The How and Why of Broth

(As I type, I have over 30 posts languishing in "draft" mode.  I have so many things I want to talk about - this blog is my therapy - just not enough time to do it. I started this particular post on broth, oh...about a year ago.  Some of the pictures I took at our old house - as evidenced by the green counters...we moved almost 10 months ago now!)

There is always a crockpot (or two) of broth humming away on my kitchen counter.

A few years ago, if I'd peeked in my crockpot and saw a pile of bones I would have thought, "ick".  Now I peek in and think, "ahhhhhh....nourishing"!

We've all heard the old home remedy of eating chicken soup when you're sick.  Well, that would be chicken soup made with homemade broth...not the MSG, soy-laden soup that you'll find in BPA-lined cans on store shelves.

This homemade broth is seriously so good for us.  Broth boasts an impressive supply of minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorous among them), and also includes collagen and amino acids.

Katie at Wellness Mama did a fantastic job of explaining more benefits of broth in her post on How to Make Bone Broth.

A couple more great resources explaining "why" you should make broth:

10 Health Benefits of Bone Broth by Primally Inspired

I first tried making broth after reading about it in Nourishing Traditions years ago.  I obediently followed Sally Fallon's directions and had a 10 qt. pot simmering away on the stove-top for over 24 hours.  The broth was fine...but I did not like the process at all.  Maybe no one else would be bothered by this, but that big 'ol pot was in my way right there on the stove-top...and for that long.

So I gave up (I give up easy), and didn't try to make my own broth again for years after that.

And then...I saw this post on Thank Your Body about making broth in the crockpot, and this post on Nourished Kitchen which reiterates what that post says...and endorses the very user-friendly idea of keeping a batch of "perpetual broth" broth going for days.  LOVE this process.

Now this broth-making thing was all starting to make more sense and seem more do-able. 

We have roasted chicken for supper frequently anyway, so using the leftover bones and carcass and giblets to make this broth was a wonderful and healthy use of what we already had on had.  (A few years ago when I stopped buying boneless/skinless chicken breasts and switched to whole chickens, it took me a while to stop cringing when I handled the chicken and the giblets, but I began doing it because I knew it was so good for us (and cheaper!), and much to my surprise...I survived!)




Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Bragg's (optional - it reportedly draws more minerals out of the bones, and if I remember, I add it.  But I don't always remember)

Dump all the bones, carcass, and pan drippings from a roasted chicken (or two) into the crockpot:

Fill the crockpot the rest of the way up with filtered water, and then add a tablespoon of the apple cider vinegar (if you remember).  Turn the crockpot on low and let it simmer away for 24 hours.

After about 24 hours, ladle broth out, using a strainer to catch any bones, etc.  Refill the water and let the broth simmer away for another 24 hours.  I usually refill the crockpot twice...so I end up getting three batches of broth (equaling about 3 gallons total) and the whole process goes for 3 days from the time I start the broth.

We eat roasted chicken often enough that I usually just make broth from the chickens, but you can also make wonderful, healthy broth from beef soup bones or "oxtail."  If I'm using beef soup bones for making broth - and I'm not being lazy - I follow the first bullet point in this post and roast the bones first.  I like it better that way, but I'm just lazy sometimes and don't do that first. 

Other info:  
I use a 7-qt. slow cooker.  Don't get the fancy one with the timer, because it will just keep shutting itself off and you have to catch it and turn it back on.  Since I normally cook each batch of broth for about 3 days, it is a pain messing with the model that has the timer.

Most broth recipes call for you to add veggies in, but it didn't take me long to stop putting any vegetables in mine.  Throwing leftover scraps in there would be fine, but buying veggies just to throw in the pot made it more expensive and I like **cheaper**.  I couldn't tell a difference in the flavor, and the way I figure, most of the time we're using the broth to make soup, which means we'll be adding veggies in then.  So I just don't bother with veggies now.  Besides they take up space in the pot that could be water being made into broth!

I store my broth in re-purposed glass jars.  I have had very mixed/limited success freezing it in the jars.  Even with leaving headspace for expansion, sometimes the jars broke.  But sometimes they didn't.  Thank your Body shows her freezing hers in plastic, but we've largely phased plastic out of our kitchen. We use our broth up quick enough that I don't need to worry about freezing much anyway.

So what do we do with all this broth?  We make yummy, nourishing soups with it (click HERE or HERE if you need inspiration)....

....and we just drink it straight up in mugs.  Well, not exactly "straight up"...first we "doctor it up" with salt and other spices.

I just use sea salt...but the children like to add other things, like garlic powder, seasoned salt, etc.

Noah and Elisabeth drink the broth no problem, but Daniel and LK **love** it.  They ask for it with breakfast most mornings.



  1. Broken jars stink! Katie has figured out that laying them on their side when freezing can stop the breaking.

  2. Love this! Thank you. I make it in the crockpot weekly because we have roast chicken once a week, but I didn't know you could use the same bones for three batches. Wonderful idea! (visiting from Raising Arrows).



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