Monday Mission: Grab Those Bones!

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Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to call dibs on the turkey carcass this year, make stock…and then commit to using some sort of bone broth in your meal plan at least once a week until May.


This mission, by the way, is really for me.

But you’re invited to join in!

You see, the first year I read Nourishing Traditions about the amazing health benefits of chicken stock in particular and bone broths in general, I made it a point to get stock into my family in at least one dinner meal every week.

I had been making chicken stock "Nourishing Traditions style" for years without knowing where the acid soak part came from, so this wasn’t a huge step. It just meant that I planned well and perhaps bought more chicken on the bone than previous years.

I was not yet buying anything local, organic, from the farm, or well-sourced in any way.

I began blogging that winter also, and I remember practically bragging that my family had barely gotten sick that entire winter. I hoped it was the regular use of bone broth.

Then last year hit.

I’m pretty sure we were still having a lot of bone broth (but no promises; things were more hectic) and we’d started taking fermented cod liver oil, so I thought surely we’d be as healthy or healthier than the year before. Unfortunately, we caught every bug flying by. I had no idea what to think.

This year, Jonathan is currently on his second cold in 3 months (just deemed "official" yesterday – both the cold and the 3-month-mark). I want to do whatever I can do give us the best shot at fewer and shorter illnesses.

We’re still taking our cod liver oil, probiotics for the adults (just ordered a bottle via "subscribe and save" at Amazon, best price I’ve found!), eating lots of homemade yogurt, and have Scout Out from Trilight Health on hand for when the sniffles hit. I figure it’s time to make absolutely sure we’re also getting weekly bone broth.

Note: If you’re using Plan to Eat, head over and start tagging chicken stock recipes! You can quickly search them for your once-a-week inclusion.

I’ve had some trouble lately getting enough bones to make stock regularly and then figuring out what to do with all that chicken! I understand that stock can be made from the same bones at least three times, so I’m totally jumping on that bus from now on.

I’m excited to share a guest post with you tomorrow from someone who really knows how to get her stock to gel. Check this out: congealed stock (475x316)_thumb[1]

If you need to know how to make homemade chicken stock, check out the old mission by clicking HERE.

Wondering why I think it will keep us healthy? Read the amazing health benefits of homemade chicken stock to find out.

Who’s with me? Do you have any tips for making sure it gets done?

Disclosure: I receive commission from Amazon, and Trilight Health and Plan to Eat are receiving their complimentary mention for the month.  See my full disclosure statement here.

Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

67 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    I have been making my own chicken broth for years! It is SO much better than store-bought broth or stock.

    I have just recently learned the health benefits of it, which make it just that much better!

    Also, I just recently learned that you can use already-cooked chicken to make stock. What an awesome discovery that was!

  2. michelle says

    WOW! That was some gelled stock. Your son is probably sick due to being in school. When my first child started school her and I had colds all the time! Then once you all are a bit more immune, someone else starts school! LOl
    Love your blog, and I love that you are local so I can get some ideas as to were I can get some good stuff! Thanks

  3. says

    I find making stock so satisfying! I am still on the lookout for great recipes to use with the stocks, besides rice and beans. I have to stay well this winter as I am working with food, so will out more soups and stocks on my menus :)

  4. Melissa Blair says

    I love this! I’ve started making my own stock recently, and the only thing I do differently is add thyme as well as parsley. Thank you so much for posting this, it reminded me that I have a carcass in the freezer as we speak that’s waiting to be made into stock!

  5. Angela via Facebook says

    I’ve had dibs on turkey carcass and ham hock for the last couple years, lol! I love to make cauliflower soup with the ham bone, it’s delicious!!!!

  6. Michelle B says

    Thanks for the reminder. I am down to my last quart of stock in the freezer and I need to get my bones out of the freezer and start a batch today. Maybe it will warm up the kitchen enough that I can get my bread to rise. :)

  7. Peggy says

    I love Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. Not only are the prices unbeatable and the shipping free, the regular delivery shortens my shopping list and eases budgeting paperwork. With five girls in the house, I’ll bet you know at least one thing I subscribe!

