How to Make Beef Broth

Making your own broth is one of the most nourishing foods you can make for your family, yet one of the most frugal. Nourishing broth should be a staple in every home and consumed a few times a week.

Science validates what our grandmothers knew. .. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

From “Broth is Beautiful” by Sally Fallon Morell

Homemade broth begins with just a few  simple ingredients; bones, water, and vegetables. In the end you’re left with a nutrient dense, rich tasting broth to be used in a multitude of recipes.

“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” South American proverb.

When you make beef broth, you can easily use marrow bones you find in the supermarket or ask your butcher to save them for you when you buy part of a cow. In fact, ask your local butcher anytime you need them. They should have ample supply or save some for you to pick up later. (and of course, grass fed organic beef bones are going to be the most nutritious and lower in any toxins)

beef bones 2

photo credit – donielle

Usually when I start getting the bones out I also get quite the audience…..

dozer

photo credit – donielle

Beef bones should also be roasted before making broth as it helps to form the best color and flavor.

Roast them until cooked through and starting to brown in a 350 degree oven.

beef bones

photo credit – donielle

Let the bones cool for a bit and add to a pan of cold water, using about three times as much water as bones and adding in a Tbsp or two of apple cider vinegar to pull out the calcium from the bones. After the bones and water have sat for about an hour, heat to boiling and remove any scum that surfaces. Not only do these impurities make the broth look bad, they can also put a damper on the wonderful flavor you’d normally get. After skimming, allow to simmer on low and cover.

With larger bones like those from beef, you should allow it to simmer at least 12-18 hours to fully extract nutrients and flavor. My favorite way to make broth is to allow just the bones to simmer in the water overnight and then add the vegetables in the morning since they don’t need to cook as long. You may toss in whatever vegetables you like, but my basic “recipe” is one whole onion (white or yellow) a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Add in 2 bay leaves and sea salt and pepper to taste while it simmers for another 2-4 hours. When finished, the water level should be just above the level of the bones.

Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate.

Depending on your usage of the broth you may or may not want to spoon off the fat once it rises to the top when cooled. I prefer to leave the fat in (it won’t hurt you – promise!) when I use the broth for gravies or making rice, but I do spoon it off when I use it for soups. This leaves my soups with a wonderful clear broth and no ‘fatty’ taste.

Keep the fat you spoon off for other uses; like making a rue for gravy and white sauce, or frying meats or potatoes.

A good broth will also “gel” when cold, though an un-gelled broth is plenty tasty and nutritious as well, but may be lacking in the full nutrient density of a broth that gels well.

broth

photo credit – donielle

Chicken broth can be made very much in the same way, though doesn’t need to simmer quite as long since the bones are smaller. You can also read my crockpot method for chicken broth and use it for beef broth as well.

A big stock pot is the best gift a bride can receive.”   Francis Pottenger

 

How to Make Beef Broth
Author: 
Recipe type: Soups and Stews
 
Ingredients
  • Beef bones, approx 2-3 lbs
  • One whole onion
  • Several carrots and stalks of celery
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper
Method of Preparation
  1. Roast the bones until cooked through and starting to brown in a 350 oven.
  2. Let the bones cool for a bit and add to a pan of cold water, using about three times as much water as bones and adding in a Tbsp or two of apple cider vinegar to pull out the calcium from the bones.
  3. After the bones and water have sat for about an hour, heat to boiling and remove any scum that surfaces.
  4. With larger bones like those from beef, you should allow it to simmer at least 12-18 hours to fully extract nutrients and flavor.
  5. You may toss in whatever vegetables you like, but my basic “recipe” is one whole onion (white or yellow) a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Add in 2 bay leaves and sea salt and pepper to taste while it simmers for another 2-4 hours.
  6. When finished, the water level should be just above the level of the bones.
  7. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate.
  8. Depending on your usage of the broth you may or may not want to spoon off the fat once it rises to the top when cooled. I prefer to leave the fat in (it won’t hurt you – promise!) when I use the broth for gravies or making rice, but I do spoon it off when I use it for soups. This leaves my soups with a wonderful clear broth and no ‘fatty’ taste.
  9. Keep the fat you spoon off for other uses; like making a rue for gravy and white sauce, or frying meats.

beef broth1

 

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.

Comments

  1. Donielle,

    Thanks for this post….I have just started making broths again after a long hiatus, but I never really got in a good routine with it.

    If I understood you correctly, did you mean that butchers will sometimes give away the bones or do you normally need to pay for them? I once purchased some locally, but would be very interested if there is a local source for high quality soup bones.

    Thanks!

    donielle Reply:

    @Adrienne, You’d have to buy them. :-) But they are normally pretty inexpensive.

  2. Yum! I love beef broth, I haven’t tried roasting the bones before though- will have to this next time! I got a bunch of marrow bones inexpensively from my favorite farmer, they looked just like yours, nice and short and easy to get the marrow out of :)

    donielle Reply:

    @Cara, The color is so pretty when you roast them first!

  3. I have some on the stove right now. :)

    I didn’t have any marrow bones this time, I usually do. But I had some nice meaty ones. I usually let mine go for 24 – 48 hours, sometimes longer. It’s been at least 18 now it looks nowhere near done. But I’m no expert on beef broth…mine hasn’t been that good (it looks fine, gels fine…I just don’t like the taste as much as chicken broth).

  4. linda moreda says:

    I’m an Italian great-grandmother (bisnonna) who has been making beef brothlike this, the way my mama taught me. Except she didn’t put vinegar in. Without it the broth will be clear, but adding the vinegar produces a white broth that looks just like the spoonful in the picture above.

    What a revelation to know there is someone out there who values this healthy food..

  5. Wendy holland says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I make a lot of soup using beef bones but have never cooked them for so long. I have an old recipe of my grandmothers which is very similar to yours but only cooked for 10 – 12 hours, I will be interested to taste yours to compare.

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