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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Benefits of BONE BROTH & How to Make and Use it


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Confession: I used to ALWAYS used boxed or canned broth and avoided attempting to make homemade Bone Broth for a long time (just like you, perhaps?).

Bone Broth - does making bone broth sound a little scary and complicated to anyone else?

I KNOW! I was always too intimidated to give it a try, too.


I loved the idea of homemade Bone Broth, especially after discovering Whole30 and reading their book It Starts with Food - very interesting read! NOT just another “diet” book. They really explain their reasoning (with scientific backing) for their 30 day food plan - and they RAVE about Bone Broth.

Regardless of whether you have heard of, care about, or agree with Whole30, Bone Broth is a good idea for ANYONE!

Folks who make Bone Broth often RAVE about getting their bone broth to “gel” or it becoming “gelatinous” - that is a GREAT THING! That “gel" comes from the collagen in the bones breaking down and making your broth a darn SUPER FOOD!

Wait, what? Gel? What does that mean & why is that good? Why can’t I just buy the box from the store?! 

READ more about the benefits of bone broth from Whole30’s Bone Broth FAQ!


Seriously, save ALL of your bones.

Recently, I made Whole Pressure Cooker Chicken - YUM! I put all the bones in a gallon size freezer bag and stored it in the freezer. I made a recent batch of oven roasted bone-in chicken breasts. I added the bones to the same freezer bag to build up my "stash”.

My husband and I had porterhouse steaks yesterday - I started a beef bone freezer bag.

My friend made bone in prime rib for Christmas - she saved her bones.

Get it?


Once you have a good amount, put that bone stash to good use! 

This delicious, nutritious, healing bone broth took maybe 5 minutes of hands on prep time, and the push of a couple buttons. Literally, that is it!

In a pressure cooker, it takes about 90-120 minutes. On the stove or in a crock pot, about 8-12 hours.

Bone Broth - How to Make It

Essential tools

If making pressure cooker bone broth, you need a Pressure Cooker!*
*90-120 minute cook time

If using a slow cooker, make sure it has a 6 quart or larger capacity like this Cuisinart Multi-functional Slow Cooker**
**8-12 hour cook time

 If using your stove top, make sure to use a large stock pot**
**8-12 hour cook time

Large strainer - I LOVE this Bellmain Microperforated 5 qt strainer

Storage for broth - Mason Jars, good tupperware, heavy duty freezer bags, ice cube trays, etc

Essential Ingredients

2-3 lbs bones
8 cups Water
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon*

*Adding an acid helps extract minerals from the bones, per Whole30.
I prefer a squeeze of lemon.


Aromatics - vegetables, herbs and spices - are meant to flavor the broth. Aromatics are added at the beginning of cooking broth and will be strained out when done, so no worries about them getting mushy or over cooked. 
Because Aromatics help flavor the broth, add things you like!
Avoid things that can get bitter.
For herbs, fresh really is best.

Recommended Aromatics (not all-inclusive)

Bay Leaves

Aromatics to AVOID

Brussel Sprouts
Greens - collards, kale, mustard

Recommendations on Bones

Do not mix - some people do this, and you can if you want.
However, it will change the flavor. Don’t expect chicken broth if you’ve added beef bones…

For richer broth, roast bones on a sheet pan first in the oven at 350ºF for about an hour. You don’t have to do this, so feel free to skip. I skip this step unless I am using beef bones.

Re-use your bones! You can make a 2nd batch with the same bones (not the same aromatics though - use fresh). Your 2nd batch may not be quite as rich as your first batch, but it’ll be richer than that store bought carton!


To pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stove top stock pot, add bones, aromatics and water to completely cover and allow about an inch or two of extra water over bones and aromatics. Typically, this is about 8-9 cups (which is a perfect amount for my 6 qt Instant Pot Pressure Cooker).
If you add too much water, your broth won’t be as rich as it can be, and it might not “gel”.

Fill pot 2/3’s of the way to max, MAX! 
This is especially important if you are using a pressure cooker - you don’t want any liquid to escape from the vent valve on your pressure cooker lid (& if there is too much liquid, your pressure cooker may never actually come to pressure)

NOTICE salt is not on the list of aromatics - feel free to add a little, but I prefer to salt my broth when I am ready to use it for a recipe, or just to sip. Salt to taste at that time.

For Pressure Cooker: Place lid on pressure cooker. Close vent knob. On Instant pot, turn vent knob to “Sealing”. Choose High Pressure setting and adjust cook time to 90-120 minutes.
If making poultry bone broth, cook for 90 minutes on High Pressure
If making beef bone broth, cook for 120 minutes on High Pressure

When cook time is complete, allow pot to naturally release pressure (NPR) for at least 15 minutes. Full natural release will likely take 30-40 minutes due to the contents.

Open lid and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then strain out aromatics. 

Allow broth to cool before storing in tupperware, freezer bags, ice cube trays, etc.

For Slow Cooker or Stove Top: Place lid on pot. Select Low setting on slow cooker, or Low heat on stove top. Cook on Low for at least 8-12 hours.
If making poultry bone broth, cook at least 8 hours on Low
If making beef bone broth, cook at least 12 hours on Low

Open lid and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then strain out aromatics. 

Allow broth to cool before storing in tupperware, freezer bags, ice cube trays, etc.

More Benefits of Bone Broth

After Broth Cools

Picture from Kitchen Stewardship

You may notice your broth “gel”

This is a very GOOD thing! Do not be alarmed, be happy. Whole30 talks more about this gelatin, which comes from collagen in the bones. 

“Gel" is a good thing, for you and your broth!

Didn’t get that “gel” effect? Perhaps you didn’t use enough bones, or used too much water. Bones with more cartilage (like chicken feet for example) will provide more collagen, therefore more “gel”.

Typically, poultry broth “gels” easier than beef. Some folks add a couple chicken feet to their beef bones to up their ante on the gel!

If it doesnt gel, should I throw it out?

Noooooo! Please, no. It is still nutritious & delicious. Use every drop!

But wait, I have to eat gel? I dont think so... Have no fear, you don’t have to eat gel… it will loosen up and melt completely once reheated and/or used in your favorite recipe.

You may notice a fatty layer rise to the top of your broth

This is totally normal!

It’s called Tallow if from beef, Pork Lard if from pork, Duck Fat if from duck, and Chicken Fat or Schmaltz if from chicken.

If you’ve used quality bones, most people scrap this off and save it to use as cooking fat in the future (ever heard of duck fat fries? Yum! And now I digress…)

Some leave a little fat in their broth for fat content and “mouth feel” - this is totally up to you, it will completely melt when reheated.

I have heard people call this fat “liquid gold” - it is quite expensive to buy at specialty stores!


How to Use your Bone Broth

Soup/Stew: certainly the most common, I would imagine

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (recipe coming soon), made from leftover Whole Pressure Cooker Chicken and homemade Bone Broth (made from leftover bones from the Whole Pressure Cooker Chicken!)

Sipping: some folks are all about sipping bone broth, perhaps even every single day as part of their diet. The health benefits are something you can explore - Whole30 talks about this!

Braising liquid: Ever cook a pot roast or brisket? Likely you needed to add a braising liquid!

Steaming / Cooking Liquid: use for steaming vegetables, making rice, or in any recipe that calls for a “splash” of cooking liquid (stir fry, sauces, etc)

Sauce / Gravy: Reduce bone broth by simmering or adding thickener such as cornstarch/water slurry or butter/flour roux.

Please leave us a comment!
Have any additional feedback or comments regarding bone broth, how to make it or the benefits of it? PLEASE SHARE!

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