  8. says

    Wow, that is some impressive gelled stock! I love to make stock here too. I’m great with chicken and turkey. Beef though is a mystery to me. Any tips on that one?

    • says

      The butcher will have beef bones. If you don’t see them, ask – mine often keeps them in the freezer. Get a mix of big marrow bones and joints, a little meat is nice, then roast them in a hot oven for about 45 minutes and proceed as with chicken stock, but let it simmer for 24-48 hours.

    • Katie says

      Lauren gave great Cliff’s notes – for more, this is how I’ve made beef stock:

      Beef always is more expensive than chicken b/c you have to buy the bones, and they aren’t super cheap IMO! Best if you can buy a portion of a cow or talk to someone who is and doesn’t know what to do with bones…

      😉 Katie

  9. says

    I’m already on this one… making beef stock as we speak!

    (Marcella, I think you can probably get bones from your butcher. We got several large bags when we bought a quarter steer in the spring.)

  10. cory says

    It’s not cheap, but the kosher grocer in our area carries a very nice supply of soup bones – knuckle bones, marrow bones, “soup bones”, as well as chicken necks and feet. I’ve heard many of the ethnic grocers are a good source of bones.

  11. Suzanne says

    You got me hooked on stock last year and we are loving it!!! And occasionally it does gel, but nothing like that picture! Can’t wait for the post tomorrow! My sisters now refer to my freezer as my “bone garden” because I always have bones, jars full of broth, and random veggie scraps in baggies in there!

    p.s. you can use your bones 3 times??? I had no idea!

  12. says

    ” I understand that stock can be made from the same bones at least three times, so I’m totally jumping on that bus from now on.”

    I had no idea! I feel so wasteful now. I will be reusing my bones. Thanks for the post.

    • says

      It’s really good to dump a few new ones in when reusing the old ones, because they won’t make stock that is as rich the second (or third) time. You could also just cook your stock extra long and it will be very concentrated. I usually cook my chicken stock 2 – 3 days, and beef might go 4 – 5. It’s rare that I would stop chicken stock after only 24 hours, although most do this.

    • Joyce says

      FYI, if you have cooked the bones long enough that they start to become mushy, you can feed them to your dog, if you have one. If they are past the splintering stage, they are safe and very nutritious for dogs!

      Does anyone make stock in a crockpot? In crockpot cooking you only add hot water to whatever is in the pot or it stops the cooking process, but it should work, right?

      Also, in terms of regular store-bought chickens, many of them have MSG in them. Do not buy any chickens that say they have water and NATURAL FLAVORINGS up to 12%, 15% added. Those natural flavorings are MSG!

      Looking forward to tomorrow’s post.

      thanks, Joyce

      • Katie says

        I have been making crockpot stock since being at the in-laws so I don’t freak them out with a pot on overnight… I just put the bones in , cover with cold water and vinegar like normal and turn it on low. It won’t heat up for a while so the acid soak should happen automatically. ??? I just haven’t tried the multiple batches from one set of bones in a while – Kate is also right, the subsequent batches are much lighter in color and flavor – maybe mark them for cooking with rice and such rather than a base for as soup.
        :) Katie

  13. cirelo says

    I know you aren’t super into cultured veggies (yet), but I swear by them as immune boosting. Especially red sauerkraut. It’s rich with vitamin C and many other nutrients and delicious, though it does take getting used to if you’ve never had pickled vegetables before. Adding peppers to the kraut adds tons of cold fighting juju too. You might want to consider trying it if you are feeling a little boost is in order.

  14. Jill says

    Really, the SAME bones can be used 3 DIFFERENT times to make stock?? Not to be skeptical, but can you site some sources on that fact? Thanks so much!

