Have clearer skin, shinier hair, increased energy, and a self-cleaning house just by drinking bone broth!
But seriously, bone broth is one of the hottest new beverages around, which is funny because it’s basically filtered cup o’ homemade soup. I’m not going to suggest you swap out your morning beverage for broth unless you want to (it does taste good), but I am going to tell you that you need to be making this because there is absolutely no reason to be buying your soup stock!
Early on in this blog’s life, I shared a post on making your own vegetable stock (click here to read), and I’ve been making vegetable and chicken stock for years. The last time I had a box of prepared broth in the house was just after Ava was born because we were running low on our freezer stock and I was on strict Godfather orders to stay out of the kitchen. I just don’t see why I would otherwise pay for something I can make with things I already have at home.
It took me a lot longer to try making beef broth though. It sounded more intimidating for some reason, and we always had plenty of vegetables and the occasional chicken to use for broth so we were never lacking. It wasn’t until recently when we joined a dairy CSA that I finally decided to give it a try. We were placing an order for a few things and were just under the order threshold where they don’t add a $1 processing fee. Adding a bag of marrow bones put us just over the threshold and so I figured it was a sign I needed to give this a go. Of course after making it and realizing how easy it was, I had a bit of a “really Mary?” moment. I can’t believe it took me so long, especially since it was kind of cool to have three different kinds of stock in my freezer at once. It felt very frontier domestic and House on the Prairie.
For me, it’s the long cooking time that kept me from making the broth because I just refuse to leave a pot simmering overnight for safety reasons. Using my slow cooker though, I can leave the bones cooking for 24 hours to get all the gelatin and healthy bone-stuff out without worry. This is another reason to love your slow cooker and why I think one is a must for healthy cooking.
You can make this with just bones and filtered water (our tap water smells like chlorine at the moment which I find unappetizing), or go ahead and add additional vegetables for flavor as I did here. The roasting is optional. I thought it might increase the depth of flavor and I was in the kitchen anyway for an hour, so I decided to roast the bones for this batch. I may not in future batches. It’s not a required step.
You’ll know you made this successfully when the broth gels as it cools. This is totally natural and really desirable because it means you extracted all the good minerals and vitamins from your bones. When it’s hot it all melts into a perfect cooking liquid, so don’t worry about having gelatinous soup. 😉 I took pictures of both the warm and cold broth so you can see what it looks like.
Beef bones usually have a little meat attached to them, and there will be a good amount of fat in your finished broth. You can leave it there and mix it in, it will melt into your liquid when you reheat the broth, or if you’d prefer a little less oily broth, just remove the layer of chilled fat from the top of your broth after refrigeration and before freezing (if you plan to freeze any). I sampled the broth with and without the extra fat and preferred the flavor without.
You can find beef bones very inexpensive at your local butcher, grocery store, or farmer’s market meat stand. Look for marrow bones, soup bones, or a mix of both. Throw some vegetables in if you want, and in no time at all you’ll have a nutritious stock ready for you to drink, cook with, or freeze for later!
- ~2 lbs beef bones
- 6-8 cups filtered water
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- salt to taste (if desired)
Optional (all or some, see notes):
- 2" fresh peeled ginger
- 1 small onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cloves garlic
- Optional: Sprinkle bones with salt and pepper and roast in a preheated 300 F oven 45 minutes.
- Place bones into your slow cooker with any vegetables, if desired.
- Cover with filtered water until the bones are just submerged.
- Cook on low 24 hours.
- Add salt if desired. I usually don't so I can salt dishes as needed when cooking.
- Pour carefully through a colander into a larger bowl to remove the solids.
- Cover the broth and place in the refrigerator at least 3 hours to chill and allow the fats to solidify. Remove if desired.
- Store broth up to one week in the fridge or divide into freezer-friendly containers and freeze for later.