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How to Make Healthy Bone Broth

how to make healthy bone broth
Written by Jackie Parker

Have you heard of bone broth? Maybe you’ve heard it mentioned but aren’t quite sure exactly what the fuss is about and why it is praised by so many healers and health coaches. Today I’m going to share the health benefits as well as how to make healthy bone broth.

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is simply the stock obtained from boiling bones from chicken, turkey, pork or beef in water. The biggest difference between bone broth and a regular stock is that you cook bone broth a lot longer. When you boil bones, it leaches all sorts of nutrients and minerals that are good for you like glucosamine and collagen.
 
Speaking of nutrition, bone broth is also good for your immune system. Remember grandma making a big pot of chicken soup anytime someone would get sick? The same principal is at work here. Think of bone broth as a more concentrated version of Grandma’s healing soup. The broth may even help you sleep better at night. If you sip a cup before bed, it will work better than the warm milk your mom used to bring you.

How To Make Healthy Bone Broth

how to make healthy bone broth

The easiest way to make your first batch of bone broth is to start with a cooked chicken. Roast it yourself or head to your local market and pick up a free-range rotisserie chicken. Pull the cooked meat off the chicken. You can store the meat in the fridge to make chicken noodle or rice soup with the bone broth you’re about to make.

 
Put everything that’s left – all the bones and any remaining bits and pieces of meat – into a large pot that has a lid. Fill it with plenty of cold water. The more water you add, the more broth you’ll get in the end. Don’t fill it all the way to the top or you risk the liquid bubbling over.
 
Next, add a good splash of apple cider vinegar (2-3 TBS) to the pot. This step is optional but helps leach the minerals from the bones. Also, the acidic nature of the vinegar acts as a preservative. If you don’t have the vinegar in your pantry don’t fret it. You can add a splash of red wine or white vinegar if you’d like.
 
Cover the pot with the lid and turn up the heat until it comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer for at least of 12 hours. Although, if you can cook it for 48 to 72 hours, that is better. Of course, you don’t want to simmer the broth while you’re out of the house or sleeping.
 
Pour some of the finished bone broth into a smaller pot. Now add the shredded chicken along with some rice or noodles and vegetables to make soup or stew. Or just drink the broth. It’s delicious!

The Benefits Of Making Bone Broth

 
There’s been a lot of buzz online about bone broth the past few months. And as you’ll see, it’s for good reason.
 

It’s Delicious

 
Let’s start with the obvious homemade broth, stock or bone broth tastes really good. Bone broth, in particular, has a deep rich flavor that you just won’t get out of a carton of chicken stock.
 
Drink the broth on its own, or use it as the base for soups, stews, and sauces. You can use bone broth in any recipe that calls for broth or stock. Or try simmering your rice or vegetables in the broth for added flavor and nutrition.
 

It’s Frugal

 
Since you make bone broth from bones you’d otherwise toss in the trash, it doesn’t get more frugal than that. For no more than the cost of a little power to boil the bones, you have a highly nutritious and better than high-end stock you buy at the store.
 
If you’re buying organic chicken, turkey or beef, you can make the most of every dollar you spend by utilizing every little bit including the bones.

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 It’s Good For You
 
Let’s not forget about the health benefits of bone broth. There’s a reason grandma would put on a pot of homemade chicken soup when someone got sick.
 
In times of illness when you’ve lost your appetite, start sipping bone broth until you feel better. It’s easy to digest and it will support your body to heal faster.
 
Bone broth can improve your digestion, boost your immune system and brain health. But that’s not all… It is full of minerals including amino acids, magnesium, and calcium. The fat content in the broth helps our bodies absorb the various minerals. It’s also full of collagen and gelatin which is good for your skin, hair, and joints.
 

Alternative to Eating Meat

If you are vegetarian and feel depleted or have been diagnosed with anemia because of a lack of essential animal-based protein, bone broth may be a healthy compromise for you without having to eat the meat itself.