    • Andrea says

      Hello! In France, making stock with used bones is called Remoulage. I’m told it means ‘recasting’ or ‘second wash’. It is not the same as the original stock, it doesn’t jell (mine doesn’t anyway). But it is still full of minerals. Remoulage is usually used for making rice, or anything that calls for water. They say it adds another flavor dimension to your cooking. I use it half and half with my original stock to stretch it. I have no problem doing this with chicken bones, but beef marrow soup bones start to crumble if I reuse them, then I get little hard things in my soup!

  15. Carrie says

    Three thoughts:

    1) I think the commenters who pointed to starting school as a reason for so many bugs are on to something. This year we haven’t really done anything substantially different from last year except that E is homeschooled Kindergarted rather than preschool and the kids are generally home with a sitter during Bible study rather than in the group childcare. Lots fewer infections. Kudos to you for being honest enough to notice and publicize that your healthy lifestyle isn’t an automatic get-out-of-infection-free card.

    2) I totally need to be making multiple batches from bones now!

    3) Do you can broth yet? Broth and beans are the things I now always can, thanks to you, and both products are so much simpler canned! They both need to be cooked a ton anyway, so there’s not the same problem with destroying vitamins that you get with other pressure canning.

    • Katie says

      I would totally can broth, but I don’t own a pressure cooker. Although I’d struggle with filling the whole thing w/water just to do one batch. It always seems like a waste if I can’t do at least two… Thanks! :) Katie

  16. Jill says

    I know that any bones can be used, but would it be wise to use bones from chickens/turkeys that are not free range/organic? The 99 Cent per lb. chickens/turkey at the grocery store will do, in the grand scheme of things?

    • says

      Toxins are stored in fat, so I generally skim chicken broth made from grocery-store poultry. The good news is, as far as I can find, the benefits from the *bones* are not significantly different between organic free range and $.99 a pound.
      Chris Kresser wrote that the risks of eating fish when pregnant are smaller than the risks of NOT eating fish when pregnant, and I think the same applies here: you’re better to have (skimmed) less-good-for-you stock than none at all!

    • Katie says

      Totally agree with Lauren! Especially when I can nab the bones alone for free, I can’t pass it up. I basically use whatever bones I can find, so if I can afford an organic chicken, the bones go into a pot. If I happen to buy chicken breasts for a party, I might buy bone-in just for extra stock. Others would have other standards, but that’s me and my baby steps. :) Katie

  17. says

    Hi Lori,

    You’re on the right path, but can I suggest a few more things? :)

    Essential oils are concentrated plant nutrition that penetrate at a cellular level to nourish and heal. Check out for therapeutic grade oils that are affordable and NOT multi-level. :) I add a couple drops of Spice C to my tooth brush every time I brush. In the fall I start putting Deliverance on my feet before going to bed and then if I feel anything coming on, I pull out the Deliverance and rub it on glands, neck, feet, where ever.

    Second, yogurt is good for the mouth, throat, and esophogus, but not the gut. To get friendly bacteria into the gut you need kefir (home made is best, of course), it’s much better than any probiotic you might take in pill form.

    Third, garlic. We finely chop garlic every night, let it sit for 14 min and then swollow like a pill with a glass of water. No garlic breath, no garlic smell from pores, but tons of immunity boosting compounds.

    Good Luck! :)

    • Katie says

      Thank you! I’ve never heard that about yogurt vs. kefir – do you know why the discrepancy?

      I don’t think I’d have the time/patience/discipline to chop garlic every night, but kudos to you! I do believe that’s a great immunity boost!
      :) Katie

      • says

        Hi Katie, :)

        My guess is that there are thousands of varieties of probiotics (friendly bacteria), different types have different characteristics.

