Bone broth is not only a popular base for soups and stews, but also reductions, sauces and braising meats and vegetables. It is primarily made from bones and connective tissue of fish or animals. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll discover its versatility – you can use it in any dish that calls for almost any vegetable or meat to be cooked in liquid. It’s flavourful and you can even drink it straight.
Bone broths are simple to prepare at home and are inexpensive (the cost of bones is usually under $2/lb).
Broth has always been considered a healing food, especially if you consider the tradition of eating chicken soup when you’re sick with a cold – Jennifer McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen
Popular Stock Method of Cooking Broth
Bone broth needs to be slow cooked to allow for the release of nutrients from the bones. If you don’t have a slow cooker or pressure cooker, you can make bone broth the way your grandmother or great grandmother would have done it: in a regular stainless steel stock pot. Use the largest pot on hand to make a big batch and freeze for later.
Depending on which bones you choose, you’ll have to simmer for different lengths of time:
Beef, pork or lamb: 48 hours
Chicken or Turkey: 24 hours
Fish: 8 hours
- Grass fed, quality bones: as little or as many as you wish—2 lbs is a good starting point, either frozen or thawed
- Filtered water
- 1–2 tbsp Organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- Stainless steel stock pot
1. Place your bones (at least 2 lbs) in the stock pot with 1–2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2. Cover with filtered water leaving an inch of room at the top
3. Place the pot on high heat until boiling
4. Upon boiling, switch to low heat and simmer for the recommended time depending on type of bones as mentioned above. You can skim the foam/ impurities at the top as it’s simmering
5. Allow it to cool and store. When it cools you may notice a layer of fat at the top, which you can choose to remove and discard
6. Enjoy, use it in a recipe, or store for later
- Seasoning can be done towards the end of cook time. Fresh herbs, spices and onions can be added in the last 10 minutes.
- Do not add any salt to the broth itself. If you’re planning to reduce the broth to make soups or sauces, you may end up with a high salt content. Salt should only be added to the finished product, not the broth.
- Once your broth is cooked, place the pot into a sink of cold water to allow it to cool quickly, to reduce bacterial growth. You can keep broth in the fridge for one week. Be sure to note its smell – it will need re-boiling if it smells off.
Vegetable peels will be the base of your soup instead of animal bones if you’re vegetarian. Collect all organic vegetable peels and freeze them. To learn how to make a hearty vegetable soup with vegetable broth, see Dylan Stein Acupuncture’s post “A vegetarian version of bone broth“.
The popularity of bone broth has spiked in the past few years. There is an abundance of media coverage filled with its purported health benefits. The truth is there’s little evidence to support those claims. Researchers from Harvard Medical School have addressed some of these claims. See “What’s the scoop on bone soup?” for further details.