I love finding frugal ways to make use of all of our food. So rather than tossing out those leftover bones from a roasted chicken (or turkey), I use them to create a delicious and nutritious bone broth.
It’s especially easy to make bone broth in the slow cooker since it allows you to simmer the bones for an extended period of time without having to look after it. A long, low simmer is one of the best ways to extract more of the beneficial minerals and rich gelatin, which helps to heal the gut.
In fact, there are so many benefits to homemade bone broth, including
• Full of protein, amino acids and essential minerals
• Acts as a digestive aid and promotes healing and support for the gastrointestinal track
• Provides a rich source of gelatin and collagen
• Supports healthy joints and a healthy immune system
So I encourage you to make use of every single bit of those leftover chicken bones (or turkey bones) and put on a crockpot of bone broth. Your body (especially your gut) will thank you!
(P.S. If you don’t have any chicken bones on hand, you can still cook up a batch of delicious and nutritious chicken meat stock by following my simple stovetop method utilizing a whole uncooked bird.)
How to Make Slow Cooker Bone Broth
Be sure to remove all of the meat from your roasted chicken (or turkey). As shown below, the carcass should look like it was attacked by a pack of hungry piranhas – seems a bit graphic, but the point is, you want to retrieve as much of the meat as possible for making future meals.
Place the bones, giblets (if you have some), and some fresh chopped veggies and herbs into a six-quart slow cooker. It’s important to note that if you want to achieve a great gel, using extra jointy-bones is key. This excellent article from my friend Kristen, really helps clarify how to achieve bone broth with a great gel.
There is no exact recipe, so use what you like. But as a baseline, I like to include with the chicken bones:
• 4-5 small carrots with tops, chopped
• 3-4 stalks of celery with leaves, chopped
• 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tbsp sea salt
• A handful of fresh parsley and thyme
Then add about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the acidity helps to draw out more of the beneficial minerals and gelatin). Next, add fresh filtered water, making sure to not overfill (see this article on the proper ratio of water to bones for the best gel). Cover the slow cooker and cook on low 12-18 hours.
You have two choices, you can either carefully ladle off as much broth as you need and replace with fresh water to create a perpetual stock (see Jenny’s idea here), or you can remove the large chunks of food and bones from the crockpot and carefully pour the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
Homemade stock can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for several months. Once stock has cooled, I like to place it into 2-cup portions in BPA-free plastic containers and store in the freezer for easy access when I need to use it in recipes. If you’ll be using the stock within a week, a good option is to simply store it in mason jars (or clean recycled glass jars) and place in the refrigerator.
Note: It’s completely normal for your stock to develop a nice thick solid jell across the top when refrigerated. In fact, it’s not only “normal,” it’s the true sign of a good stock. Do not skim this off, this thick layer of rich fat and gelatin is loaded with healthy nutrients!
Using Stock in Your Favorite Recipes:
Homemade bone broth is far superior in taste to any stock sold in cans or boxes. And most important, it’s far superior in nutritional value as well. It’s perfect for making your favorite soups and stews, as well for drinking daily as part of a gut-health-improvement regime.
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