Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Back to Basics Baby Step Monday Mission no. 7: Make Bone Broth (Regularly!)

February 18th, 2013 · 76 Comments · Monday Missions

This is a {guest post} series from Tiffany of Don’t Waste the Crumbs. Catch all the previous baby steps HERE.

First Batch Broth

Everyone needs a REAL real food mentor.

And bloggers don’t count. I think Katie would honored if you chose her as your mentor, and I’d be honored if you picked me too (although my knowledge base comes with the disclaimer of “I don’t always know what I’m doing” ;) ). But unless you live in Michigan or California and have met us face to face, you can’t pick us. Computer friends won’t work.

“Everyone” includes me, because if I had a REAL nourishing food mentor, she would have seen me pull out my step-stool and reach for the container of store-bought chicken stock on the top shelf when I was making soup last week… and stopped me from using it.

She also would have scolded me for buying the chicken stock in the first place and taught me how to make my own AGES ago. She would say that bone broth is one of the best foods you can feed your body and that it is hands down the easiest nourishing food to make in your kitchen.

To add injury to insult (in the way loving, caring friends do), she would also ask me if I had been sleeping in class during any of the NINE TIMES Katie has specifically posted about bone broth.

To write about the same thing twice seems to be a blogging faux pas, but exceptions are generally made if the topic is really important or has changed since the first publishing, or even if the readers want more on the topic.

But to post about it nine times is nearly unheard of! My friends, making broth is really so essential, so easy, and so basic to any real food journey that it warrants a tenth post.

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to make bone broth.

If you need a refresher on the health aspects and nutritional value of homemade chicken broth, the original Food for Thought is here.

After reading Katie’s method, pondering some of her additional tips and reviewing the second Monday Mission, I came to the conclusion that I am neither “greedy” nor “stocking up” when it comes to making my broth. Rather I’m making the absolute best use of my single $13 organic, free-range chicken that I buy each month. :)

We made a commitment last September to buy only organic, free-range chicken. It didn’t take long – oh, say 2 minutes of browsing the weekly grocery circulars – to realize that paying $6.99/lb for breasts was simply not in my grocery budget. Seeing the $2.49/lb price tag was already a significant change to the 79¢ per pound price that I was accustomed to. The only way to soothe my pocketbook was to maximize the chicken in every way possible. Here are three easy ways to do just that.

 

1. Buy whole chickens and butcher them yourself. There’s a detailed write up of how to do this here. Not only does it cost less per pound, but you end up with the gizzards and carcass bones – excellent bases for bone broth.

bones for freezer

2. Save ALL your bones. This includes the ones from your dinner plate too, not just the raw carcass from your initial butcher. My chicken broth cooks for an entire 24 hours. If there are any germs that can survive a full day’s worth of simmering, we’ve got bigger problems to deal with than family cooties. Those bones contain vitamins and minerals and have much more to offer than taking up space in the trash can. After dinner, store the bones in the freezer in a container labeled “chicken bones.” Add to the container whenever there are chicken bones leftover.

3. Reuse the bones until you can’t. Bones can be reused to make several batches of broth and like number two above, why throw them away if they still have something to offer?

Similar to my yogurt dilemma, I don’t have a gigantic stock pot that allows me to cook more than one chicken at a time. But I guess that doesn’t matter when you only have one bird! My cooking weapon of choice is the crock pot. It does the dirty work while I sleep. :)

How to Make Frugal Bone Broth: The Steps

Here’s my very basic, yet efficient and effective way of making homemade chicken broth.

Fill the Slow Cooker

After carving a whole chicken into parts, set aside the two breasts and two leg quarters. (You could set aside the wings too, but it would take a few months to accumulate enough wings to warrant a decent appetizer. By the time I had enough, I would have forgotten what they were for in the first place!)

Throw everything else into a large crock pot (mine is 6 quarts) – carcass, skin, fat… leave nothing out. Empty the “chicken bones” container from the freezer into the crock pot as well.

Chicken Bones in Crock Pot

Add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and fill the crock pot with cold, filtered water. Turn the crock pot on the highest setting for 2 – 4 hours, or until the water boils. Because it takes some time for a slow cooker to get to a decent cooking temperature, this step covers the initial “let the meat soak in vinegar” phase.

