Making homemade bone broth is so easy, and you’ll save money – LOTS of it – and nourish your family well at the same time. What could be more frugal than getting multiple batches of stock out of the same bones over and over again?
Follow these instructions for never ending broth to get delicious and nutritious broth at the ready, whenever you need it.
People are often asking where to start: you know, when they’re first coming over to a real food lifestyle and feel overwhelmed at the laundry list of changes they’ll have to make to their standard American diet (read: processed foods).
A few years ago, over the course of six months, our family moved twice, lived with my in-laws (which was wonderful, but not my own kitchen), and had a baby. After those experiences, I can say with absolute certainty the procedures I won’t ever stop doing vs. those I can let drop for a season.
My top three kitchen routines are those that embody the mission of Kitchen Stewardship best:
- saves money
- superb nutrition
- doesn’t take much time
The earth would be one thing I’d compromise on a bit if I had to (sorry, Earth), but even so, all of these practices are gentle on the environment as well.
My Top Three
- homemade yogurt
- cooking with dry beans I’ve said all I can say about beans in the aptly titled The Everything Beans Book (although I admit I grabbed a can or two or ten during the craziest of times)
- homemade chicken stock
This week we’re talking broth.
More specifically, how to make even more free broth from one lousy whole chicken.
Bones Once, Broth Thrice
My mother would say I got greedy.
I say I’m just stocking up.
I credit Amanda Rose for my flowing rivers of broth, as she proved what I always secretly hoped: that you can reuse bones for multiple batches of stock, and there’s still good stuff in there. She and her mom achieved a good in TWELVE successive batches of beef bone broth with the same bones. Amanda does note in this great guest post that chicken bones won’t last more than 3-5 batches.
I’ve given it a go two or three times now, including a huge pot of turkey stock from a whole turkey.
In my experience, the first batch of stock is fabulously rich, the second is still great for many soups, especially those that might be blended or have heavy spices anyway, and the third is quite thin, used to augment rice dishes or creamy soups. I label them accordingly for storage: “chix broth 2nds” or “turk broth 3rds”
My freezer runneth over.
The Basics of Never Ending Broth
If you’ve never even made your own stock before, period, here’s a refresher:
- Cover bones (cooked or uncooked) completely with cold water in a large pot. Add a glug of vinegar (this pulls out the minerals so they get into the stock). Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Bring to a boil, but just barely.
- Skim and discard any foam you see.
- Simmer for 4-24 hours, adding onion, garlic, carrots and celery for the last 30-60 minutes and a bunch of fresh parsley for the final 10. Salt to taste (or salt when you use the broth – just do the same thing every time so you remember!).
- Strain out solids and cool broth.
For more detailed instructions, view the full post on how to make homemade chicken stock.
Here’s where things change for the greedy broth users among you:
- Sort out the vegetables from the bones.
- Return the bones to the pot – you may break them or smash them with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin to release even more bone marrow. (Or ask your husband to see if he’s tough enough to break the leg bones…that usually gets the job done!)
- Cover with cold water again; vinegar optional.
- Repeat steps 2 through 5 above.
How simple is that?
The only complicated bit about it is if you’re trying to make big huge batches on the stovetop. I started running out of places to PUT the broth as I was straining it. When I did a batch from split chicken breast bones in the slow cooker, it was a no brainer.
Sometimes I’d totally skip adding the vegetables and label the broth “unflavored broth,” knowing I could still use it for thicker soups, rice, or other applications where the flavor isn’t important but a little boost of nutrition wouldn’t hurt. The process was even simpler because I didn’t have to sort out the bones:
Dump bones out into strainer with bowl underneath, dump back into slow cooker, fill with water. Lovely.
What to do with the Vegetables?
Now that I’ve started adding the veggies at the end instead of the beginning, I can even use them in chicken soup when possible. I used to just throw them away, every time, and you’ll probably find that you need to do some of that once you start getting a few gallons of stock from one bird. Just remember that you’ve sucked all the nutrients out of that carrot, so it’s really just packaging. Compost it if it would make you feel better.
What to do with all that Stock?
First of all, hopefully, you are able to incorporate a meal with stock in it once a week already. Now you can increase the frequency – make more soup, use stock to cook rice, use it in place of water in chili (Recipe available in The Everything Beans Book) or veggie bean burritos, make gravy, add stock to creamy soups and dips, or even drink a cup of plain stock, flavored with herbs and salted well, before a meal to aid digestion.
Be sure to check out the many ideas to enhance your stock making process in the Encyclopedia of Chicken Stock.
As you incorporate stock into your meal plan, you’ll find that the process becomes second nature to you, just part of your routine.