In the past year or so, we’ve been introduced to the benefits of making bone broth. If you don’t know what bone broth is, it might be worth investigating and researching for yourself. There are lots of books and materials on the benefits of bone broth.
But I will be happy to give a little bit of insight to what bone broth is specifically and a handful of the health benefits.
Difference between bone broth, stock and regular broth
- Plain ol’ broth is simply vegetables, seasonings/herbs and meat/bones simmered for minutes to a few hours to make a tasty liquid as a base for soups and other recipes. The short cooking time extracts the flavors enough for a good soup base.
- Stock is essentially the same thing as broth – but the concoction has simmered for about 6 hours and is generally a bit heavier on including more bones. As you could guess, by simmering longer, the flavors are extracted even more, making it a richer tasting soup base.
- Bone broth on the other hand is actually the same thing – except for a large amount of bones. The base of this broth is the water combined with the bones to make a bone broth. And it is simmered for longer, MUCH longer. Like 24 hours longer. The purpose of this is to extract the gelatin and minerals from the bones to provide the nutritious benefit that can be found in bones for your body.
If you want to dive into the subject of why many people are now making bone broth, you can read this article on Bone Broth Benefits HERE and another Bone Broth Benefits article HERE. Don’t forget about having a great resource in hand to learn all things Bone Broth Benefits!
I honestly don’t like talking about it much because it is not very appetizing to me, but I know it is good for our bodies and so I am going to share with you anyways!
I also want to talk about it because the way I originally learned to make bone broth ends up being quite pricey. My goal when making bone broth, as opposed to a stock or broth, is for nutrition, not as much for the flavor and to make it affordably so I can make it more often.
With that said, the way I learned to make bone broth was with a handful of organic veggies, especially that of celery, carrots and onions. Then add a fair amount of bones from beef or chicken (I have never mixed the two and not sure if that would taste very good – I make a beef bone broth or a chicken bone broth). Of course, if you can, preferably organic, which is much more expensive. But I have read that making bone broth, even from non-organic bones, is far more beneficial than not at all, therefore outweighing the organic factor. Again, if you can, great. If you can’t, no-sweat, make it anyway and I will share with you a tip to “cleanse” them a little before making your broth. 🙂
So the original instructions said to throw all of these organic veggies into a crockpot with the bones and then add water to cover the bones well (quite a bit above the bones). You can also add garlic, salt and any herbs that you want as well. You let this simmer in your crockpot for 24-48 hours.
During this process, the gelatin, glycine and other valuable nutrients and minerals are slowly extracted into the liquid so that you can then drink or make a soup that is soothing and healing to your body. Once it is done simmering, you strain all of the veggies and toss them!
Great recipe. But I found a few issues with it.
- I can’t stand the idea of buying organic veggies just to throw them away. From all of my research, I didn’t really see a health value in having the vegetables cooking in the broth, other than for taste. I will address this below.
- If you made your broth right, it will be very gelatinous. That’s good. That’s what you want – that good collagen and other benefits. That’s the point of making it. So if you let your broth cool at all before straining, when you go to strain, much of the gelatinous broth sticks to the veggies to be tossed, other than reheating and letting it melt off again. But even then, you are throwing out veggies coated in the rich nutrition that your body needs. Sort of defeating the purpose.
- Organic veggies are very important (as opposed to the meat where benefits out weigh cons) in this process because of how well cooked and how much is extracted from the veggies. I’m sorry, but organic veggies are super expensive and if I am going to buy them – I want to eat them raw and enjoy the nutrition we can get from them…not cooked to smithereens and tossed, just for the sake of a bit of flavor.
So about a year ago, I started making my bone broth differently and now it fits nicely in our budget and is the base for our homemade soups. It ends up being a lot more affordable than making my own broth or stock, or buying regular stock or broth. And FAR cheaper than buying already made bone broth – it’s like 3-4x’s more expensive than regular broth or stock. So in the end, it’s a win-win for our health and our budget!
The frugal tip for the bones
- For beef bones, you want the meaty bones that are high in collagen like the knuckles, marrow bones. When we order our 1/4 of a cow each year from a local farmer, we can get the bones for nothing – they just include them if we want them (and of course we do). Also, the grocery stores around us either throw them away or sell them very cheap. One of the grocery stores will give them to me at certain times. They freeze well and so there’s no reason to not grab them when they will. Another store can’t give them to me, but they will mark them very cheap – like $0.59 a lb. Since most grocery stores don’t just sell the bones, you can just talk to the meat department and see if you can work out a deal with them.
- For the chicken bones, I’ve had to always go to the grocery store as I don’t have a local chicken farm source. Again, they don’t normally sell the bones. So I’ve worked out a deal with a grocery store that gives me the rib bones and the other parts that are normally thrown away. They sell them to me for $0.79 a lb and considering that chicken bones are lighter, ends up being a little cheaper than beef bones. In addition, chicken feet are some of the best parts to make chicken bone broth because of the rich amounts of collagen. I know…I can’t think about it either. Cooking chicken feet is not on the top of my “to-do” list, but it has many benefits, so I add them. I have only found one grocery store that sells chicken feet and they are cheap. So you may just have to do some looking!
Finally, when it comes to the bones, I wanted to add again that organic, free-range or other “healthier” options are always going to be ideal. But again, the health benefits outweigh the organic versus non-organic benefits. But, I have read about a way to help “cleanse” the bones before simmering for a couple of days…and that is by blanching..or a hot water/cold water bath.
I do this whether the bones I have are organic or not. It’s just a good way to cleanse them.
To “cleanse” or blanch the bones, simply put them in a pot and cover with enough cold water to cover the bones. Bring to a boil and boil for 15-20 minutes. No more than that! You are cleansing them, not trying to extract nutrients. Remove from the hot water and rinse in cold water.