Chicken with Water

Skim & Cook

When the water boils, skim off whatever gunk has risen to the top. Turn the crock pot on low and cook for an additional 20 – 22 hours so that the total cooking time is 24 hours.

Strain & Pick the Meat

Place a colander into a large pot (the standard sizes normally used for straining pasta and boiling the water are fine). Wearing cooking mitts, dump the entire contents from the crock pot into the colander.

Colander in Pot

Pick up the colander and shake gently to drain any excess liquid. Place the entire colander, with the chicken still inside, in the crock pot.

Pick off whatever meat you can from the bones. I can usually get about one cup of shredded chicken from one whole carcass and wings.

Repeat for the Second Batch

Dump all the bones back into the crock pot. If your bones fill up the crock pot about half way, repeat steps 2 through 6. If your bones fill up the crock pot anywhere from a quarter to just less than half way, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and fill the crock pot 3/4 full with cold, filtered water. Repeat steps 3 through 6.

When the second batch of stock has cooked for 24 hours, repeat steps 5 and 6. Since you’ve already picked off the meat, skip number 7. (Even if you do find meat at this point, it’s probably mushy and not very tasty.)

Repeat for a Third Batch

Dump your bones back into the crock pot again. This time determine whether or not a third batch is feasible with the bones you have. My personal rule of thumb is if the bones about 1/3 of the crock pot, I use 2 tablespoons of vinegar and fill it up 3/4 full with cold, filtered water. If the bones don’t reach the 1/3 mark, I put them in the “chicken bones” container and freeze them for the next batch.

Repeat steps 2 through 6 again, if you have enough bones for a third batch.

Storing the Chicken Stock

When your second batch of stock is underway, strain the stock through a fine sieve as you ladle/pour the stock into clean jars or containers. You should have approximately 4-5 quarts of stock.

Do the same if you have enough bones for a third batch. You should have anywhere from 2-4 quarts of stock (depending on how many bones you had).

The Results

Three Batches Broth

Each subsequent batch of broth will be lighter in color, but each is still jam-packed with awesome minerals. This is the process each month we buy a whole chicken and last month I ended up with ten quarts of stock! At $3.72 each (according to Amazon), I’m saving $37 dollars each month by making my own!

Add to this the initial 2 breasts and 2 leg quarters from your butcher, the one cup of shredded chicken from the first cook and for a $13 investment, you’ve walked away with a substantial portion of your meals for the next month! Don’t forget that you can stretch your chicken even more using beans, plus there’s a few more tips here for making your meat go further.

But it gets even better! Now that I’m making chicken stock, we actually eat it! We started making a big batch of soup for dinner every Thursday, which is based solely off of this chicken stock. We often have leftover soup too, so it’s not out of the question to have chicken stock at our meals for two or three days each week.

These soups that we’re making each week contain a large quantity of vegetables. Because of this, I don’t use vegetables when making my broth. Not only does it seem redundant (for my purposes), but it adds time in the straining stage. It may only be a few minutes, but a few minutes multiplied by three (or more) batches and it can be rather cumbersome. Plus when you’re aiming to fit organic produce in the grocery budget, boiling it for a few minutes just to throw it away doesn’t make much sense – we’d rather just eat them!

Note from Katie: A mirepoix (celery, carrots, and onions) is traditional for stock, and I add garlic too. Many folks save their “ends” for this purpose so they’re not actually spending money on veggies. I tend to add them in the last 2 hours and then chop them up for soup anyway. Aimee recently taught me how to get real flavor in my chicken stock, which probably requires the veggies. Just some options!

Stock can be frozen or canned, but it’ll keep in the fridge for at least four weeks. Note from Katie: I’ve read that you should reboil it every 5-7 days to make sure it stays “good.” I haven’t been able to test it firsthand beyond that mark. That’s when the last quart gets used up and I buy another bird to repeat the process all over again!

It may take three days to get 320 ounces of stock, but time spent “working” in the kitchen is really no more than 30 minutes each day (and that’s rounding up) and dirties only seven dishes – six of which are dishwasher safe! One time saver is to rinse out the used dishes and set them aside for the next day. I don’t actually wash them, with soap, until I’m completely done. Sound gross? Katie leaves her oatmeal out on the stove (point 5) and that makes me feel right at home. ;) You know it! I totally rinse and reuse when I’m making multiple batches of stock.

