Bone Broth!

As far as I’m concerned, cooking for health starts with a nutritious base.

That’s why when the holiday ham is down to the last few scraps of meat on the bone, it goes into a pot of water –just like the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving did a few weeks before—and very like what just happened this week to the pastured beef soup bones that were in the freezer.

I love to make bone broth, especially from beef bones.  The rich, simmering scent even makes me feel healthy.  Here’s what I do:

bone broth I start with some meaty soup bones and a package of stew beef.  We buy beef from a local farmer, so I don’t worry about where it may have come from.  I slice up a couple of onions and cut up two or three carrots, drizzle olive oil over everything, stirring to be sure all the meat is coated, too.  Then, I roast it all in a shallow pan at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.

In the meantime, I plug in my large crock pot.

After the meat and bones are roasted to bring out the flavor, I put them into the crock-pot, pour some hot water into the roasting pan and scrape up the little pieces that might have stuck on.  This goes in the crock-pot, too. bone broth I pour about a quarter cup of cider vinegar in, and then fill the pot with cold water—up to about an inch from the top.  Are you stuck on the cider vinegar addition?

I read somewhere that adding cider vinegar helps the bones release their nutrients as they cook.  (If you aren’t sure where your beef is from, you might skip this step.)

Turn the crock-pot on HIGH until the mixture begins to boil, and then turn to LOW and just leave it—overnight is best, 24 hours won’t hurt it a bit.  You want this bone broth to just simmer.  If you see a bubble “blurping” up every once in a while—that’s just right.  If some scum or fat comes to the top, you could carefully take that off with the edge of a spoon, but I’ve never bothered.

When you think your broth is done—and seriously—24 hours is not too long, pour it through a fine strainer into a clean pot.  Refrigerate until cool, and then carefully remove the fat that will have accumulated on the top.  You can use this for cooking, if you like, just don’t dump it down the drain. The chilled broth should be almost gelatin like—dark and rich.bone broth

The broth really is good for you.  All that calcium, phosphorus and magnesium from the bones is there for your body to easily absorb so your own bones are stronger. There’s collagen that can give you healthy skin and hair, too, and electrolytes that carry the electrical messages to your muscles and nerves.  Trace minerals, gelatin –all good things.

You can use bone broth in so many ways –we love it as a base for gravy and sauces.  I’ve cooked rice in it and just heated it up as a nutritious drink for the fellow sick in bed with the flu.  (Here’s a link to a site that gives you 50 uses for bone broth!)

And then there’s soup.  Vegetable beef soup with a little barley tossed in. bone broth

I save the meat that was left when I strained the broth and cut it into bite-sized pieces.  I like to take some of the broth and add it to a pot with sliced carrots, celery, onions and a handful of chopped parsley.  Bring it all to a boil, add the meat and a handful of barley and then simmer until the vegetables are done.  Just the right thing to have on the back of the stove on a cold winter’s day.


“Bone Broth!” is shared with “Mostly Homemade Mondays Linky-Party”.

“Three Sisters” Soup

Here in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, where many thousands of years ago retreating glaciers left fertile soil, Native American tribes—only a few hundred years ago—learned that three valuable vegetables would grow prolifically together, store beautifully through cold winters, and flavorfully serve up nutrients to a hungry population.  They called these vegetables –corn, beans and squash—the “three sisters” because they grew so well together in the rich river land soil.  The corn grew tall—reports from French trappers tell of stalks over 8 feet high—the beans wound up the supporting stalks of the corn, and the squash flourished in the shade at the feet of the corn and beans.

Crisp autumn days with the hillsides covered in brilliant crimsons and golds are perfect days to set a pot of soup on the back of the stove to feed hungry families.


Our friend Elaine made this soup for us last fall—and the recipe came from her friend Janet, who we’re told is as warm and comforting as the soup.  Elaine’s recipe is a tiny bit different than Janet’s—and ours is a tiny bit different than Elaine’s—so let’s say that three friends are offering this yummy recipe for:


                                                   “Three Sisters’ Soup”                                                    



Scallions, garlic, 4 cups of squash

Brown 2 chopped scallions and 3 minced garlic cloves in 2 T. olive oil.


Add water to squash in soup pot.

Add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.


Add 3 cups water with 4 cups peeled squash. (butternut or other).  **Elaine’s note: I steamed and smashed the squash and then used the squash water as part of the three cups.

Try different types of squash in this soup.


Bring to a boil and then simmer with 1 can creamed corn and 1 can cannellini beans until squash is tender.


Puree half the soup mix in blender, or use the wand style blending right in the cooking pot.


Add another can each of corn and beans.  It works nicely to have 2 different colors of beans, such as pinto then black, or pinto then dark red kidney or light/dark kidney just because of the color. (Drain the beans before adding.)

Try different types of beans, too.


Reheat and top with chopped fresh (or dried) basil as topping.

Particularly good when shared with a friend or three (and maybe a corn muffin) on an “Indian summer” afternoon!






This post is shared at Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest #3,  Our Little Coop: CoopHop3, Fresh Eggs Daily:Fall Harvest Link Up Party, The HomeAcre Harvest Hopthe Creative Home and Garden Hop and The Homestead Blog Hop #1.

This post is also part of Tasty Traditions.

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