How to Make Bone Broth
4. Once you are done boiling, take the lid off for a little bit and let some of the liquid cook off. Your liquid line should be about halfway up your pot, or the same height the bones were when you first started cooking them.
5. Then, use a sieve and strain out the bones. You can also run your liquid through a cloth napkin or flour sack if you want to remove all bits and traces of meat.
That’s it. Voilá! You now have bone broth so thick you can stand a fork in it. You can store this in the fridge for about five days or in the freezer for months.
Fine-Tuning the Quality of Your Homemade Bone Broth
So, why the big range on cooking times from 8–24 hours?
Well, because results vary by the kind and size of bones you use as well as by your cooking method. Research shows that longer cooking will extract more protein from the bones. Eight hours is considered the minimum for good extraction.
Basically, cook as long as you can and use a pressure cooker for best results. Even if you can’t stick it out the full 24 hours, anything in between 8 and 24 hours will give you a good result.
There is not a lot of data about which bones from which type of animal specifically make the best stock. Chicken stock has proven to be useful in cutting mucus during a cold, but other bones might be just as useful for all we know. Really, I say use whatever bones you’ve got. I even mix bones from different animals to round out my stock pot.
One thing we can reason for ourselves, though, is that similar to the way that humans who are more physically active and eat a diverse natural diet tend to have better bone density than humans who are sedentary and eat a highly processed diet, bones from animals raised in confinement without access to fresh forage will not be the most nutritious for bone stock. Opt for animals that were well-raised, if possible.
The health benefits of bone broth are a big reason why I include it in my diet.
Sally Fallon, author of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, makes a convincing case for bone broth as a “protein sparer” and a “must for those who cannot afford large amounts of meats in their diets.”
Recycling: A Second Life for Cooked Bones
After you have boiled the heck out of your bones and they are spongy and mushy, you can also feed them to your pets or trench compost them in your garden. Bone broth bones decompose much faster than uncooked bones.
If you have a good meat grinder, you can also grind up those bones into ready-to-use bone meal for your garden.