Here are more health benefits of adding bone broth to your diet:

Health Benefits

  • Builds the blood (important for women)
  • Healing for arthritis
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Good for leaky gut syndrome
  • Good for digestion
  • Strengthens immunity
  • Improves sleep disorders
  • Increase energy
  • Calms the mind

Different Ways Of Making Bone Broth

 
Bone broth gets better the longer you simmer the bones in the water. Good bone broth has cooked for at least 12 hours. Great bone broth takes a good 48 to 72 hours. There are a few different ways to make it.
 
We’ll go over them in more detail, but the general idea is to either:
  1. Use a stock pot on the stove
  2. Use a crockpot
  3. Make something called perpetual broth where you continually cook and use the broth
The method you use is a matter of preference. If you are going to be around, use the stove top method. If you work outside the home or want to keep the broth going overnight, a crockpot will be a better choice.
 

Stock Pot Bone Broth

 
This is the traditional way of making broth and stock. You can make a large batch of bone broth and use even the largest batch of bones or a turkey carcass. Here’s how to do it.
 
Get out your stock pot and put the bones in. It’s perfectly fine if they have some meat and cartilage on them. In fact, that cartilage will dissolve and make the broth even better for your joints. Add enough water to cover the bones and a good splash of Apple Cider vinegar.
 
Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a full boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow your broth to simmer for 12 to 72 hours.
 
Start the broth in the morning on a day when you’ll be home and let it simmer all day. Turn the stove off right before you go to bed. The next morning, turn up the heat and bring the broth back to a boil, then simmer all day again. 
 
After a good 12 to 24 hours of simmering and sitting the broth will have most of the nutrients leached from the bones and taste great. The longer you simmer it the better it gets.
 
Strain the liquid and store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 Days. You can also freeze the broth for up to a year.
 

Crock Pot Bone Broth

 
If you don’t want to “baby-sit” your broth all day or continue to simmer it for 24 to 72 hours straight, put your slow cooker to work. This works particularly well for a chicken carcass or any small batch of bones.
 
Put the bones in the crockpot and cover them with plenty of water. Again, adding a splash of apple cider vinegar will help get the most nutrients and minerals from the bones. Cover and cook on low as long as desired.
 
Strain out the liquid and if you’d like, start another batch with the same bones. You can get up to 3 batches of bone broth out of each batch of bones.
 

Perpetual Bone Broth

 
Last but not least there’s something called perpetual bone broth. The basic idea is that you have a pot of broth simmering at all times. You dip out what you need to drink or cook with, add more water and bones as needed and keep it going.
 
This is a good idea if you’re sick and are trying to get a constant supply of hot broth to sip on without a lot of work. If you want to have a perpetual broth, I recommend you use a slow cooker.
 
Put your chicken bones in the slow cooker along with any herbs or seasonings you like, cover with water and cook for 12 hours. Then start dipping out a cup or two of broth at a time, refilling it with water each time. Use the broth for 3 to 6 days, then remove everything from the slow cooker, clean it and start over.

What Bones Can You Use To Make Bone Broth

Bone broth can be made from just about any type of bones. But for best results, make sure you include some larger bones containing marrow and some knuckles and/or feet (chicken) to get plenty of collagen. Let’s look at some of the different types of bones you can use and where to find them.

Chicken Bones

Here’s something easy. Chicken bones are the perfect “gateway” bones to make your first batch of bone broth. Go buy a nice organic chicken. Roast it and enjoy the meat for dinner. Toss everything else into a large stock pot, cover with water and simmer at least 12 hours.

If you’re in a rush, you can even pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. It’s a great way to make sure you’re using up every little bit of the bird.

If you have a farmer in your area that raises chickens for meat or eggs, ask what they do with the bones. You may just find a source of chicken bones free of charge. You can make broth from raw bones, but the flavor will be better if you roast them in the oven first.

Turkey Bones

Turkey works as well as chicken, but you may want a larger pot. Don’t toss your turkey carcass leftover from Thanksgiving or Christmas… Make a batch of broth. It freezes well and you can store it in containers until you’re ready to use it.

