The homestead way has always placed emphasis on preparing and utilizing the entirety of whatever plants or animals the good Lord has blessed you with. One way our family lives this out is with some good ol’ fashioned bone broth.
If there’s anything everyone needs to have in their kitchen at all times – besides a working coffee pot – it’s a stockpile of homemade bone broth.
Bone broth is the backbone (pun intended) of homestead cooking. This broth is the essential ingredient for making soups, sauces, cooking grains, and making comfort foods. True bone broth is made from collecting leftover bones and small amounts of meat and slowly simmering them overnight. The results are a delicious and nutritious broth.
By slowly simmering the bones overnight, you are able to create a broth that’s rich in protein, gelatin, which supports digestive health and healthy skin, and calcium. Also, it tastes delicious and isn’t chock full of sodium, like the store bought broth alternatives. The best part? Anyone can make bone broth. All you need are chicken bones, vegetables, water, and a large stock or crockpot.
The first – and most difficult – step: cook and enjoy eating a whole chicken. I know, torture, right? How horrible it will be to fill your house with the scent of baking chicken and then enjoy that fall off the bone, melt in your mouth goodness.
Once you’ve enjoyed a hearty dinner, collect your leftover chicken bones and scraps and throw them into the cooking pot of your choice. We typically simmer our bone broth overnight, so a crockpot is ideal – no one wants to leave the stove on all night long. Although, if you’ve feasted on your fresh chicken for Sunday luncheon, then by all means, use your large stockpot and cook on medium heat for a couple hours.
Bones in? Good. Now for the vegetables! We’re using the harvest, baby! Slice up your carrots, celery, and onion and toss them in.
Top off your bones and vegetables with water, a bay leave, and a dash of parsley. Now you’re all set to simmer away and wake up to the best smelling kitchen you’ve ever smelled before – you know, except for the smell of your first brew of coffee. Or brown sugar rising in your homemade wheat bread. Okay, I guess there is more than one way to fill your kitchen with sweet aromas. A homestead kitchen is a little piece of heaven on earth, y’all.
With your nose leading the way, you stumble toward the kitchen after a peaceful night’s rest. Peaceful meaning your baby only woke up twice for late night snacks – And behold! The ordinary kitchen scraps from last night’s delicious dinner has become a magical bone broth.
Take a few moments to lift off your pot’s lid and breath in deep. That’s the smell of sustenance. Strain out the bones, vegetables, and herbs and you’re left with the only broth you’ll ever need.
(Bonus – you can throw your cooked down carrots and celery into your backyard compost – food for you and your plants!)
The broth is best stored frozen. Grab your extra mason jars or plastic tupperware and fill, leaving an inch at the top for the broth to expand when frozen. Keep the jars in your freezer until you’re ready to prepare you next delicious homemade meal.
What you need:
- Bones from a whole chicken
- Carrots (2-3, chopped)
- Celery (3-4 stalks, chopped)
- Onion (½ an onion, keep in rings)
- Bay leaf
Fill crockpot with ingredients above. Cover all ingredients with water – fill just up to the top of your crockpot. Turn on “keep warm” and let simmer overnight (8+ hours). Strain out bones and vegetables. Fill mason jars with broth, leaving an inch of headspace. Freeze. Take your cooked down carrots and celery and throw in the compost bin.
And may this bone broth fill your hearts – and your bellies.