How to Make Nourishing Stock/Bone Broth

A big stock pot is the best gift a bride can receive.”   Francis Pottenger

Throughout the ages stock and/or bone broth has been used to help heal the body. It’s used during colds and flu, known as “Jewish Penicillin”. It’s been used to help with digestive disorders, acid reflux, ulcers, and celiac. And nothing tastes better than making your very own stock. It nourishes the body and it nourished the soul.

But if you’re anything like me, making your own stock just seems…….hard.

For some reason it took me the longest time to start making my own! I’d find different directions, different ways of doing it, different recipes. Some people have an exact way of doing it, others just toss stuff in. Some folks wait to toss in the veggies till the end, some do it right away.

Then there’s the talk about gelatin and how to achieve it.

Well, let me tell you….it’s easier than you think.

What you need:

  • leftover chicken bones
  • some celery, carrots, and onion
  • bay leaf
  • vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)

Once your chicken is cooked and you’re done with dinner, place a stainless steel veggie steamer in the bottom of your crockpot. (You can also use a stock pot on the stove, but I like mine to simmer overnight and don’t feel comfortable with an open flame while I’m sleeping) Place your leftover chicken into the pot. Use the bones, skin, and any leftover meat. Have the chicken feet? Toss them in too. Don’t have them? Don’t worry, I never do either and it kind of grosses me out thinking about it. Though I should use them for health benefits.

homemade chicken broth

(You don’t have to use a steaming basket, but it makes it so much easier to get out the ‘yuck’ when it’s all done)

Now, here comes the important part. Pour in a Tbsp or two of vinegar and let sit for an hour before turning on the heat. The vinegar actually helps draw out the good and nourishing stuff from inside the bones. This also helps make your stock ‘gel’ when it cools. If it doesn’t gel, don’t worry about it, it’s still healthy and good for you. The gel-ing just means you have extra nourishment there.

The gelatin in it though is rich  in proline, hydroxyproline, and glycine (non-essential amino acids that most people are not healthy enough to produce themselves). It helps with the detoxification process in your body and is important for pregnant women and children.

broth_04_0102909

Then chop up some veggies and toss them in as well. If you have organic onions, go ahead and toss in the skins! (just wash them first) It’ll make it a nice golden color!

*As an added note, I have read that adding the veggies about halfway through is the ‘correct’ way to do it, but I never remember later so I do it all at once.

Go ahead and top with some sea salt and pepper as well as a bay leaf or two.

Now pour in about a half-gallon of water or so. Enough to cover everything in the pot.

broth_07_0102909

Turn crockpot on high and cover until boiling. Skim off any nasty stuff that comes to the top and then turn down to low.

Let simmer.

I like to let mine simmer at least overnight and normally for at least 24 hours. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it’ll get!

When you’ve decided it’s simmered long enough, pull out the straining basket, then pour through a mesh strainer to get all the little bits out as well.

You can then use it as is or place the pot of stock in the fridge to cool so you can skim the fat off the top.

broth_10_0102909

But fat is good for you and helps your body absorb nutrients. So don’t go crazy trying to get every last bit. But I also don’t like to feel like I’m slurping pure fat when I eat my soup, so I skim some off if it gets crazy thick on top. The above pot I did not skim at all!

You now have some fabulous homemade stock!

You can use it up right away or freeze/can it for future use.

This post is linked to: 2009 Stock Exchange

How to Make Nourishing Stock/Bone Broth
Author: 
Recipe type: Soups and Stews
 

Ingredients
  • leftover chicken bones
  • some celery, carrots, and onion
  • bay leaf
  • vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)

Instructions
  1. Place your leftover chicken into the pot.
  2. Pour in a Tbsp or two of vinegar and let sit for an hour before turning on the heat.
  3. Then chop up some veggies and toss them in as well.
  4. Go ahead and top with some sea salt and pepper as well as a bay leaf or two.
  5. Now pour in about a half-gallon of water or so. Enough to cover everything in the pot.
  6. Turn crockpot on high and cover until boiling. Skim off any nasty stuff that comes to the top and then turn down to low.
  7. Let simmer.
  8. I like to let mine simmer at least overnight and normally for about 24 hours. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it’ll get!
  9. When you’ve decided it’s simmered long enough, pull out the straining basket, then pour through a mesh strainer to get all the little bits out as well.
  10. You can then use it as is or place the pot of stock in the fridge to cool so you can skim the fat off the top.
  11. You can use it up right away or freeze/can it for future use.