        The garlic isn’t that hard to work in, we usually chop ours up before we start the bed-time routine of flossing, brushing, etc. Plus the garlic is a pre-biotic so it feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut AND it kills unfriendly bacteria in our gut. Combine those factors to the immunity boosting and it’s hard not to justify the time. :)

        ~ Kathy :)

  18. lizi says

    i am up in the air about when to add veggies to my broth, but i think it is better to have them in there from the get-go. i read something about if you put veggies or anything into HOT broth, then the natural action if for the HOT broth to go into the COLD veggies- so you should always let the veggies/chick sit in room temp water and bring it all to a simmer together, so that the nutrients go OUT into the water.
    also when i make broth from a whole chicken, i let it come to a boil and simmer for oh an hour and a half, two hours max, then take the whole thing out and when it is cool enough pick the meat off to eat (tacos, salad, etc) then i put the carcass back in for another 22 hours or so. otherwise if you cook the whole chicken meat and all for that long, it is mushy and i suspect most of the nutrients are gone.

  19. says

    I love homemade chicken stock. It’s the main reason I roast my own chickens weekly and a whole turkey every three weeks or so. My grandmother said that the key to really getting all the good stuff out of the stock is to boil it for at least an hour then simmer for a few more until all bone marrow is gone from the bones and things begin to separate. that really makes good gelled stock. I add the vegetables right up front and i strain the whole thing on a colander. My grandmother used to say that when the bones come out they should be “smooth.” grandmothers… go figure. but she had 5 kids and swore by good ‘consommé’ or chicken broth in winter months to keep bugs at bay.

    • Katie says

      Huh, now I thought that me boiling the stock too high hurt my gel – you get gel with an hour boil? “Smooth bones” means “mush”?
      Thanks! Katie

      • says

        I am not always as concerned with the gelling of my stock as much as getting all the nutrients out. My stock does gel (ok, maybe not Jello consistency but it gels).
        Mush? no… but when I take the bones out they are “clean” or a better word might be “smooth”. then I strain it.
        Congrats on your move, btw!!

  20. Dawn says

    You can reuse the bones? Mine are often crumbling, so that might be gritty. :) Perhaps if you cooked them only the minimum time, not the max.? I too have wondered about whether broth from regular chicken would be OK. Organic is so much more expensive than beef that we mostly go without.

    We have found a dropperful of elderberry tincture several times a day when cold or flu symptoms appear works wonders. It can also be used daily as a preventative.

    It’s simple: 4 oz. dried elderberries in a quart jar, fill with 80 or 100 proof alcohol to the top. Let sit 6 weeks then strain out the used berries. Keeps at least a year. I keep a small dropper bottle in a handy place. Put one dropperful in about a half cup of water. We like it with a couple of drops of vanilla stevia. If the need is urgent, you can make elderberry syrup with the berries, water, honey and cinnamon, but it only keep a few weeks. Directions are on YouTube.

    • Joyce says

      Where do you get dried elderberries? I have bought the elderberry tonics at my local health food store, but they are very expensive.



    • says

      I don’t mind crumbly bones at all – I strain stock through cheesecloth, so it comes out clear anyway. If I’ve spent the money and bought a really good bird, I don’t want to waste a drop so I’ve been known to blend the leftover bones and bits with the gritty stock left at the bottom of the pot. Once it’s whizzed up it’s smooth and can be used in gravies f.ex.

  21. waggie says

    I order chicken parts from my local butcher. 40lb boxes of chicken backs and other bone pieces. They are locally grown, Non-GMO and pasture raised. They are also organic, but not certified. I can get the 40 lb box for $.80 per pound! I just have to plan ahead since it’s take about a week before it’s ready.

    • says

      That’s the way to do it! I ask my farmer for backs, necks, and feet. He saves these things for me and sometimes gives me a whole big bag labeled “stock” which are just those parts. I also order “stewing hens” from him, which are old layers that aren’t really nice enough to roast, but make really great soup. They are cheaper for this reason. (I paid about $6 for the whole bird, which probably weighed 3 – 4 lbs.) Seeking out good sources that are NOT certified is definitely your best bet!

  22. Rebecca says

    I have a question. You mention sitting the chicken in cold water and vinegar first. I usually put my chicken the crockpot and cook it first, then remove the meat, then add the vinegar and cook for 12 hours. (I have read both 24 and 12 hours.) So would this be an incorrect process? Should I wait for the cooked bones and water to cool and then put the vinegar in and let it sit? Or do I let the whole chicken sit in vinegar before started to cook the whole meat chicken in the first place?