Frugal Beef Bone Broth Recipe:
- Place cleansed beef bones in a crockpot and cover with water so they are covered with at least 1 inch of water above the highest bone. Add 1 TBSP of vinegar (the vinegar helps extract the collagen and marrow even more) and several dashes of pepper and several dashes of Himalayan Pink Salt or Real Salt. That’s it! If you happen to have any other spices or organic herbs (dried is completely fine as well as fresh), feel free to add any of those.
- Simmer for 24-48 hours. Beef broth can be, and should be, cooked longer than chicken bones. They are thicker and denser, allowing for more needed extraction time.
- Once done, strain the bones and meat bits out. Store cold in the fridge until ready to use, or immediately make a soup out of it.
Frugal Chicken Bone Broth Recipe:
- Place cleansed chicken bones, feet and even the organ meat (also rich health benefits) in a crockpot and cover with water so they are covered with at least 1 inch of water above the highest bone. Add 1 TBSP of vinegar (the vinegar helps extract the collagen and marrow even more) and several dashes of pepper and several dashes of Himalayan Pink Salt or Real Salt. That’s it! If you happen to have any other spices or organic herbs (dried is completely fine as well as fresh), feel free to add any of those.
- Simmer for 24 hours. It is recommended to not cook chicken bones much longer than this. After 24 hours, you are not really extracting anything extra.
- Once done, strain the bones and meat bits out. Store cold in the fridge until ready to use, or immediately make a soup out of it.
Now here’s the kicker! With how long these have been simmering, with just salt and pepper, the broth is tasty and rich. There is no need for veggies. If you have herbs, it makes it even more pleasant, but not necessary in the least. Although we don’t mind the taste, we end up making soups out of 95% of the bone broth we make. When we make a soup, we end up adding a ton of veggies to the broth in the soup stage, so we are getting the veggie and herb flavors in the second round of cooking. It is seriously overkill to add veggies to the broth making process and a waste of money in my opinion.
With these tips – if I need free or cheap bones, water, vinegar and salt and pepper – this bone broth costs me very little to make. VERY little. And now that I can make my broths with this method instead, we can make it more often!
Here’s some pictures showing different soups and broths I have made:
Beef or Chicken Bone Broth Vegetable and Potato soup. This one is super easy – toss in chopped celery, carrots, onions and potatoes in a broth with more spices, dried herbs and seasoning. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes and serve! Also, the “leafy greens” in this version are the tops of celery. I try to buy organic celery because it is a top “dirty” food and I can’t stand throwing any part of it away. The leafy tops make for excellent additions in soup!
Beef, Kale and Quinoa soup along with spices and dried herbs. Kale is an organic vegetable we buy weekly as it is a great value in the organic vegetable department.
When it comes to using your bone broth, you can throw nearly anything in it and it turn out great. Any veggies, any herbs, any spices, any grain (we use rice, barley and quinoa a lot) and salt and pepper and you have a soup in about 30 minutes! You seriously can’t go wrong. Just add whatever veggies you need to use up (a perfect opportunity to use the No-Food Waste Menu Planner).
One week, I found all of these fresh herbs for 75% off. So I grabbed them and was able to add them to that week’s bone broth. That same shopping trip, I also was able to grab about 20lbs of organic tomatoes for $7 as they were heading towards the end of their life. So I used the above herbs to make tons of homemade tomato sauce too!
Here’s the herb broth – it was a nice touch for that week’s broth. 🙂
At the end of all of this, I hope that I have shared some tips with you on how you can make this for an affordable price and with some extra tips along the way. In the end, it is such a simple, yet so beneficial, food to make and one that you can’t mess up!
Have you made bone broth before?
See more recipes in our Recipe Art Gallery HERE
See more frugal living tips HERE
I’ve been mixing bones for the last couple of years. Since we purchase, from a local farm, organic, 1/2 a cow (1 side), 1 whole lamb, 1/2 pork, and 40 chickens each year. We ave bones. When I have three gallon zip-lock bags worth in the freezer, I throw it all into the pot and add 1/4 cup vinegar (does not affect the taste). As far as veggies go, IF you save all ends like from onions, carrots, cukes, apple cores, etc from all your fruit and esp. veggies, I do, and throw those also into the gallon bags in the freezer with the bones. Then, when you make the bone broth, you are getting the otherwise wasted nutrients from them. What does not go into the freezer gallon bags, goes into composting. Also, after simmering for 24-48 hours and straining, the bones are now useful for the compost bin. (Normally protein and fat are NOT to be composted.) But after making Bone Broth, they can be added. I, too, add veggies and browned meat to some of the bone broth and make soup, as well. Then freeze the bone broth and the soup.
Great article! I’m interested in trying. AND I didn’t see a specific amount or suggested weight for how many bones I need for making this.
Also love the soup suggestions you gave AND I uncomfortable with herb and seasoning combinations. Could you give any sort of recommendations that I could try, please?
I’ve been making bone broth all my life. I learned it from my grandmother and I use it in so many recipes aside from my soups. One step I take is to roast my bones in the oven first. I do this almost always because of the richness of flavor I get (and because my grandmother did it this way). However, I’m not sure if this effects the nutrition of my bone broth. Does anyone know if roasting first has a negative impact on nutrition?
Can bone broth be made to drink and what cam be mixed with it to make it taste good.
HI Gail, Yes – you can drink it as a broth! You can use it in soup, etc. 🙂 I add salt, pepper and other herbs for a broth or a soup!
What seasonings and herbs can you add to the bone broth? Is it still nutritious if you add hamburger or other food with the bone broth?
Thanks so much for the Frugal recipes!
Do I have to clean the bones first?
How do i find a farmer that sells half a cow? I live near Williamsburg, VA.
I love how do soups look.