How to Make Healing Bone Broth

Bone broth is one of those amazing super foods that can restore the body by healing the gut lining. It used to be a staple in the American diet a century ago, maybe even in your great grandmother’s kitchen. Thankfully, after decades of hearing about nothing but processed food, real whole foods like bone broth are gaining in popularity once again. From private residences to community gatherings, people are recognizing the benefits. You can even buy a cup at a bone broth bar in some cities across the country. We are fortunate to have Broth Bar in the “get back to nature” city of Portland.

In our home, bone broth is something we make weekly and drink almost daily, even in the summer time. But it’s especially nourishing this time of year during the cold winter months. Sometimes we drink it plain, but often times we eat it as soup with vegetables or cook it into main dishes. I originally started consuming broth as a way to heal my digestive condition, food sensitivities, skin problems, and adrenal and thyroid imbalances. It’s a major component of healing diets like GAPS and SCD and is popular in some circles of the Paleo movement as well. (I’ve personally been on the GAPS program for over three years now, and seen slow but continuous improvement in my health.)

How to Make Healing Bone Broth

Why should you like bone broth?

I can hear you saying, what the big deal? It’s just bones and water.

Good question!

Science is now demonstrating what our great-grandmothers knew all along – think homemade chicken soup! Bone broth has amazing healing properties, especially if prepared from grass-fed pastured animals. To learn more, I recommend the book Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World. Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel, PhD, describe the history and folklore of broth, how it can successfully treat and sometimes cure common ailments, and lists pages and pages of nurturing broth and soup recipes. Here are just a few advantages of bone broth.                                         

  • Immediately absorbed (that’s why it’s so beneficial for people with malabsorption problems in digestive conditions like IBS, ulcers, celiac and Crohn’s disease)
  • Improves digestion by drawing water into the gut
  • Normalizes HCl (stomach acid) levels
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Heals the intestinal gut lining
  • Rich in minerals (phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, potassium), fatty acids (glycine, proline), marrow (chondroitin, glucosamine), and gelatin
  • Gluten-free, grain-free, and a wonderful food for people on a healing diet
  • Easy to prepare
  • Economical compared to buying from grocery store

beef bones uncooked

Where do you find bones?

When looking for bones from pastured animals, your best bet is to find a local source from a farmer or rancher. Ask your real-foodie friends, browse your local farmers’ market, or go to Eat Wild for a list of local farms in your area. If you live in the Northwest, there are many options.

Note: I featured beef bones in these photos, but the same principles apply to all types of bone broth, whether you choose meat or poultry.

What’s incredibly sad is that bones are often thrown away when animals are slaughtered. The health benefits go to waste! That’s why you can usually purchase boxes and boxes of bones inexpensively when sourcing from a local farm. (We bought our last box of beef bones for $1 per pound.)

** Broth Tip – Buy an extra freezer to store your bulk bone purchases. Use them up over the course of a year.

The second best choice is to go to the meat counter at your local butcher shop or real food store (like New Seasons or Whole Foods here in the NW) and ask for grass-fed bones. They will charge you quite a bit more per pound. That’s why I recommend finding a local farm first.

** Broth Tip – If you can find bones that have a little bit of meat left on them, it adds more flavor to the broth. Or, add some beef ribs or oxtail to your pot, as shown in the photo below.

beef ribs and oxtail uncooked

How do you make bone broth?

Bone broth has three basic ingredients: bones (preferably from pastured animals), clean filtered water, and an acid medium (vinegar). Herbs, vegetables, and salt are optional. However, I believe broth has more flavor when you add a good quality sea or Himalayan salt from the beginning.

** Broth Tip – Some experts say that beef bones should be browned in the oven first. It is not necessary and only done for “taste.” It does not make the broth healthier. We have never taken the time to brown our bones.

beef bones in slow cooker uncooked

Here is a basic bone broth recipe. For more flavor, some people prefer to add herbs (rosemary, thyme, and parsley) and vegetables (carrots, onions, and celery), but I usually don’t at this stage. I add herbs and veggies later when I make soup from the broth.