making chicken broth



Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle is an author, amateur herbalist, lover of real food, and an advocate for natural health. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health, so much so that she is currently taking courses to become a master herbalist. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she began this blog in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to healing.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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Comments

  1. I recently purchased an entire case of Imagine brand organic, free range chicken broth through my food co-op, because I don’t always have the chicken bones on hand to make it myself. I’m glad I was able to get a quality product for when I can’t make it myself, but as far as flavor goes, Imagine’s got nothing on my homemade crockpot stock! Seriously, SO good.

    I’m curious…do you know how long this will keep in the fridge? I freeze most of mine in ice cube trays, so then I can just toss a couple in the pot with whatever I’m cooking, but I like to have some thawed on hand as well.

    • @April, You know, I don’t know the ‘technical’ expiration date on it, but I’d keep it in the fridge as long as I’d keep cooked chicken. Maybe a week or less?

  2. recently i’ve found that my canning jars are breaking frequently in my freezer when filled with stock.

    i leave a good two inches space between broth and lid. i cool in the fidge before putting in freezer. it usually happens when i use the white lids. any ideas?

    • @Katherine, Maybe the air has a hard time getting out when the liquid freezes and takes up more space with the plastic lids. (?) I know the 2 part lids are made so the air escapes after canning and when the ‘vacuum’ tries to suck it back in that’s what seals it.
      Whenever I freeze in glass I leave the lids off until they are fully frozen. I just have to remember to put them on!!

  3. You are a wealth of knowledge! Thanks for a great, informative post.

    I am finally learning to remember that vinegar step. Is it okay to just use white vinegar? Sometimes it seems I only have that or red wine vinegar on hand…

    I confess that I skim the heck out of my stock because I hate any greasy taste. Perhaps I need to learn to loosen up a bit about that. ;)

    Thanks so much for linking up to the Stock Exchange!

    • @JessieLeigh, Regular vinegar should be just fine! It’s what I used last night when I put my turkey carcass in the pot. It’s been simmering now for like 20 hours. :-) It better be some gooooood stock!

      And yea, I’m still working on leaving more grease in it. I still skim at least half of it off, and more so the thicker it is on top.

  4. I’ve never done the vinegar step, but maybe I’ll try that next time. I wonder where you got that steamer basket idea from? ;-) Ingenious!

    • @Dawn, Fabulous, right? :-)Thanks to you it makes making stock just a bit easier! Just wish I could have done it with my turkey too. Getting that carcass out of the pot bits at a time was ridiculous!

  5. Are you able to freeze this in the jars? Where do you get your plastic lids? I have a few that I got at a yard sale and absolutely love, and I’d like to get some more.

    • donielle says:

      @Sarah, I have frozen broth in jars before, it just takes a little more vigilance. :-) I usually leave about 2 inches of head space to be safe and then leave the plastic lids on loosely until it’s frozen. (that way pressure won’t build up when it expands) I also let it cool in the fridge overnight first – then pop them in the freezer – then screw the lids on tight.

      I got my plastic lids from our local supermarket, right near the canning supplies. I’ve seen them at hardware stores too with the canning stuff!

  6. Good broth post- I’d never known about the vinegar. I cook mine on the stove (with the neck, feet, skin, etc. of some chickens I’ve split and frozen). After I strain out the veggies, bones, meat, and skin I skim off as much fat as I can to use for cooking. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it, so I don’t know if it’s unsafe, but I don’t want to waste anything I might be able to use!

    • donielle says:

      @Teresa, Good for you for using all the ‘extras’ when making it! And people fry with duck fat so I don’t see why chicken fat wouldn’t work. :-)

  7. bone broth is delicious and healthy. Makes a rich base for any dish. thanks for the recipe!

  8. I do my own broth all the time. I have a few things I do different and just want to share.

    I use a meat mallet to crack the bones open to allow all the good stuff in the marrow to come out easier.