Have you made your own bone broth? How do you use it in your meals?

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Some Winners

I’ve been a little behind on announcing giveaway winners this month, so here are a few:

Zukay Probiotic Beverage Grand Prize

Christa Walker

10 free bottle coupons:

  1. Nichole Corless
  2. LuAnn Braley
  3. Julie w.
  4. Jessica
  5. blessedmom
  6. Beth Ann
  7. Marcia
  8. T Catana
  9. Adrian Larsson
  10. Laura Debiasi

Watch your email for a note from Zukay!

LPC Survival Organic Food Storage Bucket Winner:

Ken Laubmayer

———————————————

You will not want to miss a moment of this series – catch the previous posts right HERE and be sure to sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed to continue following along. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

Meet TiffanyTiffany is a newbie real food eater who is trying to master and incorporate nourishing foods into her kitchen without breaking the bank. She documents her baby-sized strides at DontWastetheCrumbs.

 

If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

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76 Comments so far ↓

  • CJ

    I’m a little shocked at the idea of making one chicken last a whole month! Obviously you are not eating chicken at every meal. Can you break down what percent of your meals are chicken based versus pork, beef, bean, vegetarian, or anything else that I’m forgetting?

    Each week my husband and I have our dinners split 50/50 between chicken and pork. Every once in a while I try to sneak in a fish dish or a beef stir-fry. Bean and vegetarian dishes have unfortunately been rejected entirely. If it doesn’t contain meat, my husband doesn’t consider it a meal, so I have to be content with shrinking the meat portion size as much as possible.

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    CJ,
    You are correct, we do not eat meat at every meal. In fact, we probably eat meat two or three times a week, depending on our meals. The rest of the meals are meatless, but often contain beans. We don’t buy pork often, maybe once in 3-4 months? I buy beef from a local farm that practices organic and grass-fed methods, but is not certified. It’s sold in our stores so when I see it marked down or on sale, I’ll pick up a few items. It totals to maybe beef once or twice a month, depending on the cuts I find. Because my husband doesn’t like fish, it’s never the “main” meat, but sometimes I’ll prepare fish for myself and the kids while he has chicken.

    We originally started eating meatless only once a week, and then when a few dishes got two thumbs up, we added soup weekly – essentially creating two meatless meals a week. I once made fried rice and forgot to add the meat… the husband liked it fine without it so I never bothered adding it in (but I do now add beans ;) ).

    We never set out to only eat one chicken each month, but with the way our eating habits have changed, it just sorta ended up that way. And when you pay $13 per bird (and we used to buy two at a time) you make sure that EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF MEAT goes un-wasted! ~Tiffany

    Katie W. Reply:

    I know that you said throw everything in and this may be redundant… but, throw in the cartilage. yes, even from your plates:) it has wonderful gelatin and nutrients that we need.

    love that you can reuse so many times. that has been my mistake. not using them enough. thanks for that tip.

  • Mona @ HealthyHomesteading

    I didn’t realize you could reuse the bones! I use a crockpot too. It’s the best way to go. I use my broth to make squash soup a lot in the winter. Squash is high in nutrition as well. Thanks for the handy tip about reusing bones. Just think all those batches of broth I could have made :(

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Mona,
    Just keep thinking of all the batches of broth you will NOW make from here on out! ;)

    The mug of broth is half full…
    :) Katie

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    LOL – I was thinking the same as Katie! I remind myself not to dwell on those past “what if’s” often. Can’t really do much about it after the fact, right? :) ~Tiffany

  • Amy

    My way to save money on adding veggies to the stock is to save all of my veggie scraps throughout the week and throw them in a freezer bag with the bones. For example, onion/carrot/celery tops are frozen instead of thrown away. Also, if I have produce past it’s prime, I’ll throw it in the bag as well. When I’m ready to make stock, I just thrown the entire contents of the bag in the pot! I learned this online and it is a huge help.

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Amy,
    That’s a smart move to re-use those veggies! If I didn’t enjoy the flavor of plain broth so much, I’d be doing that too! ~Tiffany

    Jill Reply:

    So, you can use the tops/bottoms of veggies like onions, carrots, & celery? Do you just scrub them really well, and then toss them in? I’ve never used those parts because I thought they were bad and unsafe to use…

    Rebecca C Reply:

    I also use veggie scraps. I wash carrots before peeling, so the peels are fine, and the tops (not the green part). Same with celery. Onions are protected in their skins, so I just make sure to cut the root off, the rest of the piece doesn’t need washing. I also do garlic and parsley too sometimes.

