Bone broth restaurants are popping up in cities across North America. And for good reason. Bone broth is full of protein, minerals, and vitamins essential to good health. It heals gut issues as well as remineralizing bones and teeth. Bone broth improves the strength of your nails, too. Properly made, bone broth is rich in collagen, gelatin, as well as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. These are the compounds that hold your body together and help it rebuild.
How to make bone broth
Bone broth is a miracle food when made from grass-fed, organically raised animals. If you have been wondering how to make bone broth at home, know that making bone broth couldn’t be easier.
I have a pot of bone broth brewing on my kitchen counter daily. It’s ready for quick lunches, healthy snacks, or hearty dinners. While some people pressure can or freeze theirs to store it for convenience, I don’t. I just keep a perpetual pot of bone broth brewing in my crockpot. It helps that we raise our own pastured lambs and have an endless supply of soup bones.
Where to get the bones?
If you are having trouble finding bones to make bone broth, speak to your local grass-fed farmer, butcher, or meat cutter. A lot of bones end up being discarded because boneless meat is easier to market. The whole animal is no longer being sold in the grocery store. But it’s available. You just have to ask.
Make bone broth
You’ll need a crockpot, some meaty bones, rich in cartilage, from organic or grass-fed animals, like lamb shanks, oxtails, chicken backs and necks, or a turkey carcass. Don’t use nonorganic animals. Many of the chemicals that conventionally raised animals are exposed to will be found in their bones, cartilage, and joints. You want to avoid that. So buy organic or grass-fed bones for bone broth.
Start your bone broth after dinner and let it simmer on warm all night in the crockpot. The long simmer is the secret to making the best, most nutritious bone broth.
Put the bones in the crockpot. It’s fine if there is still some meat on the bones. Most of the flavour will end up in your broth. Cover with filtered water. Add finely chopped onions, garlic, and celery. Plugin the crockpot and let it simmer on low overnight. In the morning add 1 tbsp. cider vinegar and ½ tsp. of sea salt. Continue simmering the bones on low.
By mid-morning, the following day, any meat on the bones will be tender and separate from the bones. You can remove this meat from the bones and chop it finely and return it to the pot, with the bones. Let it simmer a little longer, with the bones. If it starts to boil rapidly reduce the temperature to warm. It doesn’t need to boil.
When is it ready?
You can remove the clear broth at any time, after the first 8 hours to drink. Just add more water to replace what you used. Poultry bones will soften so that most become crumbly, as the minerals leach out of them. Bones from beef or lamb will lighten in colour, as the minerals leach out. Once the bones seem spent, about 36 to 48 hours after you begin, you can remove them from the pot. Add the spent bones to your compost pile for added plant nutrition.
How to remove the top oil layer from your bone broth
If you desire to reduce the fat in your broth, you can siphon off the top layer of melted grease by using a gravy ladle. Just put the ladle into the crockpot, so that the handle is upright, and the rim of the ladle is just barely below the surface of the broth. Any grease layer on top of the broth will fill the ladle. You can repeat this several times to remove the fat from your broth. Save the grease for your dogs and cats, if you don’t want to eat it yourself. The extra nutritious fat will make their coats shine and their skin condition improve.
How to use the finished bone broth?
Bone broth can be drunk in a mug like tea.
Bone broth can be used as the base for vegetable soup. Just add some dulse or other seaweed, carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, parsley, and any other seasonal vegetables that you have on hand. Simmer for about an hour on low in the crockpot. Eat it when the vegetables reach your desired doneness.
Bone broth can be used as the flavour base for gravies and sauces. Use it in any recipe that calls for consommé. Use it as a substitute for water or milk in savoury white sauce or béchamel sauce.
Make more bone broth
Our crockpot full of bone broth lasts about 2 days and then I feed that last of it to our cats and dogs, wash the crockpot, and get another batch started. It’s so easy to make that I keep a pot going regularly. It makes fast, easy, nutritious lunches, and hearty soup or stew for dinner on nights that we need fast food. I can vary the flavour by adding different vegetables or spices.
A word about seaweeds
I add dulse, kelp, or seaweed to all my broths, soups, and stews. The extra trace minerals and iodine in the seaweed support thyroid and adrenal health. Just a ¼ cup per gallon of broth is enough to make a big difference in your wellbeing.