As with any type of broth, the most important ingredient is bones. But you can add extras to make it more nutrient-dense. In addition to bones, people use marrow, meat, tendons, feet, heads, fish skins, and pig’s feet. This article will focus on making a simple bone broth using only bones and water.
However, if you’re going to eat animal foods in general or want a deeper understanding of nutrition that goes beyond the scope of this page, then we suggest reading through our articles on grass-fed meats and organ meats to familiarize yourself with what types of nutritious food are out there.
And if you’d like some further reading about how nutrient-density works and how to best achieve it, then you can pick up a copy of Nutrient-Rich by WAPF founder Sally Fallon Morell and nutritionist Dr. Thomas Cowan.
The following tips will help ensure that you’re making the highest-quality bone broth possible.
Bone broths are rich in minerals.
It’s important to use purified water when making broth so that you don’t leach minerals from the bones, which can affect the flavour of your broth.
Start with cold water.
The most crucial step in making bone broth is to add enough high-quality filtered water. If you’re using bones and joints and no meat (which doesn’t add much in the way of flavor), then you’ll want to use at least two quarts of water for every pound of bones.
For example: 2 quarts x 32 ounces = 64 ounces or 4 cups per pound = 16 cups of total liquid . When using whole chickens, remember to consider the weight of the chicken (use our free eCourse on butchery here ).
For concentrated flavor, roast your bones (before adding water).
Roasting the bones first will make the broth slightly darker and more flavorful. If you’re using roasted bones , then start with cold water and only use one quart of filtered water per each pound of roasted bones .
Use cold or room-temperature filtered water for best results.
We recommend using cold or room-temperature filtered water because it leaches less minerals out of the bone than hot water does.
Hot tap water also decreases the temperature of your cooking environment, which can lead to an increase in bacterial growth within the first hour after making your broth (it takes about 2 hours for chicken feet to re-heat to 110˚ Fahrenheit ). If you don’t have a thermometer to monitor your broth’s temperature, then you can use the Spork app for your phone.
Turn up the heat!
Once your water reaches a low simmer , turn up the heat as high as possible without letting it boil over. If there are bits of scum on top of your water, then skim those off with a slotted spoon or strain through cheesecloth .
Keep an eye on things and remove impurities as needed towards the end.
About an hour before you plan to make your broth, start checking it periodically . Remove any surface oil with a paper towel (that will keep the smell from transferring to your hands) and skim off foam if necessary. Rinse bones under cold running water.
Don’t use a pressure cooker.
While some people have had success making broth in a pressure cooker , we don’t recommend it for several reasons:
1) It can cause too much of the natural gelatin to leach out of the bones, resulting in diluted flavor and less nutrition;
2) It’s hard to remove any oil floating on top without using something other than water (some broths may be okay with oil because you’ll strain them before drinking them); and
3) Most people don’t do well processing hot liquid in a machine that also heats a liquid.
If possible, find skin-on/bone-in cuts .
Using skin-on chicken carcasses will produce more collagen per pound of bones since they’re denser than skinless bones. If you’re using skin-on chicken pieces, then place the skin and bones into your pot as soon as you bring it to a simmer, and remove them before straining.
Avoid vinegar during your first couple of batches.
There are certain acids (like vinegar) that can affect how much gelatin is leached from the bones (which will make your broth cloudy). Using too much vinegar or citrus juice may also change the flavour of your broth – we recommend waiting until later batches before trying those things — if at all — to avoid compromising taste and nutrition.
Let everything cool for about an hour after cooking.
Since you don’t want to drink hot broth made with hot water, let everything cool down for an hour so you don’t burn yourself when transferring the liquid to storage containers. At this point, your broth will be cloudy and look unappetizing (this is okay).
Fill glass jars only up to 80˚ Fahrenheit.
Remember that glass is an insulator , so it’ll take longer for your stored broth to cool down than it did for the liquid in your pot after cooking.
This means that if you put hot liquid into a glass jar , then it’ll take much longer than one hour before it reaches temperatures that could cause shattering (even if the liquid has fully cooled in its storage container). Using wide-mouth mason jars helps since they’re easier to access when hot.