Broth, stock, bone broth…what’s the difference? I will dive into that down below, as well as look at the benefits of bone broth and provide you with a recipe I previously promised for how to save your scraps and make bone broth yourself. Keep reading!
Stock, Broth and Bone Broth
To put it simply, chicken stock is made by cooking the bones of the bird with some mirepoix (celery, carrot and onion) and no seasoning. It is simmered for a few hours on the stove top and is used to make sauces, stews and braises. It’s an easy and relatively quick way to extract extra nutrients from the bones. The finished stock is somewhat thin.
Broth is made by cooking the meat in water. I sometimes cook chicken thighs or a whole chicken in water along with mirepoix and seasonings. The meat is very tender and is perfect for chicken salad. The leftover liquid is packed with flavor but is not thick or gelatinous. It is also used for sauces, stews and braises.
Bone broth is made using the leftover bones by simmering them for 24-48 hours. Mirepoix is added to the mix but usually not seasonings. Bone broth can also be made in a shorter amount of time in a pressure cooker. The result is a liquid that is thick and gelatinous when cooled.
Benefits of Bone Broth
Bone broth contains many healthful benefits. It provides:
- Minerals in our diet such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and sulfur
- Natural collagen and gelatin, which helps our joints move properly and comfortably
- Easily digested probiotics to improve gut health
- Glycine, which can help us fall asleep at night and improve our mental functioning
- Help with weight loss by satisfying hunger and providing protein
How To Make Almost Free Chicken Bone Broth
Save your scrapes. Any time you cook a whole chicken or chicken thighs, remove the meat from the bones (as opposed to gnawing on the chicken bone and then saving it) and collect the bones in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to make bone broth, simply remove your bones from the freezer and dump them into your pot.
Likewise, instead of slicing up onion, celery and carrot to flavor your bone broth, I like to save the scraps when I’m cooking. I save the onion ends and the thick peels, the celery nubs and the carrot shavings and ends. Those sit in the freezer until I’m ready to use them.
In this way, it’s as if I’m getting almost free bone broth. If I’m already choosing to cook meat on the bone because it’s healthier and more sustainable, and I’m already saving veggie scraps from other meals I’ve prepared, then the spices and splash of vinegar I add to the broth add up to pretty much free.
So you take your bones, your vegetable trimmings, salt and pepper, a bay leaf or two and a splash of apple cider vinegar and add it to your pot. Cover everything with filtered water.
On the stove, turn the heat to high until the water starts to simmer. Turn the heat down to low so that just a few bubbles break the surface. In other words, a really slow simmer. Simmer for 12 – 24 hours. Strain out the bones and vegetables.
In a slow cooker the process is the same as the stove top. Add your ingredients to the slow cooker, set the lid on and set the slow cooker to low. Let everything cook for 12 – 24 hours.
In an Instant Pot, add your ingredients and lock the lid into place, making sure the valve is set to “sealing”. Choose the “Manual” setting and increase time to 180 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure, then180 minutes to cook the broth, and finally an additional 45 minutes to depressurize naturally.
When the broth is finished, strain out the bones and vegetables. Pour into quart sized glass jars and store in the fridge, or freeze.
Storing Chicken Bone Broth
Chicken bone broth will last 4-5 days in the fridge. To keep it longer, make sure to leave about 2 inches of space at the top of the jar and store it in the freezer for up to six months.
I find I go through my broth in less than a week. I use it to cook rice, beans, kale and soups. It goes fast!
Almost Free Chicken Bone Broth
- Instant Pot
- Slow Cooker
- about 6 cups chicken bones including neck and feet if possible
- 2-3 cups vegetable scraps including but not limited to onion, celery and carrot
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- about 8 or more cups filtered water enough to cover bones and vegetables
- Combine all ingredients in a large pot, Instant Pot or slow cooker. Cover with filtered water.
- In a slow cooker, cook on low for 12-24 hours. In a pot, cook over high heat until simmering, then cover and reduce heat to low. In an Instant Pot, lock lid and set valve to "sealing". Choose "manual" and set time for 180 minutes. Allow to depressurize naturally.
- Strain out vegetables and bones using a fine mesh sieve.
- Pour into quart sized mason jars. Store in fridge for 4-5 days, or freeze for 6 months (leave 2 inches at top of jars if freezing).