Making Bone Stock

Lovely isn't it?  This is after cooking, during straining.

Why would you do this?  Because...

1.  It saves money; have you looked at the price of organic stock lately?  Mighty expensive when you can make it with just a little time on the stovetop.  Plus home-made stock tastes better and is more nutritious (less processed, less water).  Get nutrients in an assimilable form, cheaper than buying supplements!)

2. It'super nutritious:  Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and other trace minerals; Glucosamine and Chondroitin and Gelatin- good for your bones, joints, hair, nails, skin, heart, and on and on...

3. I re-uses what would otherwise be a waste product.

This is what it looks like after cooking and straining.

1. Collect bones as you get them in a ziploc bag in the freezer.  I mix all types of bones, literally from pork to chicken to fish (all humanely raised or sustainably wild-harvested, a prerequisite for me as factory farms are a true atrocity and serious ethical issue, on top of that, who wants to eat sick, tortured animals?  It matters.  We are what we eat.)

2.  Once you have a gallon bag full or so, use a hammer to break open any solid bones to expose the marrow and cover all the bones in a large stove pot (or crock pot) with water, add a couple tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (this helps to leach out the minerals), and cook (bring to a boil, then simmer with lid) at least 24 hours, but as many as 72.  The longer you cook, the more nutrients you will get out of the bones.  72 hours makes the bones like mush.

3.  Strain and use.  You can fridge for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage.  Freeze in individual size portions, or use an ice cube tray.  You can use the stock for braising other meats, wilting vegetables, flavoring grains or legumes, making soup, reheating leftovers, etc.  I find a use for it almost daily.
Often I just make a huge pot of soup with it right after straining:

This is a soup to which I added right to the bone broth:  soaked and strained Aduki beans, Buckwheat Groats, Olive oil, Shitake, Kelp, Bay leaf, Thyme, Turmeric and Mizuna greens.

Mizuna, an Asian green from the coldframe

Greens Coldframe - with wild greens growing all around!

Easy soup recipe guidelines (all measurements are approximate):
Add to gallon of bone stock:

- 1/4- 1/2 c. olive, coconut, sesame oil or saved oil from cooking fatty meats

- Kelp, small handful - I add this to all soups for it's salt, iodine, and other trace minerals.  Kelp helps to remove heavy metals from the body, so it's detoxing.

- 1 c. grains (cook in stock until done, different for each grain, can soak first overnight to initiate sprouting and improve nutrition)

- 2 c. dry legumes (**soak, strain, and cook them separately first.  There are so many beans and lentils
to choose from - lots of colors and flavors!  Soak  legumes 1-3 days before cooking with a rinse daily; this helps you to digest the beans, getting much more protein out of them, getting rid of the anti-nutrients that coat the beans so that you get more nutrition from the beans)
You can't go wrong with sauteed onions. 

- Greens of some sort:  bok choy, spinach, collards, etc.

- other vegetables and flavoring agents

- a dash of a couple spices (mix and match, experiment!)  I almost always add Turmeric for its anti-inflammatory effect.

Eat as soon as the ingredients are cooked, but simmer as long as you like.  Sometimes I leave this on the stove all day.  Then cool and put some in the fridge for sooner and some in the freezer for later.

These soups are so nourishing you can feel it; they make you feel good.

Another option is to mix vegetable scraps into the bone stock for making vegetable stock, or just use vegetables alone.  Vegetables only need an all-day or overnight (24 hour max) cooking time, so if I am mixing, I will usually cook the bone stock for a day or two first, then add the vegetable scraps.  By vegetable scraps I mean the peelings from carrots, the skin on the broccoli stem, the fibrous ends of the asparagus, onion skins, leaves off cauliflower, etc. - the parts that you usually compost, but are technically edible.  I save all this in a separate ziploc in the freezer.  I just keep re-using the bags, always keeping them in the freezer whether full or not.  Simple.  Keep in mind not to use tomato, pepper, or potato green parts as they are toxic.

Jujube dates
Another option is to mix herbs into your stock at the end of cooking time for their therapeutic effects.  Some possibilities include:
Astragalus, Jujube, Goji berries, Dong Quai, Codonopsis, Poria, Burdock root, Reishi, Dioscorea, He Shou Wu, Orange peel,
Lotus seed, and Lily bulb.
Go light at first so as to not overpower the flavor, and up the amount slowly. 

Soup-making:  a weekly ritual.  Warms the belly and the soul.


  1. have you heard of roasting the bones before boiling them? Some friends in Oregon did this with HUGE buffalo bones at a festival, and I was given the task of taking the bones to the garden and burying them. When I dumped them into the trench I had dug, quite a few of the bones crumbled....large portions of the ends and the smaller bones were complete mush! This tells me that the roasting in addition to the boiling increased the extraction of something from the bones into the broth.....

  2. I've never roasted them, but I do sometimes boil for 72 hours (that's my goal), which makes the bones mush too. Wonder how long they roasted and then how long they boiled? I