Bone and meat broths provide delicious nourishment. Broth is a classic food in need of revival. Regular use of bone broth is wonderful for economical cooking, for great-tasting food, and for bone, joint, and skin health. This dietary “backbone” has a long history of safety and efficacy, and making broth should be one of your kitchen fundamentals.
Types of Bone Broth and Cooking Time
There are three general flavors of bone broth, each of which uses a slightly different technique, cooks for a different amount of time, and has a slightly different nutritional profile.
|Type of Broth||Time||Note|
|Chicken||8 – 30 hours||Joints make best broth: wings, necks, feet|
|Fish/Seafood||4 – 20 hours||Snapper heads and shrimp shells|
|Beef, Lamb, Pork||18 – 72 hours||Brown the bones in the oven in advance, unless a neutral flavor is desired|
General Broth Technique
Making broth takes some time on very low heat. Electric slow cookers can be ideal vessels for making broth—6.5 quarts or larger is a useful size. Be cautious with slow cookers, however: newer models often operate at too high a temperature, so the broth boils too hard. Don’t try to make broth on a gas stove. It may be dangerous because of the combustion vapors, and also the risk of fire if the stove is unmonitored (as it inevitably will be).
The delicious flavor of the broth comes from the bits of meat and fat that simmer with the bones. I often start chicken broth by simmering a whole chicken in the broth pot, then remove most of the meat part way through the cooking time. For flavorful beef broth, I’ll brown the bones in a hot oven before putting them in the broth pot. The individual broth recipes present those techniques.
Steps for Making Broth
- Place meaty bones, joints, and other parts in the slow cooker or a large heavy pot.
- Add enough water to cover.
- Add acid (vinegar).
- (optional) Add herbs such as bay leaf. Avoid adding starchy vegetables, which may cause a burnt flavor.
- Lightly simmer for the number hours required, adding water as necessary.
- Lift the solids out of the broth using a long-handled pan strainer.
- Carefully pour hot broth through a mesh strainer into clean, 1-quart canning jars using a metal canning funnel. Immediately seal jars with tight sealing, clean lids.
- Label lids with broth type and date.
- Store broth in the refrigerator, once the broth has cooled just a little. If broth is very hot when poured into jars and then chilled promptly, it keeps a long time in the refrigerator. Once you open the broth jar (or if you let the broth cool before you bottle it), it will only keep for about four or five days before it starts to spoil and grow mold.
Warning: this procedure is not canning, and the broth must stay refrigerated until you use it.
- Unsalted broth has many uses, such as deglazing pans or making gravy and sauces.
- Remember to add salt when using your unsalted broth to make soup or other dishes.
- Use broth frequently to support overall health and improve the flavor of home cooked meals.
Many of my soup recipes rely on homemade broth!