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Bone broth is always wildly popular through the winter in real food circles. It’s an awesome, nutrient-dense food full of wonderful gelatin and minerals. If you learn how to make bone broth right, you can pull many minerals out of the bones. The bones will soften and easily snap under a little pressure. That’s a sure sign that mineral migration into your bone broth has happened.
Bone broth is a ‘found food’ for many people. That means it can be made out of scraps instead of purchased ingredients, making it highly economical when money is tight. But I often see new real foodies not maximizing the nutritional punch and spending too much money on stock making. Here are the five biggest mistakes you might be making with your bone broth.
Not Re-Using Bones to Make Bone Broth
You should make at least two batches of bone broth out of each set of bones for everything but fish bones. Yes, it is true that the second round won’t be as rich, but it will contain good nutrition and flavor. To help with the body, I go ahead and put fresh chicken feet into the second batch.
Use the second round of stock by mixing it with the first. Cook it down if you need to concentrate it for storage or use. I also cook things like taco meat, rice and other dishes where the bone broth is absorbed instead of being a feature of the meal, as it is with soup.
It’s a win-win- you get more nutrition into your meals for little to no additional expense.
The quickest and easiest way to make two batches of stock with the same bones is to use an Instant Pot. It takes only one hour of cooking time, plus warm-up and cool-down time. You can have two gallons of stock ready to use in four hours with the instant pot versus 2-4 days on the stove or crock-pot.
Throwing Away Bones
I never, ever put a bone in the garbage until it’s been run through my stockpot or Instant Pot twice. It’s a waste. Salvage every bone and pop it into the freezer until it’s time to make bone broth if you don’t have enough on hand today to do it.
I know someone will ask, ‘What if someone ate off of it?’ Personally, since I know those bones are going into a pot that will be hot enough to kill off any germs immediately after the meal is over, I don’t worry about it. Of course, we do eat with forks and knives at the table. But if you’re really squicked out about any possible germs, you can de-bone the chicken before serving it. Take the meat and skin to the table and leave the bones in the kitchen so you can make bone broth (sometimes called stock). As a bonus, your kids will likely eat faster, too, since they don’t have to debone their meat!
No Vinegar Soak for Your Bone Broth
A vinegar pre-soak before applying heat ensures that minerals will be pulled out of the bones and into the stock. If you skip it, you must cook the bone broth for much longer before you can get the same effect. Always soak cold bones with vinegar before you apply any heat. The pores close and the vinegar can’t get into the bones work its magic when the bones are hot. Use cold bones and soak with 2 Tbs vinegar to 1 gallon of water for chicken stock. Use a half-cup vinegar to one gallon for beef or pork bones for one hour. Then turn on the heat.
Throwing Out Veggies
The little ends of onions, little bits of the top and bottom of a carrot and the leaves and heart of celery can all be scrubbed, trimmed and used in stock. You don’t need whole onions, carrots, and celery that could otherwise be used for cooking and would cost extra money. These little bits of waste can save you money and cut down on your need to run to the grocery store.
I throw my odds and ends into a zip-top bag in my kitchen freezer and pull them out when it’s time to make stock. It saves me time chopping and prepping. It also saves money by not using whole vegetables that I could otherwise feed to my kids. It’s a win-win!
No Feet in your Bone Broth
Chicken feet make a rich, flavorful stock. Many real foodies find feet, beaks and other odd bits scary. If little claws sticking out of the pot bother you, simply trap the feet into the chicken carcasses’ cavity. Put the carcass into a narrow stock-pot neck-up with the feet inside the chicken, under the waterline.
I promise you, you will never find so rich of a bone broth from bones alone. Feet give the stock lots of gelatin, and gelatin is responsible for mouth-feel and body in a good stock. Try it once and you won’t go back to feetless stock again. 🙂I promise you, you will never find so rich of a bone broth from bones alone. Feet give the stock lots of gelatin, and gelatin is responsible for mouth-feel and body in a good stock. Click To Tweet
How do you make your bone broth? Share your best bone broth tips in the comments below!
You can see my full chicken stock recipe or my full beef stock recipe. Learn how to soak the bones, add the veggies and make beautiful, flavorful bone broth full of nutrition in a crock-pot or on the stove.
Want to learn more? Check out the related posts below from our Bone Broth Marathon last Winter. You can also see our follow-up post, Five More Bone Broth Mistakes You Might Be Making. Or follow my Bone Broth Board on Pinterest.