Ah fall. While a beautiful time of year, so begins the cold and flu season. Here in Missouri, we can easily jump from 85 degrees to 55 degrees and then back up again. It is not uncommon to begin the day with the heat on and then switch to the AC. These cooler days tend to put me in the mood to spend lots of time in the kitchen. I like to take stock of what I still have in the freezer and this year in particular, I have soup bones. I have not yet restocked my pantry with beef bone broth, until now.
Homemade beef bone broth is one of the best and easiest things you can keep stocked in your pantry. It is extremely versatile and can be stored by freezing the broth or canning the broth. I like to keep a mixture of both on hand to use my homemade stock in any recipe that requires it. Using beef bones from our freezer, I am able to fill my kitchen cabinet with homemade beef stock that packs in tons of nutritional benefits.
What is beef bone broth?
Beef bone broth is a flavorful and nutritious liquid made by simmering beef bones and connective tissues for an extended period of time, typically 12 to 48 hours or more. The slow simmering process extracts the minerals, collagen, gelatin, and other beneficial compounds from the bones, resulting in a rich and savory broth. It is better than store-bought beef broth and is used as a base for soups, stews, sauces, or consumed on its own. Bone marrow is said to contain key nutrients essential for our bodies.
The key ingredients for making beef bone broth typically include:
- Beef bones: These can be any combination of bones, such as marrow bones, knuckles, oxtail, or other bones with connective tissues. Roasting the bones before simmering them can enhance the flavor of the broth.
- Water: Enough water is used to cover the bones and allow for simmering over an extended period.
- Vegetables: Ingredients like onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs are often added for flavor. These can be roasted along with the bones or added during the simmering process.
- Vinegar: A small amount of vinegar is sometimes added to help extract minerals from the bones. Apple cider vinegar can also help protect against potential signs of spoilage.
The long, slow simmering process allows the bones and connective tissues to release their nutrients into the liquid. The resulting beef bone broth is rich in collagen, which can benefit joint health and improve the texture of skin, hair, and nails. It also contains essential amino acids, minerals like calcium and magnesium, and is often praised for its comforting and satisfying taste. Beef bone broth is commonly consumed for its potential health benefits, including supporting digestive health, and reducing inflammation. Additionally, it just makes you feel better when you are sick.
What are the benefits of beef bone broth?
Beef bone broth, like any bone broth, offers several potential health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of consuming the highest quality beef bone broth. Not only is homemade beef broth a delicious additional to your meal, but the nutritional benefits are endless.
- Nutrient-Rich: Beef bone broth is a good source of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and collagen.
- Collagen and Gelatin: Collagen and gelatin, both found in beef bone broth, may promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. They can also support joint health and reduce the risk of joint-related issues.
- Gut Health: The gelatin in bone broth can help soothe and repair the lining of the gut. This can potentially aid in managing digestive conditions and improving overall gut health.
- Immune Support: The amino acids in bone broth, such as glycine and arginine, may help support the immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Hydration: Bone broth can help keep you hydrated due to its high water content. It’s a good option to stay hydrated, especially when you’re under the weather.
- Joint Health: The compounds in bone broth can support joint health and reduce joint pain and inflammation due to conditions like osteoarthritis.
- Improved Skin Health: The collagen in beef bone broth can help maintain skin elasticity and hydration, potentially reducing the signs of aging.
- Amino Acids: Bone broth contains various amino acids that are essential for various bodily functions, including muscle growth and repair.
- Weight Management: Some people find that consuming bone broth can help control appetite and support weight management by providing a low-calorie, nutrient-dense option.
- Sleep Aid: The amino acid glycine, which is present in bone broth, may have a calming effect and promote better sleep when consumed before bedtime.
How do I prepare beef bone broth?
Making beef bone broth at home is a straightforward process, although it does require time and patience. I prefer to make a large batch of broth at one time to make the best use of my time. While I have soup bones cut when butchering, you can use any cut of beef that contains bone. Short ribs are another popular choice because you can cook them down and separate the meat to utilize separately. Other ingredients I use, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery to add depth and flavor.
I like to begin with a large roasting pan and coat my soap bones in olive oil and salt and pepper. I roast in the oven for roughly 45 to 60 minutes and trust me, the smell alone will have you craving a cozy meal and bread. Flipping the soup bones halfway through, I’ll add in my vegetables the second half the roasting time. And trust me, the veggies do not need to be pretty! Use up what you have in the fridge, I personally hate the end of the celery root and use it for my homemade bone broth. I have found this is the best way to lock in the flavor of homemade broth.
From here, you can use either a slow cooker, instant pot, or a good old fashioned stock pot to cook the broth down low and slow. Make sure everything is sufficiently covered with cold water and add a small amount of apple cider vinegar. I like to do this in the evening where I can set my crock pot for 10 or 12 hours and walk away until the morning. If cooking over a large pot, boil thoroughly and allow to simmer on low heat for 2 to 3 hours, our until the meat completely pulls away from the bone.
For best results, cool completely as you will want to remove all of the meat off of the soup bone. I save the meat and make beef tips and gravy, a soup or a stew. Once the broth has been cooled to room temperature, it can be strained off from any leftover marrow, vegetables. The cooking process is now complete and it’s time for determine the best storage method.
What are the best storage options for homemade beef bone broth?
This really comes down to personal preference. Personally, I use a combination of frozen broth and shelf-stable broth in a mason glass jar. To freeze, place in an ice cube trays and add to freezer bags. This method works best for smaller amounts of broth or to make gravy using your homemade beef bone broth. For larger amounts, I break out my glass jars and pressure cook to ensure longer shelf life. The best place to store shelf-stable beef bone broth is in a dry and cool place. Don’t forget to add your expiration date to the top of your lid. I aim for a 6 month expiration date, however our homemade beef bone broth rarely makes it that far!
Here are some general guidelines:
- Refrigeration: When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, homemade beef bone broth typically remains good for about 3 to 4 days. It’s important to keep it well-sealed to prevent the absorption of other odors in the fridge.
- Freezing: If you want to extend the shelf life of your beef bone broth, freezing is an excellent option. When properly stored in the freezer, beef bone broth can remain safe to consume for 2 to 6 months or even longer. Here’s how to freeze it:
- Allow the broth to cool to room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- Use airtight containers or resealable freezer bags to portion the broth, leaving some space at the top to allow for expansion as the liquid freezes.
- Label the containers or bags with the date for easy tracking.
- Place the containers or bags in the freezer.
- Canning (Pressure Canning): If you’re experienced in canning and have the necessary equipment, you can pressure can beef bone broth. This can provide a longer shelf life, often up to a year or more, if done correctly.
Remember that the guidelines mentioned above are general recommendations. The actual shelf life may vary based on factors such as the quality of the ingredients used, how well it was sealed, and the temperature of your refrigerator or freezer. If at all in doubt, throw it out.
Homemade Beef Bone Broth
- 1 Slow Cooker
- 4-10 Pounds Beef Soup Bones
- 2 Tbsp Course Salt
- 2 Tbsp Black Pepper
- 4-6 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat soup bones in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast soup bones for 45 minutes to an hour, flipping halfway through and adding vegetables.
- After roasting, add soup bones and vegetables to a slow cooker. Cover soup bones and vegetables completely with water.
- Cook on low for 10-12 hours in slow cooker.
- Allow broth, bones and vegetables to cool completely. From here, separate what meat you have and strain off the bones and vegetables.
- Store your homemade beef bone broth as desired by freezing or pressure canning.
There you have it, an easy and sustainable way to feed your family and stretch your grocery budget. I have been following this method for years and it is fail-proof, so make the most of your soup bones and stock your pantry.