How to Make Simple Nourishing Bone Broth
I recently picked up Sally Fallon's new book Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World on a whim and it changed my life. I had read two of her books before, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care, and both of those changed my life drastically, but her most recent book on bone broth is my favorite by far. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on why you should be eating bone broth, how it has helped me, and why Sally is your new best friend. Update: That post has been written and you can find it here.
You can buy Nourishing Broth here:
I've been making bone broth biweekly for awhile now and have honed down what used to be a long and tedious effort into 20 minutes of pure bliss. I've been experimenting with different types of meat and various parts of the animal. Bone broth can be made from any animal just so long as there are plenty of, you guessed it, bones and some connective tissue. There doesn't have to be any meat on the bones at all if you just want a simple broth but I like to throw some in for extra flavor and nutrients as well as to take one more step out of the process. Some of the best parts to use are marrow bones, knuckles, feet, poultry carcasses, necks etc. Basically, if you'd normally throw it away it's probably good for bone broth. Ideal parts are those that move on the animal because those places will have the most cartilage and connective tissue. The idea is to extract as much gelatin as possible. This gelatin acts as a lubricant in your body, allowing your joints to flow smoothly, keeping your skin and hair strong and elastic (preventing wrinkles!) and helping your body to heal itself. More on that later, though. It's time to start cooking!
BONE BROTH RECIPE
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 12-24 hours
-enough organic, grass fed bones (and/or feet, necks, etc) to fill a large pot or a whole chicken or chicken carcass
- water to cover
-optional: apple cider vinegar, seasoning, or vegetables
Place all of your bones and meaty bits in a large pot. It really is best to use organic meat (or even better wild meat) that has had access to fresh air and grass as it will be much healthier for you, not to mention it is the kindest way for the animal and the earth. I like to use a crockpot because it takes all of the hassle out entirely. I just plug it in and forget about it. Fill pot with water until all of the meat is covered. You may have to add more later if some evaporates and exposes the meat.
Optional: adding a couple TBS of ACV will help get more nutrients from the bones. You can add seasoning at this point if you wish but I find that it is better just to leave it as a plain broth until you want to use it. You can add vegetable scraps for more nutrients and flavor but you have to remove them later and your broth will not be preserved as long. If you do want to add vegetables to your broth remember that it will be cooking for a very long time so it is best to add them at the very end.
In order to eek out every last bit of nutrious and flavorful goodness from those bones they have to be cooked continuously at low heat for a long time. You should keep them at just below a simmer for at least 12 hours, but 24 is even better. Check on it every couple of hours to make sure it is not boiling or too much water has evaporated and to stir. If you are cooking on a stovetop it may be difficult to regulate the temperature; you may have to play around will keeping the lid partially off. It is okay if it does boil, all of the nutrients will still be there but your broth will not gel up firmly (which you may not want anyway). Gelling is good way to measure how much of the all important gelatin is in your broth, though; the firmer it becomes, the more gelatin is present.
After you have cooked the bones as long as you like, you will need to strain out the broth and separate the meat from the bones. At this point, you can save your bones to use again or even twice more, you can compost them, or, if they are large marrow bones, you can give them to your dog. Be very careful to make sure you remove all small slivers of bone (especially if you are using delicate bones, such as poultry bones or necks). You will notice that all of the fat will float to the top of your broth, you have two options at this point:
The yellow layer on top is the fat:
<-- I used 6 canada goose legs and 3 necks for this batch; you can see how the meat has totally fallen off the bones, its a bit like pulled pork at this point
Cover your broth and put it in the fride to cool until the fat on top hardens. This will take a couple of hours. Once it has hardened you can scrape it off and put it in a separate container to render later. You can use this fat in place of oil or butter in your cooking, or if it's lard or tallow (tallow is a harder fat from beef, this is what you get when you use marrow bones) you can use it in soap or candle making.
You can put the meat back in the broth if you want to in a separate container in the fridge or freezer or you can dehydrate it for jerky or instant meal mixes. I prefer not to separate the fat because it adds wonderful flavor and nutritional value to my broths. Any fat on top also creates a barrier between the broth and the air, preserving it for longer. Put the broth in containers for refridgerating, freezing, or canning. Click here to see my post on pressure canning bone broth. . It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for a couple of months. I like to pour it into ice cube trays and then put the broth cubes in bags in the freezer so I can use precise amounts (or hide it in smoothies for a protein packed breakfast!)
If you already have a good gel and you have removed the fat you may decide to make portable soup (fat will make it spoil faster). Portable soup is basically dehydrated and concentrated bone broth which can be used like bouillion. To make portable soup, fill a pot with a gallon or so of bone broth and cook it down, letting it evaporate until there is only a cup or two or broth left. If you want to be absolutely sure that it hardens you can add commercial gelatin to the broth. Take it off the heat and pour it into a mold, wax paper lined pan, or onto a food dehydrator sheet. It should begin to gel up. You can flip it out onto a piece of felt on a drying rack and let it dry for a couple of days until it is hard like leather at which point you can cut it into 1/2-1" squares with scissors. You can put a small electric fan on it to hasten this process and prevent spoilage. Keep it in a cool, dry place. OR you can use a food dehydrator to dry it until it is hard and brittle. Make sure to keep you dehydrator on a low setting so that the gel does not melt. Once the portable soup is hard you can put it in a food processor and grind it into a powder. Mix one square or one teaspoon of portable soup with one cup of boiling water for instant broth. To learn more about portable soup see my post called The History of Portable Soup.
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