If I told you that one inexpensive food item could improve digestion, help your hair and nails grow faster and stronger, reduce inflammation and joint pain, boost your immune system, re-mineralize your teeth, improve your allergies and strengthen your brain tissue, would you buy it? Probably if it were a pill, but it’s not. If I told you that our great-grandparents probably had this almost every day, would you be surprised? It’s broth. Real soup stock, made from boiling bones and vegetables.
I know it sounds kind of gross, because you’ll be boiling bones or a whole chicken carcass, but once you can get over the “ick” factor, it’s pretty amazing. You are probably already buying chicken and beef broth or stock at the store, and most of them are loaded with sodium. The best part is that it is really easy and really inexpensive.
Read this article to find out more about bone broth and how it is made. I made mine with beef bones that I bought at Sprouts. They were already frozen from when the butchers there had prepared other parts of the animal. They are labeled as “soup bones” and usually are leg bones: femur or hip area. They aren’t gross. I roasted them in the oven as suggested in the article, and then let them sit for half an hour with real apple cider vinegar and water to make the nutrients more absorbable. Then I turned the crock pot on and added water, carrots, onions, and a handful of herbs from my garden (sage, rosemary, oregano, lavender). I wanted to add parsley, because it sounded good, but the author said something about adding it in the last 30 minutes, and I forgot. In any case, I cooked it in the crock pot for 48 hours (on high for the first day, then low because that seemed like too much heat). It is deeply brown, shimmery and fragrant. The flavor is INTENSE. I used it to make a taco soup tonight and it was delicious. Next I plan on roasting a whole chicken and making chicken stock.
My crock pot is a large one (Hamilton Beach Stay and Go) and this batch of 2.5 lb. bones, one onion, and water to the top made enough broth to fill one whole large mason jar (pictured), another large jar 3/4 full, and about 4 cups into tonight’s soup. I froze one jar and have the other in the fridge for meals this week.