Bone Broth - Part 1

Is there a difference between stock and broth?

Educated chefs often use the terms interchangeably, but health enthusiasts further divide this amazing liquid into three terms - broth, stock and bone broth.

  • Broth is typically made with meat and a small amount of bone. It is simmered for a short period of time (45 minutes to 2 hours) and is very light in flavor, thin in texture and rich in protein.

  • Stock is typically made with meaty bones. The bones are often roasted before simmering them to improve the flavor. Simmered for a moderate amount of time (3 to 8 hours), stock is rich in minerals and gelatin.

  • Bone Broth is typically made with bones which have only a small amount of meat adhering to the bones. As with stock, bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the bone broth. Bone broths are simmered along with an acid such as apple cider vinegar for a very long period of time (often in excess of 24 hours). This long cooking time helps to remove as many minerals and nutrients as possible from the bones. At the end of cooking, the minerals have leached from the bones and into the broth.

Why is bone broth so popular these days?


Bone broth is nothing new. It has been around for as long as humans have cooked over fires. During the Middle Ages in Europe, it was called “restaurer” which means a restorative broth. It was known to be nutritionally dense, made essentially from leftover bones boiled until all the goodness and nourishment came out. Cooled, it became gelatinous. Do you recall reading of Victorian calves-foot jelly or British beef tea? They are both terms used for bone broth.

Over the last few years, doctors like Dr. Oz and Dr. Axe have bought the idea that food is medicine to the mainstream audience. There are now brodo counters and broth bars in many urban centers which are selling bone broth by the cup. Last year a company even began marketing bone broth K-cups for Keurig machines. Bone broth powder can be found on Amazon. Supermarkets sell pasteurized, shelf-stable boxes of it in the soup section and sales are even rising on a highly processed bouillon soup base that includes corn syrup solids and caramel color.

Where do we go from here?

It would seem like these latest trends of powdered broths with additives are an indicator that consumers have no idea what bone broth is really about.

There is nothing like a homemade broth, an essential aspect of good cooking.  Homemade bone broth offers a richness of flavor that store bought simply can’t equal. It’s also an extremely affordable food, especially when considering its nutritive value.

Frugal Benefits

Bone broths are remarkably inexpensive to make. It requires no special equipment and takes very little time. By using the bones from leftover roast chickens and a few fresh vegetable (or even vegetable scraps you’ve saved), you can make a gallon of stock for pennies. Preparing your own stock at home could possibly save you more money over time than any other kitchen endeavor.

Culinary Uses

For centuries nearly every traditional society has boiled bones of meat-giving animals to make nutritive broth. It is deeply flavorful, yet versatile and can be used as the base for soups, sauces, gravies as well as providing a cooking medium for grains and vegetables. It takes very little work to have a pot of stock bubbling on the stove or counter.

Health Benefits

I mentioned earlier that bone broth has been prepared in kitchens, hearths and firesides throughout history. It has nearly become a lost art. Home cooks have simply forgotten how easy it is to make broth and how beneficial it is to make this low-cost, highly nutritive food a regular part of the family diet.

Homemade broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals. The minerals in broth are easily absorbed by the body. Bone broth contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which are thought to help slow or prevent the degeneration of joint cartilage and alleviate existing joint pain. Rather than spending lots of money on glucosamine-chondroitin and mineral supplements, just make bone broth and other nutritive foods a part of your diet.

Bone broth is also rich in gelatin which is an inexpensive source of supplementary protein. Gelatin has been said to ease digestion, strengthen joints and bones, improve the health of hair, skin and nails.

Wow, all this great nutrition from something that is simple, inexpensive and easy to prepare right in your own kitchen.

Are you getting a little excited about making your own broth? I am! Next time, we will take a look at the best type of bones to use when making your bone broth.