The weather outside is frightful… and it’s the perfect time of year to cozy up with a mug of bone broth. I’ve been a huge fan of bone broth for years
How to make bone broth and how to use it in your routine
What is bone broth?
Bone broth a stock that was adopted as a way to make use of every part of an animal (bones, marrow, skin, feet, tendons, and ligaments). In short, it’s water, bones, and apple cider vinegar simmered for 18-48 hours. This is not to be confused with boxed broths and bouillon cubes that sit on store shelves and are full of white table salt, sugar, preservatives and who knows what else!
Bone broth is simmered for 18-48 hours to release collagen and amino acids like glycine, which may be nourishing to the gut. The gelatin and collagen help to strengthen the skeletal system, rebuild tissue and ease inflammation. Bone broth can even be great for our pets, helping to improve their coats and support their joints.
Supporting your gut not only nourishes your body but can also clear your mind. We do know that the gut has been often referred to as the second brain. Bone broth may aid in supporting the integrity of the gut lining, which directly affects our immune system! Ever wonder why your mom or grandmother’s homemade chicken soup helped you feel so much better? It was simmered for hours with chicken drumsticks, which are rich in collagen and healthy fat.
So how can we reap these benefits at home? Make your own broth! It’s relatively inexpensive and tastes better than most store bought varieties, though we have our favorites of those too.
How to make bone broth
Choose your source of protein or try a blend (beef, chicken, turkey, fish). One of the quickest ways to make chicken bone broth is to utilize the carcass from a rotisserie chicken. Free range, organic chicken bones are the best quality, but making homemade bone broth, despite having an organic or free range chicken still trumps not making homemade broth at all. The benefits are far too great to not reap!
Clean the majority of the meat off the bones (easy food prep for the week there) and toss the skin, bones & remaining waste from the chicken into a slow cooker or pressure cooker. (Tip: sometimes I’ll add veggies and spices here for extra flavor. It does turn it into more of a stock, but I like adding carrots, onion, chopped garlic, peppercorns, salt, and herbs. The benefit of leaving it plain is that it’s more versatile!)
Cover with clean, filtered water by at least 2”, add a hefty splash of apple cider vinegar (helps to pull the minerals from the bones), cover and simmer for 18-48 hours on low. When using a slow cooker, this is a great option to let it cook overnight. The longer it is cooked and the more the liquid reduces, the thicker the broth will be, the richer the flavor and more minerals and collagen will be released.
If using a pressure cooker, set it to 120 minutes on manual, ensuring that you leave at least 2” of room from the top of the pot to the water or you may have an explosion. Let the mixture cook under pressure for 120 minutes. Naturally release the pressure, which may take 15-20 minutes depending how full your pot is.
Once the broth has finished in the pressure cooker or the slow cooker, strain the broth with a fine mesh strainer to remove the bones and skin. Let the hot broth cool completely at room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.
Note: You may strain the broth into a large glass 13X9 inch dish and cool for an hour on the counter before placing into the refrigerator. Doing so allows there to be more surface area, thus cooling the broth quicker and preventing you from heating your refrigerator. Once the broth has completely cooled in the refrigerator, a layer of fat will have risen to the top and can be spooned off and discarded or saved for frying eggs.
Tip: If I am making beef or chicken bone broth using high quality bones, I will save the fat layer on top in a mason jar and keep in the refrigerator to use for pan frying eggs, sautéing vegetables or any other places I may need a little bit of high quality fat.
How long is bone broth good in the fridge?
Bone broth can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for longer shelf life. It can be frozen in glass mason jars or flat in freezer quart ziploc bags. I’ve also frozen it in ice cube trays to add an easy bit of nutrition to hot meals.
How to use bone broth
So many uses for bone broth! ‘Tis the season for colds, flus and wanting to warm up and feel nourished from the inside out.
Here are some of our favorite ways to use bone broth:
– Drinking it straight-up in a mug. I always love to add sea salt (Redmond’s is my fave) and some lemon juice
– “Protein rice.” While it isn’t a substitute for eating pure protein, it enhances the flavor of the rice and offers many of the wonderful benefits that bone broth provides. Simply substitute bone broth for water, add to the rice and cook according to the package directions. I love using jasmine rice plus chicken bone broth. It smells like popcorn and is super delish!
– Add broth to cooked, lean ground turkey or beef for extra flavor and moisture.
– Making gluten free pasta? You can use the broth to cook the pasta instead of water, or add broth to infuse flavor into a one-pot dish.
– Add broth to mashed potatoes with a pinch of Himalayan salt.
– Make a quick bone broth soup.