Traditional Food How To: Bone Broth {in the slow cooker}

I get lots of questions about how I make my bone broth.

I started out using a recipe from a book, but have adapted my own way of doing it since then.

Bone broth is FULL of nutrients that help heal the body and gut, & improve digestion.  Do a quick Google search for the benefits of bone broth, and you will see what I mean-gelatin, proteins, and nutrients dense, it is a favorite in our home.

Our family used it as the base of a homemade baby formula {and part 2 here} for our son with a dairy allergy, and a very messed up gut.  Every bit of me (and my husband) believes that bone broth helped heal our infant son’s gut, get him off medications, and get him healthy again, as an alternative to commercial formulas.  {I am not a doctor and what I write here is strictly my opinion, not medical fact}

We now give bone broth with a pinch of real salt during illnesses, cold season, and share with the dogs, chickens, and cats.

So if you want to replace the store bought “broths” and sodium in a square bullion cubes for a real, nutrient dense food, that is easy to make, keep reading!

  1. First, you have to get the bones by preparing a chicken, preferably from an organic grassfed chicken.  So, I make (an amazing) whole chicken in the crock pot or using my 9 Qt Le Crueset in the oven.
  2. Just cut up some carrots and onion, maybe some garlic, and any other veggies you like.
  3. I rub my chicken down with organic olive oil, Himalayan pink salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic.  But season yours however you like.
  4. Put your chicken in the crock pot (I start mine frozen so I cook it all day on low, but if yours is thawed 4-6 hours on low will probably cook it through nicely) BREAST SIDE DOWN, so it doesn’t dry out.
  5. Place your carrots and other vegetables in around the chicken.
  6. Add about 2 cups of water, and let it cook on low for 4-6 hours, or longer if frozen.
  7. About an hour before it is done, I flip it breast side up and season the breast really well.
  8. Pull the meat off the chicken bones and serve as you choose. (by itself, in soup, on pizza, in chicken salad, on a sandwich … the possibilities are endless.  And you can really make that meat stretch for some frugal meals!)

That is how you acquire your bones (and flavorful chicken for the week)!

{The great thing is, you can cook a chicken every week (say on Saturday, or Sunday), have chicken for recipes during the week (or freezer meals!), and make a new batch of bone broth every week for the freezer!}

Here is how you make (chicken) bone broth

You will need:

  • crockpot
  • water
  • aple cider vinegar
  • a fine mesh strainer (metal is better than plastic here, it is finer)
  • jars/plastic bags
  • funnel (not necessary but definitely helps the pouring process)

Your chicken has cooked and your house now smells good enough to attract passersby.  You have removed all the meat from your chicken, and are left with the bones, skin, etc.

  1. Place the bones back in the crock pot.
  2. Add a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.  This will draw the minerals out of the bones.
  3. Cover the bones with water, leaving 1 inch at the top.
  4. Turn the crockpot on low, and let simmer all night.  If you are feeling really froggy, in the morning add more water and let it go another 18- 24 hours.  I usually let mine go about 2 days in the crockpot.  This will cook those bones good!
  5. When the bones are done, use a big spoon to pull out the bigger, obvious bones.  Compost/trash them, or smash and feed to dogs/animals on the farm.
  6. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a big bowl
  7. Pour your strained broth into plastic bags or glass jars for freezing.
Before the broth is strained
remove the bones, fat, cartilage, etc from crock pot
**Tips**
  • Use a pastured chicken if you have a local source; we raise our own each year.
  • When putting your bones in the pot to cook, you can add in celery, carrots, onion … any vegetables you like (just like you did for the chicken meat).  They will only add flavor and nutrients!
  • When freezing in glass jars, be sure you are using wide mouth jars, and you stop at the fill line.  I never screw my lids on all the way until it is all the way frozen, because I lost an ENTIRE huge pot of {organic, grassfed} beef bone broth to my jars busting.  Talk about devastation.  So use the right jars and I’d suggest not sealing them air tight right away, because that liquid is going to expand up as it freezes and will need room to do so.
  • Make sure you freeze your broth in amounts you will use in a recipe.  Rarely will you use an entire gallon zip lock full of bone broth, unless you’re making a soup.  I freeze mine in pint and pint-and-a-half jars.  The pint-and-a-half jars are the COOLEST jars ever. and so versatile.
  • I also add chicken feet from our pastured chickens. Chicken feet are full of gelatin, which is a nutrient dense food when found naturally from organic sources.  This will absolutely improve any broth and make it gel so well! Bone broth done correctly should gel.
  • I suggest reading about the benefits of chicken feet in broth, because they far outweigh the weirdness of seeing chicken feet in your crockpot.  =)
I use my bone broth in any recipe that calls for broth, and add it when cooking brown rice and black beans.  Talk about FLAVOR (and nutrients!).
You can make delicious, from scratch soups like this.
Your family will thank you.
And drink every last drop from their bowls.
So there you have it- bone broth in the crockpot.  When you or someone in the family is feeling sick this winter, thaw a jar and have them drink it, or make them a soup with it.
It is truly a real, healing food.
Next time I will post how I make my bone broth from organic, grassfed beef.
Have you ever tried making bone broth?  If you try this method, let me know how it goes in the comments!
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