  1. Place pastured animal bones (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, or duck) into a large slower cooker, stock pot, or pressure cooker.
  2. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar, less if using a small pot. We use apple cider vinegar. (Don’t skip this step. The vinegar draws the healthy minerals out of the bones!)
  3. Add salt to taste. (Optional)
  4. Cook for at least 8 hours on low between 180 – 212 degrees. We usually allow our chicken and turkey bone broth to simmer for 24 hours (after that, it can begin to sour). We cook our beef bones for longer, at least 48 hours and sometimes 72.

** Broth Tip – Some slow cooker pots cook too hot and destroy the gelatin. (You can discover this by allowing the broth to cool and watching for it to “gel” in the refrigerator.) If you lost the gelatin, you can add it back in. Add 1 tablespoon of powdered gelatin per cup of broth when it’s hot. Radiant Life or Great Lakes Beef Gelatin or are quality sources of gelatin.

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How to Make Healing Bone Broth
 
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Cook time
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Author:
Ingredients
  • Bones (preferably from pastured animals)
  • Clean filtered water
  • Acid medium (vinegar)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Herbs and vegetables (optional)
Directions
  1. Place pastured animal bones (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, or duck) into a large slower cooker, stock pot, or pressure cooker.
  2. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar, less if using a small pot. We use apple cider vinegar.
  3. Add salt to taste. (optional)
  4. Cook for at least 8 hours on low between 180 – 212 degrees. We usually allow our chicken and turkey bone broth to simmer for 24 hours (after that, it can begin to sour). We cook our beef bones for longer, at least 48 hours and sometimes 72.

beef bones and broth in slow cooker cooked

** Broth Tip – If you broth turns out too heavy or thick for your liking (because of fatty bones), just add water to make it thinner. Before making a soup, take half of the broth out of the pot and store it in the refrigerator. It will last about a week. Then add the water and vegetables to finish cooking your soup.

How do you make soup from scratch?

Making homemade soup is very similar to making broth, with just a few extras steps. Here is a basic soup recipe.

  1. Place a whole chicken or beef bones with meat still attached into a slow cooker pot or stock pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water.
  3. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar, less if using a small pot.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of sea salt.
  5. Cook for at least 8 hours (or overnight).
  6. Remove all the meat and bones and set aside. When cooled, pull apart or chop the meat into bite-sized pieces. If it’s a large chicken, then use half of the meat for other meals.
  7. Add chopped vegetables to the broth and cook until tender, usually 6-10 hours, depending on how hot your pot cooks. (Use a combination of carrots, onions, celery, cabbage, turnips, rutabagas, summer or winter squash, potatoes, greens, and herbs. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic are delicious individually or in careful combination. Try one herb at a time at first.)
  8. In the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking, place the meat back in the pot to warm. Serve and enjoy!

If you’ve never tried making your own broth, be brave! It may sound intimidating, but it’s really not that difficult. With some practice, your efforts will reward you with delicious soups and meals, and if consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet, even healing!

Please share your bone broth stories below, especially if you’ve experienced health benefits. I always like reading your comments.

This entry was posted in Celiac Disease, Digestion, GAPS, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Real Food, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How to Make Healing Bone Broth

  1. This looks fantastic!! I love bone broth- its good for the soul!

  2. I love sipping on bone broth. This definitely reminds me that I need to put a batch in the slow cooker this weekend!
    Erin @ Platings and Pairings recently posted…Fennel & Salami BitesMy Profile

  3. I love homemade broth, especially this time of year
    Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife recently posted…Food Bliss: Afternoon Tea Debuts at Hotel deLuxeMy Profile

  4. Dawne says:

    I have tried to do this before and I just couldn’t stomach it…But your recipe looks a little different and worth a shot. thanks for the share

    http://www.dawnehanks.com

  5. Mary says:

    This is a good tutorial. Thanks for sharing! I love making broth.

  6. I love bone broth! And I can say first hand how healing it is! Its the perfect remedy for cold, flu, etc. I haven’t had nasty medicine in over a year since sipping this stuff!
    Alexandra Rood @alichat recently posted…Holiday Gift Guide: Mini Gifts and Stocking StuffersMy Profile

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