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Bone Broth for Wellness

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

Mentioning bone broth often elicits thoughts of Nonna, tirelessly working over a hot stove all day long, in the second kitchen in the basement; a giant pot of weird things like bones, chicken feet, and who knows what else, cooking away in front of her. She would make broth at least once a week, as a stock base for soups and stews, or anytime that anyone she knew was sick.

Little did we know at the time, but Nonna knew what she was doing. While it may seem like drinking bone broth is a fairly new natural health fad, this traditional food has been a staple of most cultures for thousands of years and has some serious science to back up its effectiveness in promoting good health and wellness.

Bone Broth for Wellness | Musings of a Modern Hippie

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Nutrients in Bone Broth

Depending on what recipe is followed, and length of cooking time, nutrient levels will vary, but in general bone broth has abundant amounts of the following:






Iodine (fish broth)

Vitamin A

Vitamin K

Fatty acids




Wellness Benefits of Bone Broth

Drinking bone broth provides an easy-to-digest source of many nutrients required to maintain good health and wellness. In addition to being a nutrient super food, bone broth contains a number of anti-inflammatory properties that may aid in optimal gut health, decreasing allergies, and improving joint health. The healthy fats in bone broth will help keep skin and hair soft and hydrated, and the minerals will assist in boosting immune system functioning and mood boosting.

Sourcing Bones for Bone Broth

Traditionally, cultures were very frugal in their cooking and used every part of the animal possible, so bone broth was a way to get additional use out of the bones, joints, and other parts that were left after the meat was removed. While today most of us don't raise our own animals for food, or follow the nose-to-tail principle, it is still possible to obtain the "leftover" parts from a local butcher, farmer, or grocer to use in your bone broth making. Many farmers and butchers that sell their products at the local open air public markets will have bones available for purchase as well, but may not have them listed or on display, so be sure to ask. Just like with sourcing your other meat and dairy products, how the animals were raised and treated is very important when sourcing bones for both broth. Animals that were raised on uncrowded and unsprayed pastures, with plenty of access to their natural food supplies and minimal stress are ideal sources. Connect with farmers who understand how animal husbandry affects meat quality and you are sure to find a good source for your broth bones.

Fish bones should be obtained from sustainably wild harvested non-oily ocean fish. Non-oily is important because fish oils can become rancid quickly.

Bone Broth for Wellness | Musings of a Modern Hippie

How to Make Bone Broth

There are a number of different ways to make bone broth, but fortunately this is one of those recipes that is extremely adaptable, so there is no one way that is the best. Simply adapt to suit your own needs and taste preferences.


Heat source

Required Ingredients

1 gallon of cold water, preferably filtered

1-2 tablespoon of vinegar, I prefer apple cider vinegar for mine

3-4 lbs of bones

The vinegar pulls the minerals and nutrients out of the bones and helps break them down.

Deciding which type of bones you will use is a matter of preference and access. Chicken bones tend to be the most mild in flavor, easiest to obtain, and are often recommended to those just starting out in the world of bone broth making. After that, in order of mildness to strength of flavor are turkey, pork, beef, lamb, and fish.

Strictly speaking that really is all you need to make bone broth, however there are a bunch of options that will boost the flavor profile as well as nutrient value.

Optional Ingredients

Collagenous animal parts such as chicken feet, joint bones, and necks

3 large carrots, cut in large chunks

3 large celery stalks, cut in large chunks

2 medium onions, cut in quarters

3 garlic cloves, smashed but not chopped

Sea salt and black pepper to taste (added after cooking)

Other fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaves


For chicken or turkey bone broth, which I find to be the easiest to make, I simply save the bones after roasting a whole bird for dinner. The bones freeze well, so I often throw them in a storage bag and into our freezer until I am ready to make broth again.

I also make good use of my big slow cooker for this recipe as I can really just set it and come back a day or two later.

NOTE: If you are using pork, beef, or lamb bones it is highly recommended to brown or roast the bones ahead of time, either in the oven at 450°F for 30 min, or on the stove top until brown. This will really help with the flavor of the broth. Fish and poultry bones do not need to be pre-roasted.

1. Put bones, other parts, and any vegetables and seasonings into a large stock pot or slow cooker, do not add salt or pepper at this step as they will be added at the end.

2. Cover ingredients with cold, filtered water, approximately 1 gallon.

3. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinegar.

4. Turn on high and bring to a boil, then immediate reduce to low, and cover.

5. Simmer for 12 to 48 hours, stirring occasionally.

6. When done, remove from heat, and add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Remove large chunks of bones and cooked veggies and discard.

8. Strain out small bites and pieces of bone through a fine mesh strainer.

9. Let cool and store refrigerated or freeze in smaller batches.

You may find that your bone broth congeals into a jello-like consistency, or maybe yours stays liquid. Either one is perfectly ok, and simply an indicator of collagen/gelatin content. If you tossed in chicken feet or a lot of joint bones, it will be more jello-y. I love to get chicken feet from the public market and add them to my bone broth. The flavor is wonderful and that added nutrient boost is so worth it.

Cooking time is up to your preference and taste. Longer cooking times will extract more nutrients but also make for a stronger flavor and higher histamine level, so for those people sensitive to higher-histamine foods, go for a shorter cooking time.

Enjoy a cup or more a day, or use as a base for soups, stews, to cook your grains in, and other dishes.

Bone Broth for Wellness | Musings of a Modern Hippie

That's all there is to it!

Further Reading and Resources

You may also enjoy this podcast from WAPF President Sally Fallon Morell:

Bone Broth for Wellness | Musings of a Modern Hippie

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