Since the very beginning of my journey in natural medicine, this one bizarre food has been coming up over and over again. Our instructors are well educated in the science of natural medicine, and they also have years of clinical experience from which to draw. And invariably, when the subject of nutrition comes up, the recommendations are the same: whole foods, plant-based diet, high in fiber and healthy oils. And when they talk about deep nourishment, bone broth is always a star.
Bone broth? Sounds weirdly animal-y, or like it would taste… chalky. Especially as a former long-time vegetarian and a former vegan, I figured it was probably a good food for some people, but I didn’t need to go there.
My kitchen-self has a way of getting ahead of my dining-room self, though, and for a few months, convinced by the claims of so many of my instructors, I made batch after batch of bone broth—chicken, pork, lamb. I froze them in jars that filled half my freezer. I even moved, and moved a couple frozen gallons of bone broth with me, all told. But my stomach wasn’t ready for it. The bone broth waited there in the freezer for over a year.
And then something shifted. Maybe I was finally ready for it, or maybe my body really needed that deep nourishment, but suddenly it was easy to find ways to use the bone broth. The best part was, it imbued a velvety umami to all the meals I made from it. Bone broth is now the foundation of some really special foods that I make – Get Well Soup for a friend who is recovering from chemotherapy, and pretty much every stew or saute that receives a seemingly inordinate amount of appreciation.
Wanna give it a try? Below I offer a couple ways to make bone broth assisted with a slow cooker, which makes the process much easier than making it on the stovetop. Even an almost broken slow cooker like mine will do.
For the right person, bone broth can be a very deeply special gift. I labeled my usual jarred batch of chicken bone broth with sweet labels in the Rustic Chalkboard style, which evokes the simplicity and hope of a delicious bone broth. I gave a couple pints to some friends who wanted to support a loved one by providing some homemade soup. I know she’ll be able to taste and feel the care that has gone into every delicious slurp.
- bones of chicken (free of any skin), lamb or beef
- water to cover generously
- about ¼ cup apple cider vinegar to every half gallon of water
- Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker on a low setting. If the bones have meat on them, after 3-8 hours, remove the bones and allow them to cool slightly. Once the bones are cool enough to handle, remove any remaining meat from the bones and place the bones back into the slow cooker. Allow the bones to cook for a total of 24-72 hours.
- Render the bone broth by removing the bones and pouring the broth into sealable containers. The particulate matter is nutritious as well as the clear liquid, but if you like a cleaner look, you can strain out the particulates with a coffee filter or a few layers of cheesecloth. Bone broth will keep for about a week in the fridge, or it can be frozen for later use.
- To keep a continuous batch of bone broth going, follow the above recipe for Slow Cooker Bone Broth and ladle out the broth as you need it. Replace the liquid with water and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and allow the broth to cook for another 24 hours before removing additional bone broth. This process can be repeated indefinitely if more bones are added periodically.
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