I’ll admit, I was extremely intimidated to make bone broth for the first time. I had so many questions about the process. I didn't know where to get bones, what kind of bones to use, or the best way to cook the broth. After considerable research, and some trial and error, making bone broth no longer intimidates me. I make it regularly, and love playing around with different combinations of ingredients. So, I’ve decided to make the resource I wish I had when I was completely lost on how to start making bone broth.
First, why I make broth broth. The protein and minerals in bone broth are not found in many other foods. Dr. Kaalya Daniel gave a great presentation about the health benefits of bone broth. Here are some of the highlights from her talk.
Bone broth is high in the amino acids glycine, proline, and glutamine.
- Glycine - the simplest amino acid and is used to make other amino acids. More glycine is needed by the body when there is infection or illness, which is why bone broth is so great to drink when you’re sick (Super Healing Bone Broth Drink). Glycine also helps to regulate blood sugar.
- Proline - makes collagen(protein found in skin and connective tissue) and cartilage. Eating a high carb, low fat- Standard American Diet can cause a proline deficiency. We can only get minimal proline from eating muscle meats.
- Glutamine - helps to heal the gut. Promotes a healthy brain and immune system.
Dr. Daniel found in her research that bone broth is very low in calcium, which I found surprising. Bone broth still promotes bone health, though, because it is full of collagen. The building blocks of bones are collagen fibrils. Calcium and other bone building minerals are deposited in collagen fibrils to build bone. Without the collagen fibrils the calcium you eat has nowhere to go. Bone health isn’t just about calcium!
Since bone broth is so high in collagen, it is great for your hair, skin, and nails. Bone broth can also help eliminate cellulite by helping build strong and flexible connective tissue (more information here).
Here are some questions I had when I first started to make broth, and what I’ve learned along the way:
- Where do I buy high quality bones?
- You can find high quality bones at the farmers market. Farmers often sell them for super cheap. You can also check Eat Wild to find local farmers that might sell bones. You can also ask your butcher or the meat counter at your grocery store.
- Do I need to roast my bones before starting the broth?
- No, I honestly don’t find this step necessary. I throw my bones in right out of the freezer because I like to make things as simple as possible. I still find my bone broth super delicious! But, if you want to roast the bones first then go for it!
- How do I make my bone broth super jiggly when cool?
- The best way to get the most collagen and gelatin into your broth is by adding feet. This will make the broth like jello when it cools. I always add pig feet, but chicken feet will work too.
- What's the best way to cook bone broth?
- My preferred method is the slow cooker. I feel safe leaving my slow cooker on for long periods of time and I usually cook my broth for at least 24 hours. I don’t like the idea of leaving a stock pot on the stove for too long. I’m afraid of burning down my apartment building. The only slight downside to cooking in the slow cooker is it does give off a smell while cooking.
- Can I add organ meats I’m too afraid to eat into my broth to still get the nutrients from them?
- Yes! This is what I do with some of the “weird” bits I find myself compelled to buy at the farm or farmers market. Things I have added: kidneys, tongues, hearts, and pig ears.
- How long do I cook the broth for?
- I usually start my broth on Saturday morning and stop cooking it on Sunday night -- so about 30 hours total.
- What do I do with the layer of fat that forms on the surface?
- This is completely up to you. You can either use the fat in your cooking or scrape it off and throw it away before using. I usually use some of the fat in my cooking, and throw most of the fat away.
- How do I use my bone broth?
- Use it for soups, drink it straight (Super Healing Bone Broth Drink), or freeze it in ice cube trays to use small amounts when cooking any meats or veggies.
|Prep Time||Cook Time||Total Time|
|10 mins||30 hours||30 hours|
- 2-3 pounds of bones(beef, chicken, pork, or lamb)
- Optional: 1 pig foot. This will add extra collagen and make the broth gelatinous.
- Optional: 1 kidney, heart, or tongue (beef, chicken, pork, lamb)
- Water to cover the bones
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 onion quartered
- 2-3 carrots roughly chopped
- 3 stalks celery roughly chopped
- 3 inches of ginger and/or 3 cloves garlic
Special Equipment: Slow Cooker, large mesh strainer
- Add the bones, pig foot, and (optional) kidney, heart, or tongue to the slow cooker. I use a 6 qt crock pot. Place the parsley on top of the bones and fill the slow cooker with water. Be sure all the bones are submerged and that the water is at least 1 inch from the top of the slow cooker.
- Let cook for about 24 hours.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery, ginger and/or garlic.
- Let cook for another 6-10 hours.
- When the broth is finished, remove the bones and vegetables from the slow cooker. Strain the liquid, using a large mesh strainer, into a large glass storage container.
- Let the broth cool and then store in the fridge. The broth can be stored in the fridge for 5 days or it can be frozen. Be sure to bring the broth to a boil before you use it.
Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments or send me an email! I’m happy to help.