    Amy Reply:

    You know, I haven’t thought that much about it! I wash carrots and celery, but not onions, yet I still use them. The onion peels give the stock a wonderful color – a beautiful golden color. I guess we may be getting some dirt in there now and again, but that kind of thing doesn’t really bother me. Is that gross? :-)

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    @Jill – yes, you can use the tops/end of all those veggies, but do wash well first.

    @Amy – I don’t think it’s gross. :) I figure a little bit here and there isn’t that big of a deal. Plus consuming all the probiotics in yogurt and kefir are supposed to kill any bugs that may slip by, right? ;) ~Tiffany

  • Jeremy Logsdon

    You have definitely inspired me to try making my own bone broth. I’ve heard about the amazing health benefits, so I’m giving it a shot this weekend!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Woo hoo!
    (We got one more, Tiffany! Yesssss!)
    ;) Katie

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Sending a virtual high-five! ;)

  • Heather

    I’ve have a bunch of bones I’ve been saving. I’ve never tried the crockpot, but I will definitely do that this time. Is there any benefit to crushing the bones? I’ve done it in the past, assuming it might make the broth even more nutritious. The broth comes out thicker. But I don’t know if I’m just wasting my time.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Heather,
    Your hunch is right! It lets the marrow out when you crush the bones, plus probably more minerals. Not a waste! Do keep using the vinegar soak, though, along with crushing. :) Katie

    Sharon Gamblin Reply:

    Please explain the vinegar’s purpose. Thanks!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Sharon,
    Ever done that experiment where you put a whole egg in a cup of vinegar, and it turns the shell totally soft? The vinegar draws the minerals out of the bones just like that experiment – more minerals in your broth! :) Katie

  • Jodi

    We finally cooked the awesome Thanksgiving turkey on Saturday. My crockpot is in the middle of its 2nd 24 hour batch of turkey bones! I could only use half the turkey because the carcass was too big to fit into my 6 quart crock pot. The first 4 quarts I pulled out yesterday were completely gelatinous this morning! Yeah! Yum! I think I may wait a few days before I start the other half just to give my crockpot a break!

    I am curious about any fat that rises to the top – do you skim it off or leave it and mix it in later?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Jodi,
    The fat in chicken at least has immunity boosters, so as long as it doesn’t taste too greasy, I leave it in – with a caveat – if I’m using a factory bird, like the bones I snitch at Thanksgiving, I would skim the fat. Too much junk gets stored in fat.
    Way to gel!
    :) Katie

  • Wendy

    Have you ever done this with pork bones? I am allergic to poultry, so that is not an option; but as I read your article I wondered if I could do the same with our pork chop bones, etc.

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Wendy,

    I haven’t tried it myself, but I don’t see why you couldn’t! As Katie mentioned in another comment, skim the fat and any weird stuff if the pork is conventional. The fat does contain good things, but it stores the bad stuff too and in my opinion, isn’t worth the risk when you have plenty of other opportunities to eat good fat. ~Tiffany

    Wendy Reply:

    Thanks for your reply! I will be saving my pork bones from now on – I’m kind of excited to try this :).

  • patty

    Seems info now is coming in about lead leaching into the bone broth when it is made in crockpots. I guess Hamilton’s is one of the few who’s online website says there’s no lead in their crock. Any idea how to test to see if your crockpot is leaching lead?

    I do a lot of broth, and do reuse the bones too. I also use the peelings from my vegs that I store all week in a freezer bag and pour that into the crockpot. Easy to do, no waste, adds add’l nutrients that otherwise would be thrown away.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Patty,
    I hear you. I have some info stored up for a “someday” post on crockpots and lead, but basically you really just need to call the company about your specific crockpot, and if they don’t have an answer complete with independent test results, you can probably assume “guilty until proven innocent” unfortunately.
    :) Katie

  • Sarah W

    My time saving tip for straining broth: (FWIW, I use a stock pot, not a crock pot). Set up your canning jars in the sink. Place a canning funnel and then a medium/small strainer on top of the canning funnel. (I have a mesh strainer that is just the same size as the funnel.) With your stock pot lid slightly ajar, pour the stock directly into the strainer/funnel/jar. Repeat for each jar until you’ve poured it all.

