‘Good for what ails you,’ bone broth has been soothing, nourishing and feeding people for thousands of years. During the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 – 1939, bone broth was virtually a survival food for families who couldn’t afford meat and needed to extract as much nutrition as possible from the food they had.
Essentially bones simmered with a combination of vegetables, herbs and water; the process of making bone broth is eyes-shut easy and as frugal as it gets.
There’s no need to source anything special here, simply use the odds and ends of vegetables and herbs you have to hand. Carrots, leeks, onions, shallots etc. are all standard fare for the stockpot, but feel free to add whatever you enjoy eating.
Related: 50 Tips From the Great Depression
Less Water, Less Space Needed
If you don’t have unlimited storage space, then add less water for a more concentrated and intense flavour. This type of broth has a firmer set and can be diluted with water to use.
This recipe is for chicken bone broth, but the process is the same for beef/other animal bones. The cooking time is necessarily lengthy to draw the minerals and nutrients from the bones, but you don’t need to do anything other than wait. We’ve given the stovetop method, but you can speed things up by using a pressure cooker, or even simmer the broth in a slow cooker for 12 hours on medium.
- 1 cooked chicken carcass (previously roasted bones taste better, but raw will work just fine)
- Carrot, leek tops, onions, garlic etc.
- Woody herbs such as rosemary, bay or thyme
- Tbsp. of vinegar (cider, wine, balsamic etc.) – optional
- Strip any meat from the chicken carcass and place the bones into a deep stockpot with the herbs and vegetables. Add water to cover and the vinegar, if using.
- Bring to the boil and leave on a simmer for between 12 – 24 hours. A couple of hours less than this isn’t a deal-breaker if you’re pressed for time. Top up the water as necessary.
- When the bones are collapsed and the volume of liquid reduced, it’s time to strain the broth through a sieve into a clean dish.
- Finally, strain again into sterilized jars and leave to cool before screwing on the lids.
The broth will set to a clear jelly with a cap of fat. The ‘cleaner’ the broth, the longer it will stay good for. You can store this in the fridge for a good two weeks, spooning out what you need for soup bases, stews and so on. Bone broth freezes well, with a freezer life of 12 months.
You can increase the store cupboard life of your jars by processing in a pressure canner for 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure for pints and quarts for 25 minutes (check manufacturer’s instructions and adjust for altitude). Bone broth canned this way should have a shelf life of at least 12 months.
This golden, richly flavored broth can be used in hundreds of dishes to boost the flavor, but it’s pretty awesome just seasoned and sipped from a bowl!
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