Whether you are doing an intense gut healing diet like G.A.P.S. or you are just getting healthier and in better shape with a diet like Keto or Paleo, bone broth should be a big part of your meal plan!
In this post you will learn more about bone broth, its nutritional and healing benefits, how to make it, how to use it, how to store it, and more!
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is an intensely nutritious food made from meat bones. Bone broth is cooked on a low temperature for a long period of time, usually 8-48 hours, depending on the desired intensity.
It is important to note, that while bone broth is great on the GAPS diet, the Intro Diet starts out with stock, as it's easier on the system. Then you can work up to bone broth over time.
What's the Difference Between Broth, Stock, and Bone Broth?
You may hear the terms broth, stock, and bone broth all used interchangeably. And while they are created in generally the same way (water, meat/bones, and seasonings) they do have some fundamental differences you should know about.
Broth: Broth is the quickest of the three to make and is generally made with meat and can contain a small amount of bones. For example, when you boil a whole chicken you are making broth. A fast process, broth is typically simmered on a low to medium heat for about 45 minutes to 2 hours. Unlike the next 2, broth has a light flavor, thin texture, and can be hidden easily in other dishes.
Broth is also a rich source of protein.
Stock: Stock is made with bones that have a little bit of meat still on them. These are often referred to as soup bones, joint bones, or marrow bones.
Often the bones are roasted or soaked in apple cider vinegar water before simmering them as this greatly improves the flavor. Stock is generally only simmered for a moderate amount of time (3 to 4 hours). Additionally, stock is a good source of gelatin and protein.
Bone Broth: Bone broth is generally made with the same type of bones as stock; bones that have a little bit of meat still on them.
Just like with stock, bones are typically roasted or soaked first to enhance the flavor of the finished bone broth. However, unlike stock, bone broth is cooked the longest of the three and is typically simmered over low heat for somewhere between 8 and 24+ hours. The reason for such a long cook time is to release trace minerals from the bones, as well as to create a thick gelatin, marrow, and collagen rich bone broth.
Note: To fully remove the marrow from the bones once the bone broth is finished cooking, gently tap the bones on the side of the pot and the marrow should just fall out!
You can leave the marrow in the bone broth for consumption that way, or you can remove it and serve it separately. Some people like to blend it up and then mix it in with soups for an easier time eating it.
Bone Broth Benefits
Bone broths are a wonderful source for both minerals and proteins that you body needs to support healing and normal functions. Such as glycine which supports the process of detoxification and digestion - it is also needed for your body to produce hemoglobin, bile salts and other important chemicals the body needs to function properly.
Bone broth is also an important source of gelatin which can support skin and joint health. Because gelatin is also a big help in the digestive health of your body, it's easy to see why it's a foundational requirement of the GAPS diet!
Bone Broth Recipes: How to Make Bone Broth
There are a few different ways to make bone broth; in a stock pot on the stove or in a crockpot. You can even make bone broth in an Instant Pot!
Beef Bone Broth
Add bones to a large stock pot and cover with water. Then add a tablespoon of apple cider vinager. This helps the bones release the vital nutrients during the cooking process.
Add high quality salt, peppercorns, and fresh garlic to taste.
Let the bones sit in the water without heat for 30-60 minutes. Then bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) for 8-10 hours. You can simmer for up to 36 hours, adding more water as needed.
After cooking, remove the bones and let them cool. Once cooled, you can freeze them for a second use (if you cooked them for only 8 hours), or you can then throw them away.
If you cooked the bones long enough to release the marrow, knock the bones on the side of a bowl WHILE STILL HOT to release all the marrow.
Strain the stock to remove peppers and any bone fragments that may have broken off during the cooking process.
Chicken Bone Broth
The process for making chicken bone broth is very similar to that of making beef broth.
We like to roast a whole chicken in the oven, strip the meat, and use the bones for bone broth.
Once you have the chicken bones from a whole chicken (or you can use chicken feet, or a combination of the two), place them in a large stock pot, cover with water, and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and simmer for 8-10 hours. Again, you can simmer for up to 36 hours, adding more water as needed.
Once you've simmered the chicken bone broth as long as you'd like, strain the broth into a container to remove the bones. Discard the bones as desired.
Instant Pot Bone Broth
While slow cooking of bone broth is important for gut healing, if you're just making bone broth for cooking you can make it in an instant pot easily!
Follow the directions for stove top bone broth of your choice, but set the Instant Pot to "soup", low pressure, and 120 cook time.
Once cook time has completed, be sure to let the Instant Pot depressurize naturally. Then process the bone broth as desired.
Crockpot Bone Broth
If you need to "set it and forget it" for a while, slow cooker or crockpot bone broth is a great way to have homemade bone broth without the worry of making it on the stove top!
Follow the directions for stove top bone broth of your choice, but set the crockpot to low and cook for 18 - 72 hours.
How to Use Bone Broth
This bone broth makes a delicious base for any soup. Just add meat and veggies of your choice and enjoy!
Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Chicken Bone Broth Soup
Beef Stew with Cabbage
Egg Drop Soup (leave out the soy sauce)
You can also use bone broth for stuffings, mashed potatoes, chili, and more!
Any savory dish where you would use water, try bone broth instead for a healthy (and delicious) boost!
Bone Broth FAQs
Can you tell me where to buy bone broth?
Bone broth is available both online and in many local grocery stores. However, the heating process that bone broth undergoes to make it shelf stable damages the nutrition and protein within the bone broth, making it much less healing than homemade.
Can I freeze my bone broth?
Yes! We have had the same wonderful healing results from frozen and gently reheated bone broth as we have from drinking it fresh!
Be sure to choose your glass containers carefully as some may shatter during the thawing process. That will not only ruin the container, but it will also ruin your bone broth!
How long does bone broth last in the fridge?
We use ours for about 5-7 days, because we make it in small batches. If you want to make a larger batch but know that you won't use it all that quickly, you can freeze it until you need it later.
How do I thaw frozen bone broth?
Since we store ours in glass jars, we simply take a jar out of the freezer the night before we need it and place it in the fridge in the warmest part. This is usually the bottom shelf or the door.
By the next day it's thawed and ready to re-heat on the stove!
Can I microwave bone broth?
No! This will destroy all the benefits of the bone broth. Only heat your bone broth on the stovetop.
To do so, place your desired amount into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally to help melt the fat. Once you start to see steam rising from the broth, it's ready to drink!
How can I take bone broth with me to work?
Since you can't use the microwave to heat the broth once you are at work, the best solution is to heat it in the morning to boiling, then pour into a thermos for eating later on.
While the broth will lose some of its heat as the day goes on, it should still be very warm if you use a good quality thermos!
Can I give bone broth to my dog?
Yes! Bone broth that has been strained (so there are no small bones) is a wonderful and healthy addition to your dog's diet!
We like to give the grain-free dry dog food with a cup of bone broth on top to our dogs. It creates a really nutrient dense meal for them and helps with their joint health as well!
Tina Maskowski says
Thank you for this very informative article. I wanted to know how helpful it is for kids to consume it.
We have found it very useful for our son as he healed from gut issues that were created after medical issues during his first week of life on the outside of the womb. We make soups with it, or cook heritage grains (after soaking) in the broth to help him be more willing to consume it.