I’ve been wanting to routinely incorporate broths into my diet for some time. Why? Simply put, broths are nourishing. They contain all the minerals from the bones and cartilage, and electrolytes from vegetables. Some of the goodies include calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and glucosamine-chondroitin. Not only that, but everything is much more easily absorbable when consumed in a gelatinous broth.
A properly prepared broth will gelatinize in your fridge overnight. You want this gelatin because it’s very good for your digestion, plus it’s helps support the connective tissues in your body. The broth is more likely to thicken if it’s boiled down and concentrated. So if you haven’t boiled it down, but have still cooked it for a long time, that’s fine. When people cook down the broth to concentrate it, they often dilute it with water later to increase the quantity (takes up less space in your freezer). It’s important to add vinegar (apple cider or plain is fine) at the start to help leech out all the nutrients from your broth ingredients.
The more different types of bones you add, the better (knuckle bones and feet are especially gelatinous, and marrow bones are very flavorful). If you’d like, you can roast the bones first to bring out their flavour (375 degrees for approx.. 45 minutes). You can use bones from any animal you’d like (beef, lamb, chicken), and feel free to mix types as well. I tend to make chicken stock separately, but I will throw in some chicken feet to my beef broths for their gelatin. Since you’re leeching everything out of these bones, make sure they’re organic. And if you don’t know where to get bones, you can always just save up the bones on your plate from your regular meals. Throw them into a freezer bag and keep adding to your freezer stash until you have enough to make broth.
Cook the broth for as long as you can – between 12 and 72 hours. This does not have to be continuous. I typically start my broth first thing Saturday morning and cook it for the entire day. If I need to step out, I turn it off and then turn it back on when I return. I turn it off for the night, leaving it on the stove, and re-start it again the next morning. You could do it in a slow-cooker, but I choose not to.
After it’s done cooking, strain the broth. Don’t add salt to the entire batch – you may end up using it in recipes that have already called for salt.
How to consume it? I drink it plain along with my dinner. Some people like to drink it in the mornings, instead of coffee. Additionally, you can use it to make soups and sauces. In my usual batch-cooking style, I like to make a lot more; I then freeze it to have on hand (image above of the stockpot I use).
Making broth is very easy, and it’s also a great way to clear out your fridge. Really, use up anything you have lying around, there’s no set recipe. Here’s a general guideline for what to throw in the pot:
- Bones (however much you want, 2-3 lbs. is fine)
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Herbs (e.g. rosemary, thyme, sage – use dried if you don’t have whole)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp. vinegar
1) Place your bones, vegetables, and herbs in large pot.
2) Add vinegar.
3) Pour in water – enough to cover the contents of the pot.
4) Bring to a gentle simmer.
6) Simmer for 12-72 hours. Periodically skim scum/fat off the top, especially if making chicken broth.
7) Add parsley just before finishing and simmer for only 10 more minutes.
Do you regularly make broth?