Whether you have had bone broth at a friend’s house, restaurant, or packaged from the store, it is all very simple - bone broth is animal bones simmered in water over a long period of time to create a nutritious and easily-digested broth. Healing broths have been around for ages because they are so simple to make, they utilize parts of the animal like chicken frames or neck bones, and they are just plain comforting to drink. A small batch makes almost three quarts of broth, and while I have heard a lot of mixed reviews from store-bought bone broths, homemade versions tend to soar with flavor.
Drinking bone broth is delicious and soothing (especially in cold weather), and a healthy addition to your diet. Not only are you adding an extra cup of water to your day (stay hydrated, right?), but also this age-old recipe is very easy to digest, and excellent when you are sick or well. Bone broth is nutritious and good for the immune system with additions of garlic, herbs, and immunity-boosting mushrooms, and extra minerals are released from the bones with the addition of vinegar. It is also high in collagen, which is excellent for your skin, hair, bones, and joints.
In order to make a hearty, flavorful broth, it is best to use bones that have some meat left on them. Other than that, use what you like best! For this recipe I used lamb neck bones from a local farm. There was an excellent balance of bones to meat, and they were already cut across the bone, leaving me less work with the cleaver. You can just as easily make bone broth with beef bones, pork bones, chicken or turkey. The important thing is to make sure you are breaking through the bones to release the marrow and nutrients. Using a proper meat cleaver is the best way to chop through the bones.
Broths and stocks have always been an ideal way to use kitchen scraps. During broth season I will clean my carrots and celery extra well, and save the ends, tops, and trimmings. They all go into a container in the freezer that I will fill over a couple of weeks. The outer peelings of onions – between the dry onion skin and the juicy layers – will also go into the container. When it is time to make broth, bring out the vegetable scraps, and reduce the amount of fresh ingredients used, slightly.
Besides all of the different types of bones you can use, you can really build the recipe to suit. The simplest version would be bones, a touch of vinegar, and water, that’s all. If you don’t care for onions, leave them out! No bay leaves? No problem. Use whatever fresh or dried herbs you have, but start out subtle; some herbs can overpower your broth. Mushrooms are certainly optional, and I have seen versions that add sea vegetables like dried kelp, fresh ginger, or even turmeric. For vinegar, I use apple cider vinegar, but that is flexible as well. Bone broth has traditionally been made from what one has on hand, so experiment with different ingredients to make it your own.
Chop through the bones with a cleaver, and add to a stockpot. Sprinkle vinegar over the bones and cover with 1 gallon of cold water. Roughly cut the carrots, celery, and onions into large pieces, peel and smash the garlic cloves, and add to the pot. Add peppercorns, bay, fresh herbs, and mushrooms (if using). Bring to a boil, then immediately down to a low simmer. Keeping the pot covered, simmer for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours, adding a bit more water if necessary. Skim the top if it looks like it needs it.
When the broth is rich and flavorful, strain through a mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Add sea salt to taste. Transfer to wide bowls or containers and cool quickly, stirring often (and be sure to drink a fresh cup of the warm broth!). Store in the fridge, for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Makes approx. 3 quarts.
If you decide to simmer your bone broth overnight, a slow cooker is ideal. Place all ingredients in your slow cooker, cover, and cook on Low for 24 hours. Skim if needed, and finish using the directions above.
Storing Bone Broth Once the broth has been cooled quickly, I like to transfer it to large glass quart jars and half-gallon mason jars. Bone broth will last in the fridge for about a week. Keep your broth on hand for longer by freezing some as well. You can freeze in glass jars or plastic containers, just be sure to leave at a good 2” headspace to allow for expansion in the freezer. Freeze a small portion in ice cube trays, and then transfer to a bag or container for a quick addition to recipes. Always chill your broth fully in the fridge before freezing. Bone broth will last in the freezer for up to 6 months. Whichever method you choose, you will be so glad to have this delicious, nourishing broth on hand for the weeks to come!
Sienna Orlando-Lalaguna is the owner and maker behind Sienna Ceramics. She is a foodie, urban gardener, and plant-lover with a background in professional cooking. Her interest in food preservation stems from a love of local, organic produce, and a desire to extend the harvest from season-to-season. Sienna is interested in reviving the knowledge of fermentation, and bringing this ancient process back into modern communities like yours!