    Then if you want to make another batch of stock, everything is in your pot ready to go (again)!

  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    If your family goes through a lot of stock or you have a lot of bones (my butcher will sell them to me for $0.79/lb.), try using a roaster oven. It functions like a giant crock pot. I pretty much always have stock going in mine, and if you keep the temp. set around 150, there’s no chance of it getting overboiled and ruined. I just keep reusing bones this way and adding to it as we eat meals that contain bones. I clean it out and start again every week or two.

    I have left stock in the fridge for 4 – 6 weeks and still used it, without reboiling. I put it in mason jars and put lids on while hot, then put them in the fridge. As long as they are not opened, they will usually stay good. However, if you want to use just a small amount and put an “opened” jar back in the fridge, I have found it will go bad within just a few days. I am also experimenting with pressure canning, although I’ve only done finished soups so far — not plain stock. I’m sort of getting addicted to the idea of homemade convenience foods though!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Kate,
    A plethora of great time-saving tips here, and I’ve got a new “wish list” item since I don’t yet own a roaster! ;) Katie

  • KR

    Do you have the steps to canning the broth? I just recently started canning tomato soup and salsa. Does it have to be pressure cooked or can I put them in the water bath? Thanks!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    KR,
    It will have to be pressure canned but I’ve never done it…a quick Google search ought to yield easy results…
    :) Katie

    Rebecca Reply:

    Pressure can for sure, I do it every few months. It takes time, but frees up much needed space in the freezer. Do skim off as much fat as you can before canning, the fat can go rancid quite easily, and can prevent a super tight seal. I store the fat separately in the fridge or freezer.

  • Becky

    I never get a gel to my broth. Any ideas of what I am doing wrong?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Becky,
    You’ll love this post: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/11/15/how-to-make-bone-broth-with-serious-gel-guest-post/

    Usually the culprit is too much water, plain and simple, but it can be other issues too. :) Katie

  • GoodThoughts

    This is a really great idea and just another point. If you EVER barbeque, steak, lamb chicken… cooties or not, save them!!! 6 plus lamb chop bones boiled done with a 1 lb bag of lentils added to it with what ever herbs etc you want to add are fabulous. Steak or beef bones for another. Just as above, save the bones again for broth!
    I have also started cook down celery, onions and carrots and saving them ready to go when I need to add them to soups or beans or etc.

  • Deb

    I’ve spent the past month or two working on first beef broth (cause we butchered a steer…so I wanted to use up some of the bones) and then some chicken broth. I ran out of freezer space, so I couldn’t freeze bones…so borrowed some crockpots from Mom, and useing my own also got several batches of beef broth made from the bones before they went bad. I can my broth, so it doesn’t take up freezer space. I wanted enough to hopefully last a year, at the rate we’ve been eating it…so even if we eat more, so it doesn’t last that long, least it should last till at least fall. I still need to do some more chicken broth, but have to find more jars first.

    Another thing I discovered helped make it darker, was to cook it longer. The first round I cooked a day…but after that I’d cook it for two or three days, so it got darker. Hopefully that helped get more of the good stuff from the bones. I was able to easily get 4 rounds from each set of bones that way too. Have no idea if it’s good to have done that…but thought I’d try it since I discovered it did help make it darker. :-))

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Deb,
    Because beef bones are so dense, they can/should be cooked 48 hrs+, so you’re dead on there. Don’t do it with chicken bones though because they’ll fall apart a lot faster! Beef bones can go many more batches than 3 as well…

    Good for you!
    :) Katie

    Deb Reply:

    oops…I did the chicken that way too. The bones didn’t seem to get to soft to fast, but…? LOL Thanks for letting me know it was ok to do the beef bones that way. :-))

  • Jill

    How can you tell when the bones can’t be used anymore? Is 3 days kind of the max “rule of thumb” so to speak?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Jill,
    For chicken bones, more or less, yes. They just get pretty mushy, and the broth gets more and more clear. I’m sure you can keep going, but each batch will have a little less flavor and I assume quite a bit fewer nutrients, so you start to wonder if it’s worth your time/utilities. :) Katie

  • Liz

    This is full of great tips and tricks, can’t wait to try it. No more throwing away the bones after one boil either!