You can boil bones several times to make more batches of broth. Make one batch to freeze and then another one to use right away. Use less water the second time around to still get a flavorful broth.

Beef and Pork Bones

Both beef and pork bones make for a more robust broth. They can be a little bit harder to find though. Talk to the butcher at your local grocery store and ask him to save the bones for you. Sometimes you can even find soup bones in the meat department.

Your local farmers market is another great place to source your bones. Talk to the farmers. Even if they don’t raise beef or pork themselves, they can get you in touch with someone who does.

Roast your bones before you make the broth for best results. Just spread them out on a baking dish and bake at 450 F for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow them to cool until they are comfortable and safe to handle. Put the bones in a large stock pot, add plenty of water and boil for at least 12 hours. Use a combination of marrow bones and knuckle bones to get the best broth with the most health benefits.

Bison and Wild Game Bones

If you’re lucky enough to have a hunter in the family, ask him to save the bones for you. Or call up your local game processing business and ask about buying bones from deer.

The same goes for bison bones. If you have a bison farm in the area, it is worth making a call. While you’re there, pick up some ground bison too for some of the tastiest burgers you’ve ever had.

how to make healthy bone broth

How To Use Bone Broth In Cooking

 
After you’ve made a batch of bone broth, enjoy what you can right away, then freeze to use in your everyday cooking. You can store your broth in glass jars and thaw as you need to make soup, stews, gravies, or sauces.
 

Make Bone Broth Cubes

Another option is to freeze the finished broth in ice cube trays. Once frozen solid, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. Use the frozen broth cubes whenever you’re cooking veggies for an extra boost of flavor and nutrition.
 

A Base For Soups and Stews

Aside from drinking fresh bone broth by the cup, you can use it anywhere you would use chicken broth or vegetable stock. The obvious first choice is of course as a base for soups and stews. The bone broth will add a lot of extra flavor and nutrition to all your favorite soups. Instead of adding water, or water along with a couple of bouillon cubes, use your bone broth. The broth gives all your soups and stews that yummy homemade flavor. Even something you throw together quickly will have deep, rich flavors.
 

Pasta and Rice

Try boiling your rice in broth instead of plain water for a tasty side dish. Not only will it taste much better, you’re also adding a lot of extra nutrition. You can do the same with pasta. Boil your noodles in the broth, then serve the broth in bowls before the meal.
 

1 Cup at Mealtime 

Speaking of meals, enjoy a cup of bone broth at meal time. Besides adding a lot of nutrition, it fills you up faster and will stop you from over eating.
 

Mashed Potatoes

If you’re making mashed potatoes, add a couple of splashes of broth to thin them out as needed. Much tastier than using water and better for you than adding more milk. Or go all out and make a batch of potato soup instead of mashed potatoes.
 

In Beans

If you’re cooking a big pot of dry beans, replace some of the water with bone broth. You’ll get a lot of great flavor without having to add a ham bone or bacon. Give it a try the next time you put on a pot of pinto beans.

Storing and Freezing Bone Broth

 
Do you remember that first little batch of bone broth you made? Chances are that it was gone before it had time to cool all the way down. Since then you’ve invested in a much larger stock pot and you’re buying soup and knuckle bones by the pounds. The end result is a lot more broth then you can use right away. Making big batches is a lot easier and more efficient. Now let’s find out how to store everything you can’t use up right away.
 

Storing Bone Broth In The Fridge

 
Allow your bone broth to cool completely after you’ve finished cooking it. Anything you haven’t used up by this point should be strained into clean jars and stored in the fridge for up to a week.
 

Freezing Bone Broth For Long Term Storage

 
If you have more broth than you can use in a few days, it’s perfectly fine to freeze it. Once your pot of broth and bones has cooled enough to be safe to handle, strain the liquid into a large bowl or pitcher.
 
Depending on how you plan to use the broth, you can either freeze it in glass jars or pour into ice cube trays for smaller portions. I usually use a combination of both.
 
Get your freezer containers ready and stir up your broth to make sure all the nutrients are equally distributed. Pour the broth into the freezer containers and allow them to stay on the counter until they have cooled to room temperature.
 
