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Bone Broth Soup is Magical

February 12, 2013

Credit: Celeste Longacre
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Bone broth is magic! About twenty years ago, I made a startling discovery. I noticed that—if my husband, Bob, and I have at least two servings of my homemade bone broth soup a week—we have no problems with our joints. If we don’t, our joints get quite stiff and bothersome.

Vitamins and minerals are water-soluble. This is one reason that we lose a lot of vital nutrients when we boil our vegetables and meats and throw the water away. Soup, on the other hand, collects these items and serves them up to us in an easily digestible way. And nutrients are the building blocks of our cells; they give us the ability to renew and heal all of the parts of our bodies.

So, I make soup a lot. Using beef, chicken, turkey or lamb (or a combination), I put the bones in a crock pot. I add whatever organic vegetables that I have at hand—often beets, carrots and onions. In the summer, I include the carrot and beet greens. Because liver has so many vitamins and minerals, I always add a small piece of liver to the pot. I then add a dash of white wine or vinegar. This helps to get the gelatin from the bones into the soup. If I have any pan drippings from cooking the meat, I will also put that in. Then, I fill the pot with cold water and turn it on to simmer.

 I cook my soup on low for 48 hours. The longer we cook it, the more gelatin gets into it. By the end of this amount of time, the soup is very dark and rich. Now it’s time to strain the juice from the rest. Using pot holders, I pour the mixture into a colander set into a large bowl. Once the crock is empty, I generally set the colander into a smaller bowl to let the soup begin to cool down. A few teaspoons of salt can be added at this time. Once cooled, I spoon the soup through a strainer and into several can or freeze pints, label with the date and set them into the freezer.

We often heat up a pint, pour into two mugs, and drink. In a pinch, I set the pint in a pan of hot water to defrost more quickly. However, this soup can also be made into a sauce by boiling and adding a mixture of arrowroot and water and boiling again.

My knees love me for it!

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Celeste Longacre has been growing vitually all of her family's vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens.

Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer's Almanac as their astrologer.

Her new book about living lightly on the Earth is coming soon!

Comments

Thank you for your timely

By Richard Klos

Thank you for your timely response! I have a follow-up question. Since learning about bone broth soup, I've been saving the bones from all the meals we eat. Is it OK to store these bones in the freezer until we have enough for a large pot full? I know it's OK to store the broth/gel in the freezer after cooking.

I've been making my bone soup

By Richard Klos

I've been making my bone soup using pork neck bones and chicken legs. Now I read that pork is not recommended. Is there any problem with using pork bones?

Hi Richard, I don't think

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Richard,

I don't think that pork bones are bad per se, but they don't have as much of the good stuff as chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or goat. Chicken feet are the best! Of course, it's important to use pastured animals' bones.

Can you mix chicken and beef

By Kim P.

Can you mix chicken and beef bones together in same pot for bone broth? Is that okay to cook with the fat then if it is mixed poultry and beef fat?

Hi Kim, I mix all sorts of

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Kim,

I mix all sorts of bones all the time. Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey or goat all work well together. Cooking with the fat is also fine.

I just bought some organic

By Melissa Melissa

I just bought some organic beef bones, to make the bone broth, but they don't have meat on them....will they still make a good broth?
Thanks

Hi Melissa, These bones

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Melissa,

These bones will make a nutritious broth, but it won't have much flavor. Ask your butcher if s(he) has any inexpensive, organic ox tail or chicken wings that you could add. S(he) may have something else for you if not these items. Make sure that it's organic.

I have a couple of questions.

By Rosemary Nisbet

I have a couple of questions. I made this twice and want to know if I'm doing it correctly. I buy a shank bone with meat attached and two shank bones all of which I cook with the veggies along with basil leaves and fresh thyme in about 3-3-1/2 qts water. I throw out the veggies and keep the meat cutting it up and using it. Is that okay? My other questions is: If I buy chicken thighs or bone in chicken breasts, that meat cooks quickly so should I keep the meat afterwards? And what would be the ratio of meat to water approximately? I want to make sure I do it correctly for good health as I would like to make this for people who are sick.
Thank you.

Hi Rosemary, If you want to

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Rosemary,

If you want to use the meat in any given situation, please do. It's really a matter of taste and we are all unique in that. The ratio of meat to water is also up to you. I'm not a big fan of measuring; I generally cook with a bit of this and a dash of that. I find that soup usually tastes good no matter what I put into it. Of course, the more organic goodies that do go into it, the more folks will get out of it. Good luck!

I have made this according to

By Rosemary Nisbet

I have made this according to your recipe twice and I really like it. I buy two good size bones at the store and I put in one bone with the meat attached. I throw out all the veggies, but I did not throw out the meat, I cut it up and used it. Is that okay? Since its such a tough cut, I thought it was okay. I put all this in about 3-1/2 quarts water and cook 48 hours. I am going to try the turkey carcass after TG. My other question is, if I cook chicken thighs or chicken breasts (bone in) for 48 hours, should I throw out the meat since these are not tough cuts? I want to make this when I know someone is sick and I want to do it right.
Thank you

i think your advice and all

By Your name

i think your advice and all that you share is great, and thank you. and your photo looks great too. so when i read how you and your husband have serious joint problems for 20 years i think you are exaggerating. i have joint problems but none of my friends do. those that do developed problems at different times. but you and your husband - that must be difficult - "About twenty years ago, I made a startling discovery. I noticed that—if my husband, Bob, and I have at least two servings of my homemade bone broth soup a week—we have no problems with our joints. If we don’t, our joints get quite stiff and bothersome." so i chalk that up to regular internet hype, exaggeration, self-promotion, whatever. my blog would certainly not be as interesting. i wish people would just say things like they are, so that this natural critic in me could parse through copy without getting rankled. thanks for the recipe, the wonderful photos - i use this all the time - by which i mean every month or two give or take for a year and a half.