    Can you tell me why the ACV?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Liz,
    The vinegar softens the bones and draws minerals out into the broth – think of the old science experiment where you put an egg in vinegar and the shell turns totally soft. Like that. :) Katie

  • Heather

    Great info, Thanks! So what do you do with all the bones/veggies after you have “used” them all up? Trash, compost, what?

    Thanks

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Heather,

    Composting would be ideal, but the trash is my only option for now. The bones are extremely soft and could be mashed easily. I wonder if they would be beneficial for pets or fertilizer? Good question to ponder! ~Tiffany

  • Linda

    Stock for soups and stews. Also I use for homemade gravy bases and for mashed potatoes for extra moisture and goodness. Any other uses out there?

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Linda,

    Sub for water in rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, etc. Essentially anything that calls for water, but doesn’t leave any liquid left when its done. I used it this morning to thin out Katie’s white bean alfredo sauce. :) ~Tiffany

  • Diane

    Do you personally vary the uses of the broth based on which cooking it came from?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Diane,
    I do – “firsts” and “seconds” are pretty good for anything, but I wouldn’t make chicken rice soup or anything where the flavor of the broth needs to shine with “thirds.” ;) Katie

  • Janice

    Try using the chicken broth as a drink in the morning instead of coffee or hot chocolate…I tried it one day when not feeling well – added a little dried basil, thyme, oregano, cayenne and sea salt…was so good i decided it could become a regular morning drink…warm healthy GOOD! Thanks for helping us to understand the why’s and how’s of chicken broth…

  • Cindy

    Wonderful article! Thank you for being honest about the cost of organics! Your honesty is refreshing. Thank you for not making me feel like a dolt because I can’t afford to eat all organic meat!

    I am going to do what you do. Buy the one organic chicken & get the most out of it! :)

    Thanks again!

    Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs Reply:

    Thank you for the kind words Cindy! ~Tiffany

  • blessed

    Ladies, would you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read this linked article on “Perpetual Bone Broth” and let me know your thoughts, either here or in a following separate post? I was so glad to see you post again about bone broth, because I just became convinced I need to start making it–and I have been feeding my family vegetarian for the past 17 years! So I have no clue how too cook any meat, let alone make bone broth, so am trying to research all I can. I came upon that article, and am really intrigued, but people left all kinds of comments–about safety, about the need for the apple cider vinegar, etc.–that I was not sure was adequately covered. So I would absolutely love for you Real Food “Experts” ; ) to read it and give your thoughts. It sounds like a GREAT way to always have bone broth on hand and ready to go, and might even be easier than the methods you all describe so far. So PRETTY PLEASE would you consider reading it/trying it/blogging about it? It would be such a help to newbies like me!

    Thanks so much for considering this request!

    http://nourishedkitchen.com/perpetual-soup-the-easiest-bone-broth-youll-make/

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    I’ve read Jenny’s method before, and I’ve simply never tried it. I cannot imagine anything about it that could possibly be unhealthy, unless you’re worried about lead leaching out of the slow cooker. In that case, you might have a valid concern. The stuff in the comments about the fat getting too hot, etc, is nonsense. I’m surprised Jenny hasn’t responded to more of them, but she’s very conscientious and really does know what she’s doing.

    I am not sure that her method is necessarily easier for a beginner, just because you’d have to get that habit of drinking/using it every day to be worth it. ???

    The vinegar does have an important role, and it’s to draw minerals out of the bones. Again, I’m very surprised that Jenny doesn’t mention that because she subscribes to the Weston Price diet and the book Nourishing Traditions recommends the soak – BUT you could easily add the vinegar at the very beginning of the process. Perhaps she doesn’t because the bones are going to be cooked for so long that the minerals have to all get out eventually!!

    I have heard that cooking the veggies for too long can begin to get a bitter taste in the stock, so when I reuse my bones I do my best to sort out the vegs and replace them at the end of the cooking time (last couple hours). I do think that would be a taste hazard with the perpetual system, but you could also skip the veggies entirely.

    Bottom line: any bone broth/stock is better than none and exponentially better than store broth!

