch of fresh parsley to the pot. Parsley will add valuable minerals to your broth! I added salt to taste throughout while simmering.
To finish the chicken bone broth:
- Pour through a strainer or a sieve into a glass or ceramic bowl or pan. Allow to cool on the counter until it reaches room temperature. NOTE: the larger the bowl or pan, the faster the cool down. Discard bones and vegetables.
- Place in the refrigerator to cool completely. After a few hours, you should have a gelatinous bone broth with a large layer of chicken fat on the top. Skim off the fat and use it for cooking and sauteing.
- Place the gelatinous broth in containers to freeze, leaving an inch or more of space on the top.
- Bone broth may be frozen for up to 6 months or refrigerated for 5-7 days. (After 5-7 days in the refrigerator, bring to a boil again, and you may store for another few days.)
- When using bone broth for any recipe always BRING TO A BOIL AND SKIM AND DISCARD THE SCUM.
Recipe provided by Lori Sullivan from the cookbook With Love, from Grandmother's Kitchen. Information provided by Jenna Rupprecht
NutritionWorks Holistic Health, Bettendorf, IA