Label your containers with the contents and today’s date and move them to the freezer. When using ice cube trays, set them in the freezer till frozen, then pop them out and transfer them to a freezer bag. Label the bag and put it back in the freezer. You can grab individual bone broth cubes as you need them.

how to make healthy bone broth

Adding Variety to Your Bone Broth With Veggies and Spices

 
Once you’ve made a few batches of plain bone broth it’s time to spice things up and add a little variety.
 
Adding spices and seasonings is a great way to add to the health benefits of broth. Keeping things basic when you make a batch of broth makes it easy to use the broth later. With a neutral flavor of the pure bone broth, you will get good results no matter what you make.
 
Here are a couple of herbs, spices you may want to add to your broth:
  • Salt and Peppercorns
  • Garlic
  • Onion powder
  • Green onion
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Chive
  • Thyme
  • Cayenne
  • Turmeric
  • Curry Powder
  • Cumin
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • Hot sauce
When it comes to fresh herbs though, I wait until the end of the cooking process. Most fresh herbs are delicate and you’ll lose the flavor and nutritional benefits if you boil them for 12 hours or longer. Just hold off and add them in for the last few minutes before cooling and straining your broth.
 

Bone broth is an amazing food that you should include in your diet. I hope I was able to give you a better understanding of its benefits so you’ll use bone broth whenever possible.

 

In the end, if you simply don’t have time to make your own bone broth, it is definitely worth it to buy it. The multitude of health benefits makes it too important to do without. I’ve sampled numerous brands and when I cannot find the space to make my own, I use Epic Bone Broth from
Thrive Market.

It comes in glass jars in four flavors:

Chicken
Turkey
Beef
Bison

My family likes the Chicken and Turkey best, but honestly, they are all good and the next best thing to making it yourself.

Finally, if you enjoyed this post, would you be kind enough to leave me a few words below or share it others?
 
I wish you good health and longevity. 🙂
how to make healthy bone broth

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About the author

Jackie Parker

6 Comments

  • I love home made soups and I like to create them. My mother used to use bone broth, and I learned from her, but somehow drifted away from this method of cooking., but reading this has inspired me to try it again! I like the idea of using a slow cooker, so I do not have to worry about running dry, or boiling over. I will try this.
    I have never used pork bones before, but I may try this also.
    When you roast the bones, do you add seasoning at this point?

    • Hi Judith, I can’t speak to pork bones, since I don’t eat pork… But, I see no reason why you couldn’t! I would most likely season upon roasting and then again when you make the broth. 

  • Hi Jackie,

    Thanks for your great article on bone broth it is really interesting.

    I am in the healthy nutrition niche myself so really appreciated your time to write this blog I found it very helpful.

    Maybe a strange question but how long can you keep a bone broth in the freezer?

    Thanks in advance?

    • Hi Mitchell! Some references say up to one year, but personally, I wouldn’t freeze it any longer than a few months… but that’s just me I suppose. If something is frozen, yes, the nutrients are preserved, but the prana or life force is not! I generally start making bone broth in the fall months. I’ll make a batch every 30-45 days and just take it from the freezer as needed. If you want to use it for cooking the broth cubes are the way to go! Thanks for connecting!

  • I love this recipe. I personally make my own chicken and beef broth from scratch and this bone broth is right up my alley:)

    I couldn’t help but notice you suggested bone broth would be a healthy alternative to veggies for getting animal protein that they don’t currently get as veggies…hmmm, I don’t think they would want bones from any animal, well stand to be corrected.

    This bone broth is loaded with nutrients and no doubt it nurses one back to health after being unwell.

    Best:)

    • Hi Excelle, Thanks for connecting here! 

      I did suggest it because sometimes people (Mostly Vata types) are anemic if they don’t eat animal protein. In that case, they may consider drinking a broth. It all depends on the person. It’s also a really good thing to take after surgery or anytime digestion is weakened. 

      Thanks again for saying hi!  Jackie

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