Last year I started to make my own chicken and turkey broth for the very first time. When Thanksgiving came around, I snatched up the turkey bones and made so much broth that I ran out of containers. I literally started to give it away to anyone that would take it. If I can do it, you can to!
What is the difference between broth and stock? I’ve read that stock is made from the bones and broth is made from the meat. I’ve also read that broth is seasoned and stock is not. I don’t think it matters what you call it, but for this post I’m calling it broth.
Why make your own bone broth?
The number one reason to make your own broth is so that you can control what is in your broth. Some store bought broth contains MSG, which is something many people try to avoid. Store bought broth can also contain a lot of sodium.
When bone broth is made properly and with pure ingredients, it is actually quite nutritious and good for you. Bone broth helps with digestion and boost your immune system. You can read more about the benefits here.
Lastly, it is good stewardship to make bone broth. You are taking bones that would normally go straight into the trash and turning them into something nutritious you can feed your family. That is just awesome.
What you need to make bone broth:
At the bare minimum you will need chicken or turkey bones, water, a large pot or crockpot, and containers to store the stock.
You can also add carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and parsley.
How to make bone broth:
Step 1: Take all of your bones and place them in your large pot or crockpot. Cover with cold water and a splash of vinegar. Let the bones sit for 30 minutes before you start to heat the water.
The vinegar is totally optional. I learned that tip from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship. She says the vinegar helps to draw out the nutrients in the bones.
Step 2: Bring the pot of water to a boil and then let it simmer for several hours. The minimum you’ll want to simmer your pot is 4 hours. If you are using a crockpot, I recommend doing it on high for 4-6 hours or on low for at least 8 hours.
When I make my stock, I like to let it simmer for at least 8-12 hours. I’ve even done it for nearly 24 hours. Sleeping with a pot simmering on the stove is not something I was used to, but there is very little risk of scorching since the pot is full of water.
Step 3: Add veggies to increase the flavor and nutritional value. Make sure to scrub them clean. There isn’t an exact science to this, so just add whatever you have.
You can add the veggies as soon as you start to heat the water or wait until you only have an hour or two left of simmering time. Again, this is a very flexible system.
Step 4: Remove from the heat and strain the broth to remove the bones, veggies, and any other floating particles. Then set aside the stock to let it cool.
Step 5: Pour the bone broth into storage containers. I’ve used plastic yogurt containers (the big ones) and glass mason jars.
It is helpful to measure how much broth you are putting into each container. Then label the container with the date and measurement. When a recipe calls for broth, you can easily see which container you should thaw out that will have enough for your recipe.
To avoid cracks and breaking jars when freezing in glass jars, cool the bone broth completely in the fridge for a day or two to make sure it is cold before putting the jar in the freezer. It is also helpful to lay the jars on their side in the freezer. Read this article for more tips on freezing in glass jars.
Another great way to freeze broth is in ice cube trays and then pop them out into a freezer bag. I find it helpful to have cubes of broth that I can easily throw into dishes. No thawing necessary! This is the only way that Beth from Red and Honey stores her broth.
Salt or no salt? Personally, I don’t season my homemade bone broth. Since I don’t salt my broth ahead of time, sometimes I need to add extra salt to the recipes I’m making. Store bought broth usually has salt added, so you might find your dishes a little bland if you don’t compensate for that.
Don’t forget to pick off any meat that is left on the bones. Sometimes you are able to get a lot more meat off after simmering the bones for several hours.
Don’t know how to use your homemade bone broth? Start simple by using it in any recipe that you would normally use store bought broth or bouillon cubes. You can also use it in place of water when cooking rice.
The next time you roast a chicken or prepare a turkey, I hope you’ll consider giving this a try. I dare you to take a large bag over to Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving and take the bones home with you!
This is the basics of making bone broth, but if you want more detailed information about the process or the health benefits, read this post (and all the helpful links at the end) from Kitchen Stewardship.
Have you ever made your own bone broth? What are your tips?