Make the best bone broth at home in your crock pot
Bone broth is rich in minerals, gelatin, amino acids, and healthy fats. It is excellent for the digestive, musculoskeletal, immune, and endocrine systems. The cooking process transforms bones into one of the most nutritious and easy-to-digest foods that I know of. Without this process, bones are something that humans could not otherwise even chew, much less extract nutrients from. A lot of us think of bones as leftovers to be tossed out with the trash, but the cooking process elevates them to royalty. I recommend adding something acidic to your broth, like vinegar, citrus juice, or wine. It helps extract minerals from the bones as the broth cooks. The longer the broth cooks, the better. To make the best bone broth, I recommend you prepare it in a slow cooker, where it can simmer for days. But you can use a soup pot on your stove top also.
Bone broth can serve as a wonderful base for medicinal herbs. Immune-boosting herbs like shiitake and maitake mushrooms and astragalus root or mineral-rich herbs such as nettle and seaweed can be added at the beginning, with the bones, to enjoy the long, slow cooking process. Tender aromatic herbs such as the thyme, rosemary, and parsley can be added in the last few hours. This is so that their aromatic oils don’t evaporate during the long cooking process. Also consider keeping vegetable scraps in the freezer to add to your stock with the bones for extra flavor and nutrition.
Where to get the bones.
You can get bones at any butcher or fishmonger. You can also use bone scraps from meats you have cooked and eaten, including chicken carcasses and lamb, beef, or pork bones.
2poundsbones (lamb, beef, chicken, fish; see note)
1/4cupapple cider vinegar
1gallonwater, or whatever amount your slow cooker will hold
4-6sprigsfresh parsley (about 1⁄4 cup)
4-6sprigsfresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
2springsfresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
2sprigsfresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried
Combine the bones and vinegar in a slow cooker with enough water to cover by at least an inch. Cook on high until the liquid begins to simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for at least 48 hours and up to 72 hours — the longer the better. As the broth cooks, the water level will reduce; add hot water as needed to keep the level of the water above the bones. Don’t worry if the bones float to the top of the broth; that’s different than there not being enough liquid to cover them.
When the broth is 2 to 3 hours away from being done, add the parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, and bay leaf.
When it is done cooking, turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Put a colander over a soup pot and pour the contents of the broth through the strainer. The broth will end up in the pot below, and the bones and herbs will remain in the colander.
Let the broth cool completely before transferring to containers and storing in the refrigerator or freezer. It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week and in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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