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How to Make Nutritious Bone Broth

May 4, 2012

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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:

Ingredients

  • 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
  • Parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar

Preparation

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.

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Do you regularly make broth?

Shared with Healthy Home Economist,  Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Fridays.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexis May 7, 2012 at 8:15 AM

So is there a specific type of stockpot I should buy? Material, etc?

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admin@primalist May 7, 2012 at 7:02 PM

I personally like enamel on steel. That one’s a Tivoli (bought at Winners). Le Creuset makes them too (more expensive). Or you could make it in a Dutch oven.

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Betsy May 11, 2012 at 8:20 AM

And what if I can’t get organic/grassfed meat? That’s the problem I constantly run into – every real food blog I read that touts bone broth for nutrition takes for granted the ability to get organic and grass fed meat. If there are no sources for this in my area, do I still make bone broth out of whatever I can buy at the store, or forgo it?

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admin@primalist May 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM

I think a lot of people would say to just go ahead and make the broth. Same as eating conventional meat is better than not eating meat. And although I agree with that last statement, and I do eat conventional meat, I personally would not make broth with conventional bones.

I treat broth more as a supplement than a staple (although if you can have it as a staple, all the better). So I would say skip it. I try to discard the fat from conventional meat, and it makes me too uneasy how fatty the broths end up to use conventional bones. (a lot of the toxins concentrate in the fat).

Having said all that, I’m assuming you’ve gone to sites like eatwild to try to source meat? Where’s the furthest farm? Could you drive there even once a year to stock up and freeze? How far is the nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?What about ordering online from somewhere like US Wellness meats? I guess things might get trickier if you are not in North America. But it could be useful to post your dilemma on paleohacks – there’s people on there from all over and perhaps someone will have a suggestion.

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Hanna May 12, 2012 at 12:29 AM

Thankyou for writing A properly prepared broth will gelatinize in your fridge overnight.
I had no idea if it was meant to and mine was like a thick jelly the next morning!

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admin@primalist May 12, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Sounds like you did a fine job! :)

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Ray May 27, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Awesom! I can’t wait to make my first BoneBroth

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admin@primalist June 8, 2012 at 3:58 PM

That’s great, I hope you enjoy it :)

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Nick August 4, 2012 at 11:06 PM

So my question. You can keep the vegetables and eat them like a soup of course? But for just a bone broth to sip on during meals, etc, you would strain everything right?

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admin@primalist August 15, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Correct. I probably wouldn’t bother eating the vegetables if they’ve been cooking for more than a couple of hours – all the good stuff would’ve been cooked out. So if you strain it, you get a nice broth to sip on, and can freeze it for later use.

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Claire September 12, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I want to try start making broth, but also fish broth. I live on the coast 2 min away from the harbour so I can get fresh fish as it comes off the boat. Can you adivse which fish is best when making a broth? I know so many have toxic levels or mercury so I am not sure which to use. Also can I just stick the fish in as a whole and boil it like that?

Thank you :)

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admin@primalist September 15, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Hi Claire. You just use the carcass for making the stock, so that’ll reduce how much mercury/toxins you get… but still, when making chicken or beef broth, I advise buying organic, and there’s no such thing as organic fish. The other thing is it’s recommended to use non-oily fish for fish stocks because otherwise the oils can become rancid during the long cooking process. The fish that I tend to eat that are better on the toxicity scale tend to be oily fish like salmon and mackerel. So I suppose you could research how much of the toxins collect in the bones of the fish.. and then try to find the least toxic non-oily fish you can find.. (disclaimer: I don’t personally make fish stock, I’m pretty seafood cautious in general due to all the toxins/mercury).

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Pajamas Notebook November 26, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Thanks for the post ~ I am a newbie to the bone broth world and am excited to have found such a nutrient dense liquid!! Have you ever made any flavors such as lemongrass? I am curious about experimenting with flavors and would love input. Thanks!

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admin@primalist November 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I personally haven’t any other flavors yet. The main reason being that I make a huge batch, and then freeze it. I then use it for all sorts of things like soups, braises, etc. So having a particular flavor would limit what I could use that broth for in the future. But I do think it’s a neat idea, and could be made in smaller flavoured batches, just like one might make flavoured ghee. Lemongrass especially might work as a nice fresh contrast to the fattiness of the stock.

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cathy October 10, 2013 at 8:02 AM

should the stock pot be covered or uncovered?

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admin@primalist October 10, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Leave it slightly ajar after it has come to a boil

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cathy October 11, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Thank you so much!! I did that and it gelled up nicely. Pulled the congealed fat off this morning and added a bit of onion and shallots and warmed it up. It is fantastic. I think the one cow hoof I put in just melted right out. It put me in mind of the story “Pollyanna” where she took some calf’s foot jelly to a sick friend of her aunt’s.

chechy1 November 1, 2013 at 2:52 PM

I regularly make broth, I roast some beef bones (grassfed of course) then I put them in a crock pot (a big one) cover with water and let it simmer for up to seven days (just with beef bones – with chicken bones I only let them simmer 3 days). I then use the broth for whatever soup I want. Seaweed soup, pho, cabbage soup whatever. Yummy!

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admin@primalist November 1, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Seven days! Wow, that’s impressive :)

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Molly Graessle September 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

When simmering the bone broth in a large pot, should I leave the pot covered or uncovered?

Thank you, Molly

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admin@primalist October 11, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Cow hoof, impressive! :) That’s one that I haven’t had access to yet.

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