    I also don’t skim right away, let me explane. If I am intenting to store this broth in the fridge or freezer I do not skim the fat before storage. I just take my container fill it up and store it. Leaving the fat on the top acts like a protective layer and you maintain a better flavor. Then when you are ready to use the stock just remove the fat then if you choose to.
    I like your site.

    • donielle says:

      @Christy, Thanks for the tips! I have broken the bones a few times, but never thought about leaving the fat on to protect flavor – great idea!

  9. What about putting some pieces of ginger in it to give it a boost

  10. I’ve read a lot about making chicken broth, but what about beef broth? We just purchased 1/2 of a grass-fed cow – an exciting purchase indeed! We were given something called “soup bones,” and I assume the only use for them would be to make broth. Maybe I’m wrong. If so, please enlighten me, as this is all new to me!

    I would imagine the process is similar to making chicken broth, but I wasn’t sure if I should still use the vinegar. Also, I would think that different spices might be used, and possibly a different amount of water……I really have no idea!

    We love to add beef broth to our homemade spaghetti sauce, and I’d love to get away from the store-bought stuff! Thanks!

    • @Alex, The one thing I do different with the soup bones is I roast them first. (helps with color and flavor) Just like I normally cook the chicken first actually. Then, yes – same instructions with just enough water to cover the bones plus some. I also add in more onion. :-) I have to make more soon – I’ll write up a post about it when I do!

  11. @Katherine

    I always leave an inch or more head space when I freeze my stock but just to cover my bases I freeze my jars with the lid off and then once they are solid I put the lids on. I have put them in with the lids on and have never had a problem but I use the two piece lid with old canning flats that cannot be reused. If you’re going to stick with the plastics try freezing them first and then putting your lids on. Hope it helps!

  12. I have always wanted to make my own stock since buying it is so expensive. I do have some questions though. Most of my soups call for 4 cups of broth. it seems like I’d have to make stock every couple of days to keep up my supply. The stock you make at home; do you use it as is or dilute it with water for soups and sauces?

    • @Soccy, It depends on how much I have at a given time and how ‘strong’ it is. A really flavorful broth I’ll dilute a bit especially when I make soups that simmer for awhile with veggies and meat in them. Gravies I like to use it ‘full strength’ for lots of flavor. Either way will work. :-)

  13. Great site! I love how accurate your information is. One thing my family friend and nutritionist and family friend taught me was to grind the bones. Sounds weird I know. But if you buy a quality organic chicken you can grind the bones in a high powered blender like bled tech or vita mix with fat, liver, skin, and all plus some water. There are so many minerals and nutrients in the bones. It’s not so tasty …it’s blan actually, but in soups or with added sea salt and veggies it’s just fine. I think I’ll make broth how you do it and then grind the bones. Love your blog! Just started reading today!

    • donielle says:

      @Amanda, Hmm…never thought of grinding the bones! I have been taking a rolling pin and breaking them open before I make the broth now. I get much more consistent broth that gels quite nicely!

  14. I was just wondering about using a crock-pot to make broth today! Glad I found this- your site is awesome!

  15. I make chicken soup by putting the whole chicken into a pot, covering with water, adding some seasoning (usually thyme, parsley, garlic and sea salt) and veggies (spinach, carrots, celery and onion). Then I let it simmer for a couple hours. My question is, could I use the chicken bones to then make broth? I’ve followed your instructions and its been in my crockpot for almost 20 hours now but it doesn’t look anything like your pictures. Thanks! I love your site!

  16. Question – how long does homemade stock last in the fridge? How long does the chicken fat last in the fridge. I made 2 chickens tonight. Saved the fat, bones, skin, and all. But never stored it in the fridge before. Just wondering. Thank you :-)

  17. :) I am going to try making my own stock this week. How do you freeze it? I don’t own any glass jars, but would that be the best way to freeze stock? :D

    • @Amy, With glass jars I just fill about 2/3 full and let it freeze before capping. Otherwise I use ziploc bags – brand name and not storebought. Storebought tend to leak a lot in my experience! Just wait until the broth cools off and then pour into the bags.

  18. When you say leftover chicken bones do you mean bones from a chicken that was already cooked?

    • Yes, I use already cooked chicken bones. You could use uncooked chicken and just boil the entire piece and pull of the meat after a few hours, but I like the flavor of the broth if the bones are roasted previously.

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