    • Dawn says

      Don’t soak your chicken meat in vinegar. She is referring to Nourishing Traditions instructions to soak the bones in cold water and vinegar for 30 min. at the beginning of the stock-making process.

    • Katie says

      Hmmmm, Dawn’s comment makes me think, but I must say, I just start with cold water and vinegar whether I’m using already cooked and picked bones or meat on the bones. ??? I figure the vinegar needs to act on the bones, but I never even thought about it affecting the meat. I wonder if it does… My meat gets pretty mushy anyway because even though I know it would be better to pick it off after a few hours, everything is so hot and messy that I always just leave it in if I started with raw. Sometimes I roast the chicken first and only use the bones. ???
      :) katie

  23. says

    I make stock almost constantly, and have it in meals 2 – 3 times a week, easily. I made chicken and rice in the crockpot tonight, and I used both chicken stock I made last week AND used bone-in chicken. I often use stock for cooking rice, making gravy, making soups (of course) and various other things. Last night I had no idea what to make so I cooked ground beef, put some sliced potatoes on it, and dumped stock over all of it and called it dinner. Not exactly the tastiest or most gourmet meal, but, hey…not bad, nutritionally. :)

    As for colds, I posted a recipe to a homemade cough/cold syrup a few weeks back. I swear it cures colds overnight. I have tried it on all of us and given some to friends and they all swear by it now. Here it is: It really is amazing stuff. My kids came home from our weekend trip sniffling and fussing (their cousins had been sick; they eat SAD and seem to always be sick when we see them), and I gave them each a dose before bed and they are fine now.

  24. says

    Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to reading about making chicken broth gel. though I’m not sure how you can it or whatever. I’m interested to learn more, since we have a turkey soon and I could practice with that!

    Regina, the Crazy Nuts Mom

    Following you on twitter

  25. Martha says

    Timely post! I’ve been making beef stock non stop since Tuesday. We got a side of beef and had no room in the freezers for our two big bags of extra bones. I’ll be glad to see the back side of this project. I won’t need to make beef stock for a long time. :) I will be throwing the turkey carcass in the pot as soon as the meal is over to make soup for supper. I’ll pull out some of the stock then and continue to cook everything else for a lot longer.

  26. Emily @ Random Recycling says

    I typically make stock every other week once I have enough. I’ve been cooking a lot more bone-in chicken breasts so it typically takes our smaller family 2-3 dinners to generate enough stock.
    After reading the comments, I am motivated to ask at our local poultry farm if I can buy stock bones. They have the best quality poultry and I just can’t buy the $.99/lb chicken jacked up on antibiotics and sodium anymore.

  27. says

    Question for you. A friend and I were talking and she mentioned that olive oil when heated up is toxic. I guess the property of it changes. Have you heard this? Can you verify if it in fact is true? Thanks.

  28. Rebecca says

    When talking about buying pastured chickens vs. store bought, does the store bought include chickens marked free range?

      • Katie says

        Rebecca, “free range” at the store only means a slight improvement over a normal store chicken, so when leaving in the fat or not, you want to think about the toxins the bird may have been exposed to. If you’ve got an “organic” chicken from a grocery store, then you’d be well off leaving in the fat (I would think). :) Katie

  29. Mareth says

    We LOVE homemade stock around here! I just found another purpose for the little bits of chicken left on the bone from hours in the pot: puree or pulse the meat with some stock and freeze in cubes for my eight month old. Great way to not waste the bit of meat that’s left. I like to mix a cube of meat/stock with homemade applesauce, pureed butternut squash, etc. I try to include stock for him each day. PS I have had it, Katie, I am going to order FCLO!

  30. says

    we are working on the same thing: keeping the family healthy! i have been making lots of soups with our bone broth which is also a great way to use up veggies from our csa box we get each week. we also juice a few times a week to get in extra vitamins and minerals. my kids love pretty much any juice concoction i throw together as long as there is an apple in it. :)

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