When we talk about making bone broth, many people are timid to the idea, or concerned that they aren’t going to make it correctly. It really is about as simple as it gets. There are innumerable recipes of bone broth that require little-to-no time. Other recipes add a couple of basic steps to create more depth of flavor.
All that is necessary to make a good tasting broth, that is good for you, is 100%grass-fed bones from pastured animals. An organic label isn’t as necessary when your animals are 100% grass-fed, as they are already eating pasture-grown grasses. Do not be pulled in by marketing such as, “all natural, free-range or pastured” without qualifying what that means. Laws are such that an animal with limited pasture or range time can meet those criteria, and “all natural” allows hormones, antibiotics and similar chemicals. Bottom line - everything the animal eats and how it is raised will be factored into your broth and the health benefits you receive.
Soup bones are readily available from local grass-fed farmers. Prices may vary, so shop around. We like to purchase our products from Our Father’s Farm in Gretna, VA and Mountain Run Farm in Sedalia, VA. Health food stores often sell them, as well. Another alternative is to save your bones from meals and freeze them until you have 3-5 lbs to make your stock. When choosing your bones, use a variety of long and flat bones, knuckles and pieces with more meat attached.
When choosing what to add to your broth, it is purely a matter of preference. You can slow cook just the bones in filtered water or add vegetables and herbs for flavor. However, those on a SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) diet need stick with marrow bones and meat that doesn’t contain cartilage, as polysaccharides from the cartilage can feed a bacterial overgrowth issue. They should also refrain from using garlic or onions in the broth.
Roasting the bones before simmering adds an extra level of flavor and richness to the broth. Simply roast the bones on high heat (450°) until well caramelized - roughly 20-30 minutes. Caramelization means flavor! Be sure add any brown bits from the pan into your broth.
Recipe for Bone Broth
4-5 lbs. of soup bones (roasted or not)
1-2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
3 carrots, halved
3 stalks of celery, with leaves, halved
1-2 yellow onions, peel on and halved
4 cloves of garlic, peel on and smashed
1-2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
5 sprigs of fresh parsley
Choose your largest crock pot - I use a 10-quart pot. Fill the pot with bones and add vinegar (an acid) to help pull out important nutrients from the bone. Add in vegetables and herbs and cover with filtered water to within an inch from the top of the crockpot, saving the parsley until the last 15 minutes to add freshness.
Turn the crockpot on high until contents are boiling. Occasionally skim the surface of any impurities that rise to the top. Then set the crockpot on low and simmer for 24 hours. It is okay to simmer for up to 48 hours if you are not home to turn it off. You may need to add more water a couple of times due to evaporation.
When done, turn the crockpot off. Place a large, stainless steel bowl on the counter with a sieve on top. Ladle the broth into the sieve, straining the solid contents as you go. Discard the solids.
It is important to cool the broth soon afterward. Hot broth can take hours to cool down. Do not put it in your refrigerator hot. If using a stainless-steel bowl or a bowl able to handle going from hot to cold temperatures, fill your sink with cold water to a level a couple of inches lower than the top of your bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes. Change the water and repeat. This will cool your broth very quickly. Cover and refrigerate. A fat layer will form on the top when cold. Discard or use for cooking. Use within 3-4 days or freeze for up to a year.