My culinary education from birth to eighteen can be summed up like this:
- Pasta is done when you throw it against the wall and it sticks.
- Hungry for a baked potato? Stab some holes in a spud and microwave for 10 minutes.
- Want some blueberry muffins slathered in margarine for dessert? Grab a box from aisle five.
Learning to cook real food was not something that happened gradually for me. One day I couldn’t look at the bones from the my extra spicy wings order, the next I had fish heads in my cabinet . . . and they were looking at me!
Those of you that know my story know that I had a lot of motivation to make healthy changes. What you probably don’t know is that back when my kitchen was so small I had only one drawer, my dream was to help others take steps toward health by teaching classes in my home. Though I have more than one drawer now, I still can’t fit all of you into my kitchen – so I’m going to bring my kitchen to you!
Welcome to my real food basics series. We’re going to cover what to eat, why, and how to do it even if you’ve got little humans strapped to you for most of the day. (Literally or figuratively – see the video below)
First up, how to make bone broth.
Benefits of Bone Broth
Before we talk about how, though, let’s talk about why. Bone broth is magical stuff that contains:
- The “spark plugs” you need to function: Minerals activate enzymatic processes needed to function well. Bone broth contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals in easily assimilated form.
- Nutrients that keep you moving, pain-free: Specifically, I’m talking about glucosamine and chondroitin, which support joint function. (You can often find expensive supplements featuring these two nutrients at health food stores) (source)
- Anti-aging components: Gelatin supports healthy digestion and strengthens hair, skin and nails. It also nourishes connective tissues, which helps to prevent premature skin sagging and cellulite. Broth also contains the amino acid proline, which is necessary for the production of collagen.
- Detoxification support: The amino acid glycine helps the liver with detoxification. Glycine is also essential for the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent premature aging
It’s budget-friendly, too. Not only is it inexpensive to make, regular consumption may reduce the amount of meat you need to consume for optimal health. (source)
Click here for twenty more ways to save money while eating healthy.
Quick Tip: How I Freeze Broth Without Breaking My Jars
It’s weird but true – water is one of the only substances that actually expands when frozen. I finally realized this after my billionth jar of precious golden liquid broke in the freezer.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered a method that keeps my jars from cracking, so I thought I’d pass it along. After straining the broth, I pour it into wide-mouth mason jars and leave a 1.5 inch (or more) gap at the top of the jar. That way when the liquid expands slightly and the glass contracts slightly, there’s a little “give.” Oh, and I avoid putting hot jars of broth in the freezer. They always go in the fridge to cool before getting transferred. Hope this works for you as well!
What Kinds Of Bones Should I Use?
Bones from industrially produced bones can contain hormones and other unwanted residues. For that reason, I recommend sourcing bones from healthy, pasture-raised animals and wild-caught fish.
Video Tutorial: How to Make Bone Broth in a Slow Cooker
How To Make Bone Broth In A Slow Cooker
- 1 - 1 ½ lbs chicken (beef, lamb or fish bones)
- 1 small onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 2 - 3 carrots (chopped)
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 ½ tsp unrefined sea salt (to taste)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (for chicken bones - 1 tbsp + 1.5 tsp for fish - 2 tbsp for beef)
- water (enough to cover the bones)
- ½ tsp whole peppercorns (optional)
- 2 chicken feet (optional - Yours will probably come prepared, but if not here's how to do it yourself)
- Place one pound of chicken bones in a slow cooker with veggies, salt and peppercorns.
- Pour in enough filtered water to cover the chicken.
- Add 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Turn slow cooker on low and cook for the recommended amount of time:
- Chicken bones: 8-24 hours
- Beef bones: 8-72 hours
- Fish bones: 6-24 hours
- When desired, strain the broth and discard the bones, vegetables and peppercorns. Pour broth into jars and store in the fridge. If you would like to freeze your broth, see my note at the end for how to freeze in jars.
Recipes Using Bone Broth
Egg Drop Soup – Simple and quick, this protein-packed egg drop soup is my “go to” recipe when I need to get something on the table fast.
Tortilla Soup – Fresh cilantro leaves and a hint of lime meld with the subtle heat of poblano and jalapeno peppers in this belly warming chicken tortilla soup recipe. It’s one of my favorite ways to use homemade bone broth and leftover whole roast chicken.
Stuffed Pepper Soup – This hearty soup is perfect for chilly winter days. You can make a double batch and freeze half for an easy meal later on, too.