All About Bone Broth
Aimee's experience with bone broth:
Read the Body and Soul article below for a pretty detailed (mostly
accurate but slightly exaggerated) rundown of my experience with bone
broth and how it's massively improved my health.
As you can see, it's been a big part of my evolving health journey, and
definitely always will be. I absolutely love sharing my story with others
experiencing chronic pain and poor health to hopefully help them feel
and live better, and I've hosted quite a few comprehensive and
rewarding workshops all about bone broth in the past but because now I see so many products on the market and I know how nutritious, easy, affordable and sustainable homemade broth is, I'm making my recipe available for free here for everyone to use and hopefully benefit from.
Making Beef + Chicken Bone Broth
It's essential to source certified organic bones, to avoid glyphosate which becomes more condensed in the collagen of animals exposed to the chemical on the farm they were raised on, as opposed to the amount found in meat, which is a lot less, if any.
Once you have these, all you need then is water and apple cider vinegar.. and you're good to go!
This method takes 48-hours of cooking and is best started in the morning and ended two mornings later because there's then time needed for cooling, straining and storing. Plan for the batch to finish on a day you'll definitely have time to strain and jar it.
This recipe is in 3-parts so you can see the breakdown of what happens each of the two days.
Handy items to have
Large bowl or container
Large strainer or colander to fit inside bowl/container
Small container or bowl
Clean jars OR ice cube trays
(for a small slow cooker)
1-2 pieces of sliced grass-fed beef marrow bone
1-3 pieces mixed grass-fed beef bones (with some meat on them)
Enough water to cover the bones once they're in the slow cooker (filtered or spring is best)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Optional: egg shells
For a larger slow cooker, around 5.5L or so, add a couple more pieces of bone, more water and one more tbsp acv.
Place bones in the slow cooker, with any visible marrow facing upward (easier to scoop out and save later, trust me!), packed tightly in the bottom, ensure you leave some room for bones being added the next day, then pour water in to cover the bones along with the apple cider vinegar.
Turn the slow cooker onto Low and leave on for 24-hours. (Yes it's perfectly safe to leave the appliance on while you're out of the house and asleep, that's what they're designed for!)
Things to be aware of + tips:
The water level will drop, that's perfectly fine, this creates a condensed broth at the end.
If your slow cooker liquid is boiling, not on a gentle and low simmer, then it's too hot and will cook too high and therefore reduce down too quickly. This is, unfortunately, a common problem with new slow cooker models. If this is the case with yours, consider purchasing a timer to use to turn the appliance off every few hours, or a new slow cooker (talk to your local appliance stores, someone there should be able to assist), or do some research online for proper low heat models. I went through 2 different brands/models before finally being recommended the most recent one I had which wasn't too hot. You can get your body back or grab a replacement when a slow cooker is boiling on the Low setting.
Do not add salt!
The house will smell 'beefy' for a couple of days, so you may want to place your slow cooker in a less-often-used room in the house. You may just get used to the smell, but some members of the family may not like i
It's now 24-hours since you started the beef broth and time for the next phase!
Roasted organic chicken bones (I buy a carcass from the butcher and roast in the oven until golden brown, or use leftover bones/joints from chicken pieces we've cooked for a meal, as long as they're ORGANIC. You can freeze bones you've eaten off until you're ready to make broth)
Now simply place the chicken bones into the slow cooker, filling up as much spare room as possible then add enough water to cover all bones.
Leave on low for another 24-hours. Why? Because chicken bones are smaller and more fragile therefore should only be cooked for 24 hours to avoid over-cooking and breaking down the gelatin.
Do not be tempted to add more water in this last 24-hour period! Only add enough to cover the new bones added in.
It's now the 48-hour-ish mark and time to turn off the slow cooker and let the broth cool enough to handle.
Once the broth has cooled enough, place the large container/bowl in the sink, with the strainer sitting inside of it with the slow cooker pot placed close by (the sink is the easiest place to do this messy step, trust me!), then using tongs gently place piece by piece of bone into the strainer.
