Making bone broth at home is so easy that you really don’t need to find a time consuming, measured recipe. I started with that and I was never quite satisfied with the taste. Countless recipe searching has lead me to this conclusion as to why: food preferences.
I no longer intentionally grocery shop when I decide to make bone broth. In between broths, I save all of my veggie scraps and cooked bones from all of our meals in various bags in the freezer. Then, when I no longer have room in the freezer to store food-or if I have to start pulling out scrap bags to find what I need, I know it’s time to make bone broth again. Our regular meal scraps throughout the months have turned out the best flavored bone broth because it’s food we like!
For example, I’ve tried a root veggie bone broth and it just tasted “off” to all of us and I realized I was buying specific veggies that we don’t normally like eating. Since then, I’ve kept it pretty simple; we have been surprised a few times by a hot pepper veggie scrap though, but it was a good surprise!
Food is a basic necessity and plays a huge part in allocating finances. By saving veggie and meat bones from prepared meals and storing them immediately in the freezer, making bone broth can cost nothing because it is made from the left overs. If you are fortunate to find a local butcher to give you fresh cut bones, one whole caucus can supply over a year’s worth (probably two) of prepared bone broth.
Common scraps that are normally in my freezer:
- carrot ends and peels
- stems of parsley or cilantro bundles
- potato and yam peels
- celery end and tiny stalks with the leaves, small stalks in the middle of the bunch
- outer papery peels from garlic (not the bulb-get bitter soaking in broth) and onions (peels and root ends)
We have been making bone broth for over 4 years and the one taste difference that we sometimes prefer has to do with how you prepare the bones, if at all (my preference!). While I usually just layer the bones on the bottom then empty as many veggie scrap bags as I can into the (21 quart) pot before adding water, there is a clear taste and color distinction in the end product if you bake the bones first in the oven. Baking the bones on a medium heat until crispy brown (1-3 hours on average) while the veggies and water are simmer on the stove top imparts a richer taste to the strained broth.
Baking the bones also lets you “harvest” or scoop out any bone marrow from the joints. Many high dollar restaurants make bone marrow butter and other tasty meals specifically from separated bone marrow. For us, it boils down (ha ha) to a taste preference; marrow is waaaay to slimy for us and I like my butter only salted! I have saved it in a container in the fridge and then added it back into the strained bone broth when it’s ready for longer term storage. It almost melts into the broth, but sometimes there are a few soft chunks. Since I incorporate broth into everything, those small clumps have never been noticeable in whatever I’m making.
If there was a “golden rule” for making bone broth, it would be the quantity of bones in the pot. Load it up! A variety of bones are awkward in any pot, so if you need to, start with bones and water and then add the veggie scraps after it all settles.
When the bones are baked first, however, it is easier to get more into the water-veggie pot because the surrounding fat and tissues have shrunk or turned to oil in the bottom of the pan, making many bones fit much easier into the pot. As the bone broth pot simmers on the stove, I’ll add any fresh veggies or bones directly to the top of the pot and give it a big stir.
Stove top bone broth is as easy as it sounds:
- Bake in separate pan or layer bones directly in large soup pot.
- Put in veggie scraps. Continue to add any scraps as it simmers!
- Add water to cover bones and veggies.
- Simmer non-stop for hours if not days (follow safety guidelines for stove top use). Use a top on the pot (stops smell and loss of liquid).
- Turn off stove and let come to room temperature, or close to it, so you can work with the broth without burning yourself.
- Strain out all solids. I save the veggie and meat scraps for my dog-1 or 2 T per meal.
- Store in freezer bags in freezer or in fridge up to 2 weeks, a bit longer if there is a solid seal of fat on top of the broth; the protein in the broth gives it an expiration date in the fridge.
- Use it in everything while saving more veggie and bone scraps in freezer for the next batch!
The darker broth in the above pictures is a broth reduction method. This reduces freezer space greatly as you use one “cube” and add water (not too much to dilute). In the bottom two pictures, be sure to stir in the cooled, congealed fat into the broth liquid before putting it into servings.
Have any helpful hints about making stove top broth? Please share as a comment!