    Now your job is to just do it – pick a method and try it! I’m so proud of you for coming around to broth; a huge leap from no meat at all, so I’m hoping you come to love it. One tip: just put the chicken in whole. You don’t need to be messing around with raw meat any more than getting it out of the package if you haven’t eaten meat in 17 years. ;) (btw, did you know Jenny of Nourished Kitchen is a former vegetarian too? She wayyyy more of a real food expert than me, also.)

    Good luck and have fun with it!! :) Katie

  • patty

    Do I vary the batches of broth?

    I put my first batch in a very large stockpot and then continue to combine my subsequent batches within this large stockpot, mixing all together. I reuse bones only once and cook each batch for 8 to 10 hours. I figure this way… micronutrients are mixed throughout should later batch be less “rich”.

  • patty

    Relative to the lead leaching… I did receive a CYA email from Jarden (crockpot.com) that indicates it is true, lead leaching within federal/state agencies allowables, is occuring for this brand. They actually noted “JSC has not had any recalls for lead”! I am one of three moms that instigated the mid 2000s contact lens disinfection solution FDA/CDC recalls for the ancanthomoeba parasitic/fungal/bacterial eye infection breakthroughs, and I know from this experience what it takes for a successful grassroot initiated recall. JCD’S “no lead recall” justification is meaningless to me relative to safety and they’ll be using satisfaction of agency limits for no liability. All dejuvue of the contact disinfection solution manufacturing positions. This lead issue is a worrisome fact for me.

    I am looking for a Hamilton Beach brand… anyone using this brand that can recommend a model no. they like (should be on the bottom of the heating unit). I don’t need the timer version, but do want a large unit… txs so much.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Patty,
    Way to be an agent of change! I’m super impressed. I keep seeing Hamilton Beach at my local box store (Meijer) and thinking, “Hmmm, all Hamilton Beach I wonder???” It’s really inexpensive there…I think before I buy I would talk to the company myself (or did you do that already?). Thanks!! :) Katie

    patty Reply:

    At this time, Jarden and I are emailing… but I am working up the responder chain of command meaning I know I’m hitting a sensitive spot… Katie this is all the contact lens disinfection manufacturer respondences dejuvue. They are hiding behind fed’l/state lead limits, to support no liability should harm be done. If you want me to do a guest post on what I learned about how manufacturers work the system let me know. Not sure if your site, or foodrenegades, or cheeseslave (do you know any of these?)…. would be interested in that share…
    Regarding Hamilton Beach… Cheeseslave operates two Hamilton Beach according to what I read when I began looking into the lead issue (not that that is defintive). But for me, considering what information I have to go on right now, replacing my unit with a Hamilton Beach seems prudent since I know my CrockPot Jarden is a leacher at this point.

    Kresser talks about synergy of micronutrients within the broth that could prevent absorption. And for that which is absorbed, our micronutrient dense diet may counteract lead absorption. For example, Vit D prohibits lead uptake in the bones. I certainly don’t like relying on synergy as a fix to lead intake. Many of us are healing with compromised digestion (so the micronutrient absorption is questionable… yes?!!) and many of my kidos… well… that 80/20 dense diet is a target that I worry gets stretched at times despite my valiant efforts… and add into the mix lead exposure many of us can’t do anything about (air, water soil)… so changing up my brand of vessel… easy tweak at this time. I used a 30% Kohl’s coupon w/free shipping making a 6qt Hamilton Beach digital (that also included some small dip type warmer) reasonably priced.

  • Debbie A

    I have a couple of questions one I am trying to get away from my freezer I am wanting to try and can most my stuff. I would not be able to keep that many jars in my refrigerator for that long, so what method would you use to can the broth. Next question couldn’t you take all the broth before it is canned put it in a large stock pot so you last batch is not weak it would all have the same strength. It could be heated before putting it in the jars. Thanks

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Debbie,
    Mixing it all makes sense! I don’t can broth, though, so I can’t help you on the first question. ;) Katie

  • Rebecca C

    i have a question. I made broth in the crockpot for over 24 hours (chicken). I poured it into a collander over a bowl to get the big pieces out to put back in the crockpot for a second batch. I let the bowl of broth sit for a half hour probably before I got back to it. I noticed there was a lot of brown colored sediment that had settled to the bottom of the bowl. What does everyone do with that? Is it important, nutritionally, or am I ok keeping it out of the broth. They are tiny pieces, almost like grains of sand. I guess they must be tiny pieces of meat and bone?

    Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Rebecca,
    I either eat it or ignore it/pitch it depending on how much room I have in my storage jars. No big deal! ;) Katie

    Sharon Gamblin Reply:

    I strain it through cheese cloth. That catches most of it.

  • Sabrina :)

    This is so fantastic! The day I decided to get my organic whole raw chicken out and brave making some bone broth in the crockpot you started a series on bone broth! it is meant to be! :) and i’m realizing how really simple and excitingly gratifying it is that i’m able to make this for my family! i’m on round 2.
    the first batch is amazingly rich, yellow and beautiful looking! i had to take pictures. pictures of what utensils and cooking bowls i used too so that i know what i need to take out when i make this. i’m shooting for every other week!
    thanks so much for all you do, katie! you are impacting many families in a fantastic and positive way. Keep up the great work!

  • Lisa

    ok. I tried making my own chicken stock. It was awful. I made it in the crock pot. I work alot of hours, and did not want to leave the oven on while I was gone.
    I added the vegetables at the end for an hour or two. After I seperated it, it was greasy and had a vinegar taste. Should it taste like store bought broth, is it a different taste? I was afraid to use it, so I threw it out. I’ve started collecting bones, so I will try it again. I’m just not sure what taste I’m going for. Any comments would help.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Lisa,
    I don’t have store broth very often, so I almost can’t compare…but it shouldn’t taste like a totally different beast. I recommend skipping the vinegar for the next go round so you can eliminate that variable. I never taste the vinegar, but maybe I’m just not paying attention. I don’t usually drink straight broth either, at least not w/o plenty of salt and some garlic. I almost guarantee that there was nothing inherently wrong with your broth, and you probably would have enjoyed it as a base for soup and with enough salt. (1 tsp./quart or so) Some slow cookers cook so high, that it may have burned on the top, which can impart a bit of a yucky flavor. Try on a weekend on the stove? Try 4 hours instead of 24? Just see if you can get a batch you like, and then start adding the vinegar (not too much, and try apple cider vinegar instead of white) and cooking longer. Good luck! :) Katie

    Rebecca C Reply:

    my second batch of broth didn’t work out. I did it in the crock pot too. It smelled a little off and tasted a little off. Next time I will try the stove top on low, I think my crockpot was perhaps too hot. also I didn’t pick the meat scraps off the bones so maybe that flavored it badly the second time around. trial and error. I still got three quarts from the first batch, so it was worth it.

  • Clara

    This is great! I use my bones and veggies ends in my broths, but I had never thought to reuse the bones. Definitely trying this next time! :)

  • Jesilee

    You do through the bones out after the third batch, right? The way the article is written it almost sounds like you keep using the same bones over and over after adding new bones from the freezer. Or that they eventually totally dissolve, but that kind of grossed me out thinking it was perpetual from the freezer batch of bones… Eventually they are cashed out and so mushy you wouldn’t use them again? I have a hard time wanting to use it after the second time as they turn to complete mush, I bet the bones could be ground up for dog food or something though…

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Yes, they get thrown out! :) Katie

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  • Lindsay

    Just made my first batch! However I never skimmed off the gunk from the top after the initial boil as I put it on low and never looked again till the next morning. Is this bad? The sound of impurities that I never removed makes me nervous.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Lindsay,
    Yikes, your comment got totally misplaced, sorry about that! So I’m way too late to answer this time, but really – I’ve made plenty of batches of stock without doing any skimming. It’s still WAY healthier than whatever you could get in the store!! So don’t worry about it. If you remember, you remember, but if not, it’s still good stock, just might be cloudier. :) Katie

  • K

    I have a cousin that if she cooks her stock for more than two hours she gets migraines. Do you have any insight as to why that may be? I’d love to try using the crock pot & reusing the bones, but I’m a little skeptical. Any thoughts you may have would be most appreciated!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    K,
    Is it on a gas stove? Could have everything to do with gases emitted from the burner… A crockpot would be a different story if that’s the case. :) Katie

    K Reply:

    No, it was done in a crock pot overnight. She’s tried it more than once so I’m not sure what is going on. Must be something that’s pulled out of the bones that’s too much for her system to take. She’s back to doing it on the stove since it only cooks for two hours. Thanks for the quick response!

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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