Years ago I stopped making resolutions, because they can be so disappointing and great bait for self-blame, and started making intention...

Nourishing Bone Broth Recipe


Years ago I stopped making resolutions, because they can be so disappointing and great bait for self-blame, and started making intentions. One of my biggest intentions for this year is self-naturing. There's a lot of ways that can materialize in my daily life, especially in cutting stress out of my life, for example: enabling myself to be on time, so I'm not feeling rushed or beating myself up for inconveniencing others. Another way is working with herbs as food to nurture myself and my family and making it simple.

A perfect model for that is chicken stock, a.k.a bone broth. This is about as simple, nurturing, and nourishing as it gets! It's great for any kind of recovery or convalescence, when you're in a hurry, or need something light with some protein. The first time I made stock was with the help of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. That gave me the basics, and I've been tweaking it since then. Vegetarians can make this, too, just leave out the bones. You won't get all the same nutrients, but it will still have lots in there.

One thing I added to the recipe to make it more simple and efficient is a little thing that I love the name of: freezer compost. Freezer compost is very basically where you take any compostable veggie scraps, i.e. onion and garlic skins and ends, broccoli and kale stems, carrot tops, etc, and throw them in a container in the freezer until you're ready to make stock. Then, instead of using fresh veggies just for stock and having to process them first, you can just chuck these in the pot. Once again, I'm a traditional herbalist, so I make recipes with a pinch of this and a handful of that, which might be substituted for a handful of something else next time. So I apologize if this makes you crazy. If you have questions, just ask.

The other way to simplify this is to cook a chicken a week, then you always have bones. Just throw the bones in the freezer with the compost. When you're ready to make stock, pull everything out and let thaw. Now the fun part: beat the bones with a meat hammer.

Meat hammer, fresh ginger from a friend's garden, and a good sharp knife


Bones from one to two carcasses (This can include feet and necks, too.)
Vinegar (I usually use apple cider vinegar. Others will work, but not white vinegar.)
Freezer compost, or a few carrots and celery sticks, a medium onion, and a few or more garlic cloves
Lots of good, clean water
Your favorite herbs and spices

I'm leaving this recipe super general, so you can play around and add whatever you have on hand or your favorite flavors. Some people don't add any herbs, and just wait until they make the soup from the stock to season it. 


  1. Thaw any bones and or freezer compost that are frozen. 
  2. Coarsely chop any vegetables you might be adding.
  3. Beat your bones with a meat hammer. You don't have to decimate them (unless you really need to get some aggression out); you're just trying to expose the marrow.
  4. Put the bones, veggies, herbs, spices, and water in a large pot or crock pot. This is up to your preference. It's going to be cooking a long time. If you have a gas stove and are going to have to leave while it's cooking, it's probably safest to use a crock pot. I cook mine on the wood stove this time of year, and it's super efficient. I use a canning pot if I cook two carcasses. This way you'll have extra to freeze.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar for one carcass, or 2 for two carcasses. Let sit for an hour. This helps extract the nutrients from the bones. Bring the water to a boil, then, simmer, or set your crock pot to low on the longest setting.
  6. Then you just wait. Most people recommend to cook this for 12-24 hours, if you can. This extracts the most available nutrients. If you don't have that much time, just cook it as long as you can. 
  7. Add extra water, if a lot is evaporating. Skim the fat off the top. My wonderful teacher recommended to save it for cooking beans, genius!
  8. Once it's finished, let cool, strain, and bottle. Now this can be a little tricky. Freezing stock in glass has been disastrous for me, even when leaving plenty of head space at the top. I've lost several half gallon canning jars, which adds up quick! My friend recommends using plastic. She likes Ball's plastic containers. I don't like using plastic, but if you can find some BPA free, it's better than shards of glass in your stock. If you have better suggestions, please share.  

Ideas for Herbs and Spices to Add

I like to add tonic herbs, herbs that are commonly eaten as food and have lots of great vitamins and minerals. My favorite forageable tonic herbs: stinging or wood nettle, dandelion or burdock roots (go light, these are bitter), red clover, wild onion/garlic, rose hips, pine needles

wild rose hips of Multiflora Rose, an invasive (eating it helps to keep it from spreading and threatening native plants)

wild onions or wild garlic, depending on who you talk to

Other Tonic Herbs

  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • astragalus (an Asian root)
  • kelp
  • peppercorns (throw 'em in whole, no need to grind)
  • mushrooms (turkey tails, maitake, shittake, etc)

fresh turmeric from a friend's garden
Please try this recipe, and tell me what you think. What are your favorite herbs to add? What are your favorite self-nurturing and nourishing practices? What are your intentions for 2015? Please share with everyone by commenting below. 

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