Bone broth is incredibly easy to make, and amazingly good for you. Essentially, bone broth is a homemade stock made from the bones of one animal or another. It is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals. It contains glucosamine and chondroiton and is a great source of gelatin and protein. It is flavorful, filling, and cheaper and healthier than store-bought canned, boxed, or dried stock.
It's easy to make, too!
We save all of our leftover chicken bones, whether form roasted whole chickens or smoked chicken breasts or grilled chicken thighs and leg quarters. After the bones are cleaned of meat, they go straight into a plastic (cleaned) grocery bag and tucked into the freezer. Every couple of weeks or so, I pull the bones out and thaw them a few hours on the counter. Using my big butcher knife with the bag on the cutting board, I snap the bones in two (usually this takes a good whack, and the force sometimes sends one half of the bones flying. Doing this inside the big offers me room to move, but helps keep the pieces from flying around the kitchen!).
Just look at the marrow inside there…that's where all the nutrients are hiding. Breaking the bones open helps release all the good stuff when we cook it.
The bones all go into my crock pot, along with a small splash of apple cider vinegar and any veggies I want to add…veggie scraps are perfect for this.
The acidity of the vinegar supposedly helps break down the marrow and help release it from the bones a bit better.
The crock pot gets filled with water then, and I add any herbs and spices that sound good, altough I usually don't bother, since I'll be adding spices and herbs when I use the broth anyway.
I set the crockpot on the lowest setting- for mine, it's 'Keep Warm'. That's it…I just put the lid on it and let it cook away for about 48 hours, giving a stir now and then if I think about it. Even on that low setting, the bone broth heats very well.
After 48 hours the broth is thicker, darker, and kind of ominous looking, with a layer of fat on the top.
After allowing it to cool, I strain the broth, discarding all the bones and bits. You don't want to resuse these, and you surely don't want to share the scraps with your pets- the bones are still brittle, but softened enough to splinter dangerously if they eat them.
If you wish, you can refrigerate the broth until it settles and the layer of fat on top hardens, then scoop it out and discard it, if you wish.
Store your broth in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for a week.
You can boil it on the stovetop to kill any bacteria and it will last longer- expect it to turn a milky offwhite color. This is totally normal!
You can also store it in the freezer for up to 12 weeks (you can freeze this in ice cube trays and store them in a Ziploc bag, then just pull out the amount you need). Use in place of any chicken stock or broth in a recipe, as the base for soups and stews, or as a drink by itself. Season to taste.
2-3 lbs bones from chicken or turkey carcass
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Using a butcher knife (and great care), cut bones in half, if possible.
Add any vegetable scraps, herbs, and spices to crockpot, along with apple cider vinegar.
Add enough water to cover.
Cover and cook on lowest setting 48 hours, stirring occasionally.
Cool and strain.
Store tightly covered in a glass jar in the refrigerator for one week, or in the freezer for up to 12 weeks.