When you get to the marrow bones at the bottom use extra care to avoid the soft marrow slipping out into the mixture and falling apart - it could end up going in the bin with the bones, a tragedy! Grab a small bowl/container to transfer marrow and other meaty bits you want to keep and eat later (it's so worth it, while still warm the broth marrow and meaty bits, with pink salt sprinkled on, are so delicious!).
Once all bones are sitting in the strainer, give it a good shake so you get as much broth into the container/bowl underneath as possible, then discard the bones (I sometimes dry them outside in the sun then crush inside of a folded tea towel using a hammer/mallet/rolling pin, then add to compost bin. Or just bin them).
Carefully pour the broth from the slow cooker pot into the strainer in the container/bowl (or use a ladle if you feel more comfortable). There'll still be some bits of bones remaining which the strainer will catch. These can be discarded at the end.
Once all the broth has been strained, use the ladle to transfer it to jars. OR ice cube trays, if you don't think you'll consume a lot of broth to start with, simply freeze into ice cubes, pop out into a zip-lock bag, store in the freezer then use as many cubes as you need when you need. I used to do this but then found using jars was more suitable for us.
IMPORTANT: Do not fill jars to the very top, lave a couple of centimetres at the top to allow for expansion when frozen. If you don't do this you'll end up with shattered glass jars and a huge mess in the freezer or fridge!
The fat will rise to the surface and stay there, even once refrigerated or frozen, then thawed again. You need some of this fat when you consume broth and it acts as a seal/lid in the fridge until it's been cracked for the first use (which at that point you can place a lid on the jar if you like, I never do) so don't get rid of it.
Your bone broth is ready to consume and enjoy! Well done!
Place one jar in the fridge and the rest in the freezer, then pop one from the freezer into the fridge as you're about to run out of the jar in the fridge - that's if you're going to be drinking/using it regularly.
After a few hours, or overnight, the broth in the fridge should become gelatinous and jelly-like. If you followed my steps and ended up with a condensed, golden brown liquid, the 'upside down spoon test' should work a treat ... you get a spoonful of cold broth, turn it upside down, and it stays in place!
How long does it last in the fridge?
About as long as good quality meat does... a fair few days. And when it's 'off' you'll know. It has a very distinct smell as soon as it's turned, and it starts to appear runny on the surface. This means you've used too large a jar for how much you were able to use, or you simply took too long to use it. Either way, throw it out.
How to use bone broth?
To drink it, which is my preferred method and how you'll get the most benefit from it, simply heat some in a small saucepan until it's warmed through (not boiling, as that can damage the gelatin), add some pink salt, stir well, pour into a glass, add a smidge of cool/room temp water if you like (sometimes it's good to start with diluting broth to drink, especially if the smell or taste freaks you out a little), then drink!
IMPORTANT: some fat needs to be included with broth to allow it to 'work properly' in the body so ensure SOME fat is included every time you drink or cook with it, but you don't need much and can discard of some of the 'fat cap' if you like. Some people can't stomach a lot of fat in their broth, others can, it's an individual thing.
Or use in cooking to replace stock. Easy!
Why I don't use veggie?
I started out making broth with the standard stock veggies included (onion, carrot, celery) and thought "it just tastes like stock from a packet" which I didn't like. So I decided to leave the veg out the next batch I made and I loved the flavour so I stuck with that method. You don't need veg in there unless you prefer the flavour. If you eat plenty of vegetables the rest of the day as I do, then you don't need to add them to your broth for nutritional benefit. And it takes up important bone and water roo in the slow cooker!
Most people who've tried my recipe prefer it to the method using veggies, but once every so often someone says they'd rather the 'stock' flavour. That's fine! But try my recipe and see what you think!
Why do I suggest roasting the chicken bones?
Because it tastes so much nicer than if raw chicken bones are added. Some people even roast their beef bones before brothing, but I find that makes the flavour way too rich and 'meaty'. Also by adding the roast chicken and not making it 100% beef broth, it reduces the overall intensity of flavour and balances it out. AND a bonus is chicken broth is great for respiratory issues (hence, chicken soup for cold and flu) so you get that added benefit. Yay!
How was that? Easy to do? It may seem like a complicated recipe but really once you've done it once, it's quick and easy. I just wanted to ensure you had all the info initially because when people first make broth they have a zillion questions. Hopefully I've covered them all for you here.