Bone Broth, What?

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Many of us have heard of bone broth but what is so great about it and why should we look into this more? 

Bone broth has incredible taste and culinary uses as well as is an excellent source of minerals. It is known to boost the immune system and improve digestion. Its high calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus content make it great for bone and oral health as well as supports joints, hair, skin, and nails due to its high collagen content. In fact, some even suggest that it helps eliminate cellulite as it supports the health of smooth connective tissue.  

Bone broth is just that, it’s a broth or chicken/beef stock that has been simmered long enough that the bones, cartilage, and ligaments break down to release all of the calcium, collagen, protein, nutrient-rich fatty acids and other essential minerals and nutrients. This is really great because collagen decreases naturally in our connective tissue and skin as we age requiring us to add more to our diet in order to keep elasticity and healing properties in our own joints and connective tissues. As we get older it’s also more difficult for us to metabolize and utilize collagen and other essential nutrients but bone broth made correctly is super easy for us to metabolize and use. Your body, mind, and immune system will thank you.   

So there’s why bone broth is so great now how to make it. Here on the ranch, we don’t let anything go to waste. As part of farm and the homesteading life we often have turkey, chicken or guinea fowl that we need to cull for various reasons or deer that we’ve hunted and in order to truly honor the life given so that we can survive and live, we use literally everything. 

I generally like to use male birds to make the bone broth because their meat is typically very tough and stringy anyway. By simmering for a very long time it tenderizes the meat so that it can be used for stews or soups. This is also an amazing recipe for just the carcass of a turkey left over after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Don’t throw that carcass out make bone broth.

I usually bottle about 20-40 quarts of straight up bone broth to add as a base for other recipes through the year. From that, I can make chicken noodle soup, chicken and wild rice, or simply add whenever chicken stock is called for or straight as a small daily drink for your health.  

This is a recipe for chicken/fowl bone broth but you could substitute anything with bones- pork shoulder, beef ribs, deer leg or joints, etc. Vegetarians also use eggshells in place of bones and this is totally fine you just won’t have the extra collagen, amino acids, and protein but it works. 

What you’ll need:

▪️2 whole chickens, 1 turkey, or 3 guinea fowl -or- deer leg, pork shoulder, beef joint, or 1-2 turkey carcasses. 

▪️6 whole carrots, don’t peel - cut into sections.

▪️6 celery stocks cut into sections.

▪️3-4 whole onions quartered with paper peelings (don’t toss that out)

▪️6-8 garlic cloves

▪️2 cups of spinach

▪️2-3 bunches of fresh parsley with stems

▪️2-3 sprigs of thyme

▪️1-2 sprigs of rosemary

▪️1 Tbs oregano

▪️4 bay leaves

▪️1 Tbs whole peppercorn

▪️1/3 C Kosher salt

▪️1/2 C apple cider vinegar

Add all ingredients to a large stock pot and cover with water, enough to cover all ingredients by at least 4-5 inches. Cover and bring to a simmer. You can use the stove top or a slow cooker. I generally use my stove top so that I can use my 40-quart stockpot. If I am making bone broth I make enough to get at least 25 quarts out of it to bottle and preserve. 

It’s easy to half this recipe if you don’t want to make this much and it doesn’t need to be exactly like most other recipes.  The vinegar in your recipe is very important, however. This is the ingredient that will break down the connective tissue and bones to make your bone broth, so don’t skimp on this. You can also really add anything; fennel root or stems, leeks, arugula, carrot tops... really whatever you have that may go bad unless you use it or if you’re in excess and need options. Bone broth ingredients are a great answer.

Simmer the bone broth for 2 hours. Pull out the birds and separate the meat from the bones. For beef or deer, you may need to simmer a bit longer before the meat separates from the bones.  Put the meat in a sealable container (You can add this to a recipe that calls for shredded chicken or protein or you can/freeze for later use). Place the bones back into the stock pot and continue to simmer. 

After 10-12 more hours (generally overnight) pull any bones back out and let cool on a cutting board for a few minutes. With a wooden mallet go ahead and smash up the bones to break them open. This releases the marrow as well as helps speed up the process of breaking the bones down. Place the bones and marrow back into the pot and continue to simmer on low heat for another 12-24 hours. By the end of this time, most of the bones will be broken down or not noticeable much at all unless you’re using large beef, deer, or pork bones. Your broth may be a little thick or gelatinous and that’s okay, that means you’ve got a heavy duty rich batch of fabulous bone broth. If it seems too thick simply add more water and simmer a little longer. 

Turn the heat off to your stock pot or unplug your slow cooker and allow to cool a few minutes. Now you’ll want to strain your broth from all of the other solid ingredients. I use a very large strainer I bought from an Amish community nearby but you can find some on Amazon or simply use cheesecloth.  

I strain the broth directly into sterilized glass quart jars to get ready for bottling in the pressure cooker. If preserving this way make sure you use your pressure cooker according to the manufactures directions. This is a recipe that cannot be preserved by a “hot water bath”. You must use a pressure cooker to ensure there’s no botulism or spore contamination.  

If you don’t have a pressure canner then freezing is an excellent option. Individual quart-sized containers work well and just thaw out as you need it. Personally, I like to bottle the bone broth because if the power goes out, which is common on the homestead, I won’t have to worry about losing precious food in the freezer plus it saves more space for food and items that must be frozen. 

And there you go! Enjoy your home-made bone broth like a warm cup of tea for lunch or an evening soother knowing that every ingredient is natural and packed full of needed nutrition or add to any recipe calling for chicken stock or broth. 

I’ll be adding much of this batch of bone broth to bottled chicken and wild rice soup. There will be a recipe and blog post to follow soon!

Try this out and let us know what you think!

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