Fall is definitely here now and winter is fast approaching.
As the days get colder, I have a tendency to crave warm beverages and drink them all through the day. In the morning, you couldn’t pry me away from my much needed cup(s) of coffee, but in the afternoon, I like to switch to green tea or even better yet, bone broth!
Not only is bone broth delicious, but it’s also super good for you!
As the bones simmer for a very, very long time, all the collagen in the animal bones is broken down and released into the broth, supplying it with an abundance of protein, antioxidants, and amino acids, which helps heal your gut lining and improve your immune system.
Not only that, but a large amount of healthy vitamins and minerals also get released into the broth, making it rich in glucosamine, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Bone broth is a natural healer that can help fight infections and will greatly aid digestion. It does marvelous things to your skin, nails, hair, teeth and bones!
I could go on and on about the benefits of bone broth, but I’ll let you read for yourself and get busy showing you how to make it, instead!
To make bone broth, you can use basically any kind of bones that you can get your hands on, i.e oxtail, knuckles, neckbones, short ribs, and even marrow. The most commonly used variety would be beef, but you could very well use chicken bones, or those of any other animal, really. Lamb bones produce an exquisitely fragrant broth, just saying…
As much as possible though, when making broth from bones, you want to try and use bones that come from well sourced, organically raised, pastured or grass-fed animals.
Animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) tend to produce broths that don’t gel… Not only that, but you’d also end up injecting all of the nasties that they’ve been fed into your broth. Not ideal…
So yeah, as much as possible, stick to the well sourced bones.
Oh, and don’t forget to add a touch of love, too! That will totally make anything better…
To start, preheat your oven to 400°F; place the bones in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan and roast them for 60 minutes, flipping each bone over half way through cooking.
Personally, I prefer not to add any salt or pepper to my bone broth and to season it only when I actually use it; I find it gives me better control over how much to add, depending on what I use it for.
If you preferred to give your broth a little bit of a pre-seasoning treatment, I suggest that you do it here: simply sprinkle your bones generously with salt and pepper before roasting them.
Make sure that you DO roast the bones, though; this is an absolute crucial step! Not only will it give the bones a beautiful golden color but it will also fill them with TONS of flavor, two highly desirable characteristics that they will make sure to pass down to the broth…
Seriously, I mean it. Don’t ever skip this step: you’ll be sorry you did!
While your bones are in the oven, roughly chop the vegetables and place them, along with the bay leaf and apple cider vinegar into a 6 quart slow cooker.
These will be discarded later so you don’t have to be precise or even with your vegetable chopping! Don’t even bother peeling them, either, especially not the onion: onion peel greatly contributes in giving broths a nice deep golden color!
As for the apple cider vinegar, fear not: it will not confer a vinegary taste to your broth. In fact, you won’t even be able to taste it at all. The reason for adding it is that it helps in drawing more of the good stuff from the bones.
As soon as your bones come out of the oven, add them to the pot so they can join the party…
…and then fill the pot completely with water.
Don’t be afraid to let that water level get fairly high! The broth will never get to boil violently; rather, it will simmer very gently for a very, very long time, so there’s no danger of it boiling over.
Just maybe leave about an inch at top and you will be fine!
Set the slow cooker on low, cover and cook for 18 to 36 hours, or until the broth has reached a beautiful brown color and has filled the house with the most intoxicating aroma.
A simmering time of 24 hours is recommended to draw the maximum amount of goody good stuff out of the bones, but if that’s too long for you, 18 hours will still yield very satisfactory results.
Of course, if you can afford to go even longer than 24 hours, by all means, go for it. The longer you can leave it on, the better!
Once the broth is done to your liking, carefully remove the larger pieces with a slotted spoon and place them in a strainer set over a large bowl to collect the excess broth.
You’ll be surprised at how much liquid gold actually drips out of these scraps. You can also press them down a little, to help get even more of the precious liquid out of there.
Once that’s done, you can discard all of this. It’s done its thing, trust me!
Although if you’re anything like me, you probably won’t be able to resist munching on one or two of those WAY overcooked and so-super-mushy-makes-you-wonder-how-it-is-that-they-can-still-hold-their-shape carrots. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about them that I just can’t seem to resist…
Once you’re done dealing with the larger pieces (and munching on them mushy carrots), strain the broth that’s still in the crockpot, using a fine meshed sieve this time, to catch even the tiniest of debris.
If you didn’t have such a sieve, you could also use a regular strainer and line it with with a few layers of cheesecloth.
Now, I don’t think I need to be telling you this, but still… be extremely careful when you do this since the bowl, as well as its content, will be extremely hot.
Finally, transfer your bone broth into individual jars and refrigerate promptly.
You don’t even need to put a lid on at this point, as the fat will float to the surface and form a protective barrier that will prevent air from getting in contact with your broth.
Once the broth has fully cooled, you’ll be able to to remove some or all of that fat layer, which you’ll then be able to use for cooking if you want to (which I strongly recommend that you do: this stuff has TONS of flavor!)
Just look at that amazing jell’o broth!
Of course, you’re going to want to reheat your broth before you use it or drink it.
I like my broth piping hot with a pinch of salt and pepper, and a tiny little bit of freshly chopped parsley.
Oh, and a little hint of love, too! Let’s not forget the love!
Now, despite it being super easy to make, sometimes you just don’t have the time to whip up a fresh batch of bone broth.
There are a few brands of pre-made broths on the market, but my personal favorite is Kettle & Fire’s ready made grass-fed beef bone broth. These guys use the best organic ingredients and grass-fed bones, which provide the richest beef flavor.
It couldn’t hurt to keep a few of these boxes in your pantry at all times, just in case… You never know when it may save your life! Plus, they’ve kindly provided a 15% promotion code for first time orders: just use “THEHEALTHYFOODIE15” on their online store.
So stock up on some of the pre-made stuff for emergencies, but when time permits, make some of your own!
You’ll be so glad you did…
- 3-4 lbs of mixed beef bones (oxtail, knuckles, neckbones and/or short ribs)
- 2 medium carrots
- 3 celery stalks
- 2 medium onions
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 10-12 cups water
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Place the bones in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan; roast for 60 minutes, flipping each bone over half way through cooking time.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop the vegetables (don't even bother peeling them) and place them, along with the bay leaf and apple cider vinegar into a 6 quart slow cooker. Add the bones as soon as they come out of the oven and then fill the pot completely with water.
- Set the slow cooker on low, cover and cook for 18 to 36 hours, or until the broth has reached a beautiful brown color and has filled the house with the most intoxicating aroma.
- Carefully remove the larger pieces with a slotted spoon and place them in a strainer set over a large bowl to collect the excess broth. Then, strain the broth that's still in the crockpot through a fine meshed sieve, or through a strainer that's been lined with cheesecloth.
- Transfer the bone broth into jars and refrigerate promptly. The fat will float to the surface and form a protective barrier that will prevent air from getting in contact with your broth.
- Once the broth has fully cooled, you'll be able to to remove some or all of that fat layer of fat that formed at the top, which you'll then be able to use for cooking.