Bone Broth Part 2: HOW

OK, so, we talked about why make bone broth. Now, let's get to HOW. I take my inspiration from my mom's approach and from the always-reliable Alton Brown. I'll mix it up and am always trying some different variation to see the impact, but here's my general easy approach.

 Chicken stock that's beautiful, nutrient-rich, homemade — and easy!

Chicken stock that's beautiful, nutrient-rich, homemade — and easy!

Ingredients:

  • chicken bones (I store them in the freezer and wait until I have 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 4 ribs of celery 
  • garlic (I love garlic, so I use 4-5 cloves; Alton uses far less.)
  • water
  • fresh herbs (I'll use a little parsley and/or thyme if I have it)
  • pepper

What to do:

1. You can skip this step, but I like to start by roasting the bones. Place them on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little olive oil and place them in a 350-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.

2. Then, I put the bones into my slow cooker along with all the carrots (I peel and chop in half), celery (cut into thirds or fourths), onion (outer skin removed and cut into large chunks), garlic (peeled and sliced) and as much water as will fill the slow cooker (12-14 cups).

3. I cook on high for a couple hours, checking periodically for this surface "scum" that you're supposed to scrape off. Maybe it's because I buy organic chicken, but I rarely have much, if anything, to scrape off.

4. After the first two to three hours, I turn the slow cooker to low and let it simmer for about 15-16 hours (I have to reset the slow cooker from "warm" to "low" after 10 hours). This is when I'll add some fresh herbs and ground pepper.

5. A few hours later, it's time to take the broth out. (It's been cooking for 20-24 hours at this point.) Jarring is probably the most time-consuming part. I strain the broth into small jars — I use half-pints to make it easier to portion as I need it so there's less waste. Then, let the broth jars cool on the counter. When they're down to room temp, put them in the fridge.

6. Freeze the broth. I'll try to create a couple recipes using the broth when it's fresh. But homemade broth really shouldn't be in the fridge for more than a few days. So, what remains goes in the freezer. CAUTION: Some jars are not intended to be frozen and will break! (Thanks to Mom for that tip!) So, be sure to check your canning jars when you buy them.