Whoever you are, Actually,

By Celeste Longacre

Whoever you are,

Actually, my husband and I virtually never have joint problems because we eat lots of bone broth soup.

Hi, great receipe, i am

By CDMAKEUPARTIST

Hi, great receipe, i am feeding my 5 year old organic and healthy and wanted to make a bone soup as suggested by our pediatrician. Can I add the soup mixture to meatball mixture? and I see that you drain soup into colander and was wondering if it is because of the bones? I'm thinking alot of ingredients in the soup would disentergrate (sp), thank you for your help

Hi CDMAKEUPARTIST, I don't

By Celeste Longacre

Hi CDMAKEUPARTIST,

I don't see why you couldn't add the soup mix to a meatball mix. I do drain all of the soup through a colander as I am mostly interested in the broth. The veggies do somewhat disintigrate but that doesn't bother me.

hello, i'm trying this for

By jaqio

hello, i'm trying this for the first time. do you keep filling the pot with water? mine is reducing and it's only been 6 hours. thanks

Hi Jacqio, Yes, I do keep

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Jacqio,

Yes, I do keep adding water to the mix.

What about pureeing the

By djud

What about pureeing the vegetables in the broth instead of discarding them?

Hi djud, You could do that,

By Celeste Longacre

Hi djud,
You could do that, but the vegetables are pretty exhausted by the end of 48 hours of cooking.

My german granma calls it

By Rhonda M. Smith

My german granma calls it "Soupbone Stew"... easy & economical to make.. best of all its easy on the stomach of us plain janes.

Hi Rhonda, Yes, you are

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Rhonda,
Yes, you are right--it is easy and economical to make and very, very easy to digest.

This sounds good! I remember

By Aunt Jo

This sounds good! I remember my Mother having a big old stockpot sitting on the kitchen range most of the winter. She'd get the beef bones from the butcher and throw them in along with veggie leftovers. The result was this great tasting soup base that looked lik aspic.
I will try your recipie.
Thanks!

AJ

Hi Celeste; I like soup.I

By Terry Sullivan/McKinleyville Ca.

Hi Celeste;
I like soup.I generally simmer bones to make stock for my soups.I have never made it this way but enjoy learning new things and trying them...We are retired and living on only one SSI income so this would stretch our grocery budget.

Hi Terry, One of the nice

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Terry,
One of the nice things about making soup this way is that you can make it from the cheaper cuts of meat. Chicken thighs are often offered at a good deal or just see what's on sale. Remember, some meat is necessary for flavor but the bones give the nice gelatin.

Wow! I've only had internet

By cathyjane

Wow! I've only had internet at home for a few weeks now, and I am truly enjoying checking out different websites and blogs of like-minded folks who enjoy gardening, homesteading, etc. I just found yours today, and I really like it. I have read through all the way back to the sunflower story, and I have enjoyed each one. I have also learned a few things - like simmering bone broth in the crockpot for 2 days, and to cut the onion tops down while they are still in the flats. Thank you for sharing your weatlth of knowledge and experience with those of us who hunger for more.

Hi cathyjane, Thank you so

By Celeste Longacre

Hi cathyjane,
Thank you so much for your kind words!

Do you put any of the

By WxByHart

Do you put any of the vegetables back into the soup after straining, or simply discard them and drink only the broth?

Hi WxByHart, I don't put the

By Celeste Longacre

Hi WxByHart,
I don't put the veggies back into the soup. They are quite exhausted by the end of cooking for two days. Mostly, we drink the broth. However, sometimes I'll stir-fry an onion & red pepper until tender, add the broth, then add whatever other vegetables I like (I love spinach & Swiss chard in soup). Cut up carrots, celery & beets are also good, but they take quite a while to cook (about an hour).

I use my rice cooker for

By Silvia Wilson

I use my rice cooker for slow cooker recipes. It works fine. Yes, 48 hours is right. That's how my mother and grandmothers made it, on the kitchen range, in a large covered soup pot. With the electric stove, we just set it on "Simmer" and checked to see if it needed a little water before going to bed.

is that correct when it says

By Michael Farlin

is that correct when it says you leave it to cook in your slow cooker for 48 hours (2 Days)??:)

Hi Michael, You don't always

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Michael,
You don't always have to cook it for 48 hours. However, the longer you cook it, the more of the gelatin gets into the soup. That's why I cook it so long.

I was wondering the same as

By MaggieMay

I was wondering the same as Michael....also I dont have a slow cooker, so would simmer it in a large pan, but impossible to do that for 48 hrs.

Hi Maggy May, If you can't

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Maggy May,

If you can't cook it that long, just cook it for as long as you can.
Celeste

If you have no crock pot, put

By Phyllis Rush

If you have no crock pot, put it in the oven at around 300 degrees. I often cook my spaghetti with tomatoes and meatballs
this way so it doesn't scorch on the bottom of the pot as it's liable to do on the stove top and you don't need to stir it so often.

If you don't have a

By Glenna Geiger

If you don't have a slow-cooker, put your ingredients in a heavy pot, bring to a simmer (DON'T BOIL) on top of the stove, cover, and put in a 200F oven for 24-48 hours.

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