I have a secret to share with you… I have a mysterious bag living in my freezer – my private stash. Every day I add a little something to it and hide it back away.
It’s not what you think. It’s bones. Chicken bones, beef bones, onion peels, carrot peelings, parsley bits, and celery ends… What normally would be tossed into the garbage is everything you need for a great broth.
Bone broth is currently uber-popular and taking the nation by storm. It’s being touted as being better than botox, a cellulite reducer, great for arthritis and healing for the digestive tract. Devotees in New York City buy it by the coffee cup for nearly $9! Kobe Bryant and the entire Lakers team love it to refuel post-game. There’s also a reason that chicken soup has been know for generations as a cold-fighter.
Here in Portland, we recently got our first Bone Broth Bar, Jola Cafe. Like you would with coffee or tea, you can customize your cup, but instead of milk and sugar, seasonings like smoked paprika, garam masala, nutmeg, tabasco, chili oil, and sriracha are added from the self-serve bar.
I love that there’s the option to pick up a cup of this healthy broth on the go. However, I prefer to make my broth at home. It’s so easy and SO much cheaper. When roasting a chicken, braising short ribs, chopping vegetables, and scrambling eggs throughout the week, add those bones, scraps and (rinsed) eggshells to a large ziploc bag in your freezer. When your baggie is full, empty it into your slow cooker, add water to cover and add a good glug of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar helps pull the nutrients out of the bones, but don’t worry, you won’t taste it.
It’s highly desired for your broth to gel when cooled. This is a sign that it’s got plenty of great collagen and gelatin going on – those goodies that make your skin plump, coat your digestive tract, and cushion your joints. However, don’t worry if your broth doesn’t gel, it’s still got minerals and nutrition galore. It could simply mean that your ratio of water to bones is too great, or the quality of your bones may not be up to par. For example, conventionally raised chickens don’t have as much collagen in their joints and bones. Marrow rich beef on the other hand, will produce plenty of gelatinous goodness.
I like to enjoy my broth straight up, in the late morning and late afternoon, like a savory cup of tea. Your slow cooker will provide you with about 4 quarts of broth. It will keep in the fridge for up to five days. For longer storage, I like to freeze one cup portions for easy use in recipes.
- (This recipe isn't really a recipe - I just use whatever scraps I have stashed away in the freezer. Below is a overview to get you started)
- 2 carrots, chopped medium
- 2 celery stalks, chopped medium
- 1 medium onion, chopped medium
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3.5 lb of beef or chicken bones, or combination of both
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- Place the bones your slow cooker. The bones should fill up about ¾ of the slow-cooker.
- Chop your vegetables and garlic, no need to peel. You can also add vegetable scraps and rinsed, crushed egg shells into your slow-cooker. You'll be straining these out before consuming the broth.
- Fill the slow-cooker with water. Season with a generous amount of salt (about 1-1.5 tsp).
- Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (you won't notice the taste).
- Cook on low and cook for 18-72 hours.
- Strain the broth through cheesecloth or a strainer and cool. A good broth will usually have a layer of fat on the top, and will gelatinize when thoroughly cool. Remove the fat with a spoon and discard.