Warning: this post contains images of raw animal bones that might offend some. The purpose of this post is to inform people about all aspects of bone broth; it isn’t intended to offend people.
The highly revered, much spoken about liquid gold that is so celebrated in the paleo and primal world. Sooner or later on your paleo journey, you’ll find yourself comfortable and secure with the lifestyle and dietary changes you’ve made, and ready for the next step. You’ll find yourself ready (and willing) to take on the task of making your own bone broth. This was how I felt.
I knew that bone broth was good for you and could be incredibly useful in both one’s cooking arsenal and gut health, and so I took the leap and started making my own bone broth about nine months into paleo. Only, it wasn’t such a big and complicated step as I had expected and had built up in my head: it was actually incredibly simple. All I needed was the right equipment (which I had), and the right ingredients (which were easily bought, even in my neck of rural Scotland). Something that seemed so intricate and complicated, like something out of the kitchen of a Parisian, 5-star restaurant, was actually very easy and practical to make. So easy, it can literally be thrown together in 10 minutes.
So, why the big deal about bone broth?
Because it’s a great source of collagen and glutamine – excellent for gut health – and it’s loaded with minerals, boosting one’s immunity. It’s also a good source of electrolytes, making it a go-to post-workout, or even mid-workout option – after all, it is available in some ironman distance triathlons. Bone broth is also an integral part of Autoimmune Protocol paleo because of its healing compounds. I remember once when I had the flu, my mom gave me a cup of chicken broth to drink, to help move my bug along; little did I know the effect that cup of steaming, hot liquid had.
From a cooking perspective, bone broth is packed with umami, and gives flavour and depth to dishes. There is very much an earthy, comforting taste about it. Pat says everything we make with it just tastes so homemade, like something your gran would make. Bone broth can contain some umami ingredients, like fish sauce and dried mushrooms, both of which are easy to get at your local grocery store, (just make sure the fish sauce doesn’t contain gluten). The reason I actually started making bone broth was for cooking: I was making recipes that required it and wasn’t so keen to use stock cubes anymore. Then , I discovered its other benefits.
Where do I get my bones?
The process of accumulating your bones can take time, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself with too many! Your bones must be raw so you can extract all the collagen from them during the cooking process. They can be either chicken, pork or beef bones from any part of the animal. You can also use a combination of all three animal bones, as long as they make up the weight needed in the recipe you use. One way to accumulate bones is by saving them from when you de-bone meat. I save chicken bones from when I de-bone thighs or cut a bird into pieces and have the back bones left over. Another way is buying them from your local butcher, preferably ordering them a few days in advance. My butcher, which sells only grass-fed beef, has plenty. In fact, a lot of butchers here save bones for people to buy for their dogs! In the past, I have ordered 5lbs of assorted raw bones to pick up the day after meat is delivered, which is Wednesdays.
Another great bone to use is actually chicken feet!!!! And chicken heads! Unfortunately, due to EU regulations, chicken feet are left on the slaughter room floor here and not available to purchase from butchers in the UK (and probably all EU countries?). I have seen some here frozen at an Asian grocery store though. Your choice about using those! You can also make broth from fish bones, but because they’re much lighter in weight, you’ll need much more, which can take time to accumulate.
I’ve also seen eggshells used by putting them on top of the liquid. They boost the broth’s calcium content, and are easily disposed once you strain the liquid to store.
I can accumulate bones quite quickly, and I wrap them in plastic to store them in a drawer, in my freezer. When I’ve got enough for a recipe, I pull them out to thaw then make the broth.
How do I make it?
Pick a recipe, get a stock pot, slow cooker or pressure cooker, get your bones and the rest of your ingredients and get started! It’s literally as simple as throwing all the ingredients together into your cooking vessel, pouring water over top, covering with the lid and setting it to low. For hours upon hours, upon hours – up to 72 if you want.
See my round-up below of bone broth recipes to choose from.
A trouble shooting tip: if by chance you’ve let your unstrained beef broth cool to room temperature, thus resulting in the cooked, Kelly-like bone marrow still in the bones, have no fear – that precious commodity isn’t lost! DON’T just take the bones out, marrow and all, and chuck them. Heat the entire batch until boiling, then coax the remaining jelly out and into the broth, stirring well. Remove from heat, strain, then leave to cool to room temperature. Never get rid of the marrow.
Now that my bone broth is made, how do I store it?
After straining it into a large bowl, let it cool down to room temperature to store it. I freeze all of mine, in either 900 mL quantities for my Hamburger Soup, in a plastic tub), or smaller 50 mL quantities to add to sauces, stews, chillis, curries and braising kale. All are stored in the freezer for me to grab one or more whenver I need them. I used this article from Nom Nom Paleo as a guide.
Only store the broth in the fridge if you have intentions of using it immediately! It goes bad very quickly, and all that time, effort and nutrients will be wasted.
What can I do with my bone broth?
You can also drink it as is, from a mug, which is great on a cold day, after a long run or race. I will warm you that the strong taste isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for a cup of straight broth, other times, not at all. It just depends.
In my latest blog post, I mentioned that "I hate the smell of bone broth and have yet to drink it." That statement is now only a half truth: I still hate the smell of it when it's cooking, but this past weekend I've had two small mugs of the stuff to help me get over a cold + horrible phlegmy cough. Not only does the stuff taste amazing, but my illness is going away. Plus, it's a great thing to have after running 14.5 miles of trails in rural Scotland.
But that smell!
I know: the smell of bone broth simmering is disgusting interesting shall we say. After 24 hours, everything in immediate vicinity to your kitchen will smell of bone broth. I have gotten used to the smell, but it’s something I don’t love, and have resorted to slow cooking my broth in my laundry room, behind a closed door.
It’s a very strong, permeating smell verging on off-putting, but trust me, the taste of bone broth isn’t nearly as strong.
Right, I’m convinced. Which recipe do I use?
Why not try one of the many listed below!
Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth from Comfort Bites
How to Make Bone Broth from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy
7 Day Bone Broth from Real Food RN
Chicken Feet Bone Broth from Real Food RN
Nourishing Bone Broth Made Easy from Gutsy By Nature
How to Make Chicken Bone Broth (in the crock pot or pressure cooker) from Real Food Outlaws
How to Make Your Own Healing Bone Broth with Beef Bones from Eat Your Beets
Tutorial Tuesday: Broth and Stock and Bones from Paleo Parents
Beef Bone Broth from Predominantly Paleo by Jennifer Robins
Nip that Cold in the Bed Naturally + Bone Broth Recipe from What Great Grandma Ate
Simple Bone Broth from Paleo Flourish Magazine
How to Make Bone Broth from Primally Inspired
How I Make Bone Broth from Zenbelly
5 Tips for Awesome Bone Broth (and a Sure Fire Chicken Broth Recipe) from Whole New Mom
How to Make Gelatin-Rich Bone Broth from Hollywood Homestead
Forget Botox! Drink Bone Broth for Amazing Skin from Hollywood Homestead
Paleo Bone Broth from Paleo Gone Sassy
Homemade Bone Broth from Rubies and Radishes
How to Make Bone Broth (and why you should!) from How We Flourish
Chicken Bone Broth (a recipe for instant pot) from I Heart Umami
Nourishing Chicken Bone Broth from Raising Generation Nourished
Nourishing Beef Bone Broth from Raising Generation Nourished
Do you bone broth?
How do you use bone broth?