The Bones Make the Broth

I was 18 living on my own in Salt Lake City and I decided I wanted a nice homemade pot of chicken soup… just like mom makes. If you haven’t read it yet, check my post If It Doesn’t Come Out of a Box or a Can, I’m Not Making It. It explains a lot about what happens next. 🙂

I had a rough idea of what to do from watching my mom. You put the chicken in the water and cook for a while, then add the veggies and seasoning, etc. Easy peasy, right?

So I went to the store and, since I didn’t feel like dealing with the mess, purchased some nice boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (you probably see where this is going already?) and some veggies. I boiled my chicken breasts in water, then added my veggies and simmered it till they were tender. I was a little put off by the lack of color in my “broth”. It didn’t smell quite like I remembered either. Then I tasted it! I could not for the life of me understand what had gone wrong! After trying to add spices and salt with no luck, I finally added bullion and choked it down. I was so disappointed, my first homemade cooked from scratch meal was a disaster!

When I called my mom for advice, she couldn’t help but laugh. Then she told me the true secret to broth was bones…

That’s it, you can add other things for a richer flavor, you can use the skins for added fat and collagen, but the bones make the broth.

I can tell you that I never made that same mistake again. And now that I am much older I have found even more uses for bone broth, and a great method for always having healthy broth on hand.

There are many reasons to make bone broth a steady part of your daily fair. Bone broth is good for gut health, it has minerals and amino acids essential for your body, collagen, and glucosamine for healthy joints, and even bolsters your immune system. For more info on the benefits of bone broth, go here.

We use our broth for the usual, soups and stews, but we also use our broth to replace water in many other cooking items such as rice, or other grains. We also drink hot cups of broth, instead of other beverages. Not as often as I would like maybe, but we’re working on it.

imageI am researching ways to continue my bone broth when I am working with a wood cook stove, rather than my ultra convenient crock pot.

Again, there are many ways to make bone broth, and many schools of thought regarding organic everything. I try not to bog myself down in too much minutiae. I most often am making broth from my home-raised chickens. Now that we have our garden going, I look forward to more of those home-grown items jumping into our crock pot. For now, I just use store-bought that I can afford. Sometimes organic, sometimes not.

Just use the ingredients you feel comfortable with.

That said, here is my ultra easy “recipe” for bone broth. I was originally inspired by Perpetual Bone Broth from Nourished Kitchen, however I don’t really use any measurements.

  1. One chicken carcass, or any other scrap bones enough to make broth.
    1. You will need to just cover the bones in water to make the broth, so you will need enough bones to make the water level such that you can fill your crock pot.
    2. I have used beef, rabbit, pork, and chicken bones for my broth so far. Beef bone broth I am told tastes better if the bones are baked or roasted first.
  2. Scrap Vegetables.
    1. The best broth veggies tend to be onions, carrots, and celery, but you don’t have to go buy them.
    2. You can use the ends of the celery bunch, onions and carrot tops. Just give them a rinse and throw them in.
    3. You can use any leftover raw veggies. Maybe they aren’t enough for a meal, or maybe the last carrots from the bag are a bit under crisp. This last time we had some greens from the garden to use up, so in they went.
    4. And I like to throw in a clove of garlic. Just toss it in whole as well. Peels and all.
  3. I cook in my crock pot on low overnight, then turn to warm.
  4. You can begin using right away, just remember to keep replacing the water as you use it and as it evaporates out.
  5. After the first 12 hours you can strain out the vegetable matter as the nutrients will now be in the broth. You won’t eat these.
  6. If you use a lot of your broth you can keep going this way for about a week, then strain the mixture so you are left with nothing but broth and either refrigerate or freeze to use later.
  7. You can then start over whenever you need more broth.

Don’t forget to compost all the leavings from your bone broth. 🙂


Note: When I first starting making bone broth I found that my broth was turning a dark brown or even black color. This was because I was allowing my broth to cook too long and I was not using enough of it to replace with water over time. If this happens to you, you can either find additional ways to use your broth, or strain it off after about 48 hours and reserve the broth for later in the refrigerator or freezer.

For other troubleshooting try this article: Five Bone Broth Mistakes – Intentionally Domestic


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