#78 – Broth: Your Questions Answered

We asked for your questions on bone broth. And man, did you send them in!

Today’s episode is dedicated to answering all the questions we received about the wonder that is bone broth. We will cover sourcing your bones, what types of bones to use, cooking broth – including equipment, timings, add-ins, how to make your broth thicker, thinner, stronger and weaker, the myriad of ways you can drink and eat your broth, nutrition and storage. There are so many ideas packed into these 75 minutes. So whether you’re a beginner at broth or via making it for years I’m sure you’re find help and encouragement in this episode.

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Buy Better Broths and Healing Tonics AND support the podcast by using our (non-Amazon!) bookshop:

Better Broths and Healing Tonics in the US

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Episode 52: Homesteading the Final Frontier with Amanda Callahan

Episode 44: How to Run a “Made From Scratch” Homestead with Melissa K. Norris

Melissa’s Article: Does Pressure Canning Ruin Bone Broth

Episode 62: Building Your Pantry with Canning with Angi Schneider

Pressure Canning for Beginners and Beyond: Safe, Easy Recipes for Preserving Tomatoes, Vegetables, Beans and Meat

Possible resource for finding bones Also: check with WAPF chapter leaders!

Alison’s blog high protein breakfast options

Alison’s blog My 5 favourite ways to use bone broth

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Andrea_thomas78 says: My biggest hurdle is finding quality bones. Anna.e.brooks says: Finding local and quality sourced bones is difficult!

Alison – start talking to people. Check internet for local farms. Facebook groups. Until that works you can get bones online from national suppliers.

Andrea – Anna has come out to the farm and helped us out! Talk to your butcher. Ask them if they sell blocks of frozen bones/ and if they will cut them into soup-size blocks for you. Ask people who hunt, or who you know that butcher, if they save the bones from their animals and if you can have them if they don’t. Offer to pay or exchange for them; or tell them you will make them broth!

Types of bones

Kyliesmith914 says: I know grass fed is best, but I have bones in my freezer from conventionally raised beef – are these still ok to use? Found out I shouldn’t be using the conventional fat to render for tallow.

Alison – I would say yes. In better broths and healing tonics they tested both organic and conventional bones for heavy metals and found both of them to be under the allowed levels. Ideally we’d use organic but don’t shy away from making broth with conventionally raised beef bones as it’s so nutritious.

Farmonthemnt says: We have two lambs to butcher this year. Is lamb broth a thing? Any tips?

Alison – it is in my house! Mutton broth definitely was a thing in England for a very long time. It’s referenced in Dorothy Hartley’s food in England. I’ve made broth with lamb, bones and a head and it was lovely.

Andrea – Elk, deer, moose etc also make excellent broths if you have a hunter in the family – and almost 100% of the time these bones are discarded and not used! If it has bones, those bones can be cooked.

My.dandelion.days says: I have a freezer full of bones from our half-cow purchase. Does it matter what bones I use for broth? I’m a complete broth newbie but there’s no better time to try!

And Rebeccanorine says: Are there certain bones that are better to use than others?

Alison – you can use any bones. If you want to get your broth particularly gelatinous then using things such as chicken feet and pick trotters can help.

Andrea: Calves feet, hooves, ligamentous joints. ANcestral tradition says if you are having trouble with some part of your body, eat the same part of an animal (ancestral tradition assumes healthy, high-genetic-expression animals). So, you have knee pain? Eat a knee! Make broth from the joint.

Eibarrpatt says: For bone beef broth, which bones are best to use and how many would I need?

Alison – any bones! Pack the bones in tightly to your pot. As an example for a 6 quart slow cooker you would use 2 to 4 pounds of bones packed in tightly. In English that’s a 6 L slow cooker kilogram to 2 kg bones.

Andrea – a rule of thumb I have read is to just cover with water. I have historically always made bones with far more water than the recipe calls for out of frugality. Right now with lots of butchering happening on the farm, I have been doing the “just cover with water” rule, and it does indeed produce a darker, more flavorful broth.


Rivervalleyhomestead says: I would like to know more about broth cook times. Is it different for different animals?

Alison – I don’t think so. Better broth and healing tonic says 20 hours for bone broths. I usually do about 24 hours no matter what the animal is. For meat stock it’s shorter. For example if I would put the whole chicken into the slow cooker I will probably only cook it for 4-5 hours. I think this just because of flavour, in order to stop the meat going dry.

Andrea – follow GAPS recommendations if you need low histamine/glutamine. (4 hr meat stock) Lower and lesser if you want a clear broth, don’t boil, and wash bones well before cooking if you want clear broth. This is more for an aesthetic look. Meat stock is easier to digest than bone broth. I have never washed bones before using. Logically, thin bones can cook for shorter times. Fish bones can be cooked as short as 45 minutes; some fish bones can be cooked for longer, but you should check Google for the specific fish you are cooking because SOME fish release a glue-tasting compound after long cooking. Others can tolerate long cook times. I have only made fish stock once and I cooked it for hours and it was delicious, but I don’t recall what kind of fish it was.

My broths usually follow a pattern of my day. If we eat a bird for dinner, the stock goes on the stove overnight and I turn it off in the morning, and strain it when it’s cool, usually around lunch time. That’s an ideal pattern for me.

Ksflemingwi says: Is it okay to make beef bone broth by roasting the bones and then using an instant pot for the broth – without skimming anything off the top in the process?

And, Agajews says: Do electric pressure cookers work as well as crock pots or a pot on the stove for making broth?

Alison – I don’t have an instant pot, but better broth says to skim first before turning down to slow. I don’t skim.

Andrea –  I have an instant pot but I don’t use it for broth. We do not skim. In Better Broths Cookbook on pages 34 – 35 there are charts showing cook times and steps for using electric slow cookers and pressure cookers. She does not include skimming as part of the instructions, and she says to cook for 45 minutes to 2 hours for bone broths.

Better broths says yes, the crock pots, pressure cookers and stove top are equal options to choose from.

_brittpop says: Is it really necessary to skim the “scum” off the top when making bone broth?

Alison – I do not know the answer to this! I don’t. Better Broths does.

We conclude that skimming is not necessary, and is purely for visual reasons. Neither of us skims our broth.

Chanceosunshine says: How do you get the most flavor in your broth so there’s no temptation to add bases? Do you just keep cooking to reduce the water content?

Alison – use more bones to water. Add carrots, onions, celery, garlic. Add herbs and spices even if it’s just salt-and-pepper.

Andrea – Yes, start with less water. Longer cook times do change the flavour and not always for the better.

Emilypblume says: Can I let my broth simmer for several days? Is there a reason not to do this? Are there nutritional differences/advantages to longer vs. shorter cooking time?

Alison – I don’t know about the nutritional differences apart from the better broth says the longer you leave it the more nutrition and collagen you’ll get but they cap theirs at 20 hours. I have never done more than 27 hours.

Andrea – I don’t know that it improves the nutritional content or not, but I do know I have heard and read many ancestral stories (and heard from descendants) about pots that just simmered for sometimes years and were pulled from and added to. I guess like a sourdough soup. In fact, some restaurants (I have been told) in some countries still have a “sour soup” that they add and take from infinitely. So, I guess somewhere, it happens. I have cooked broth for several days at a time owing to not being able to strain it in time or having anywehre to keep it cold, and sometimes it tastes better and sometimes it doesn’t (can taste like burnt herbs). However it isn’t so staggering a difference as to make me go to great effort to cook it any longer than 24 or so hours.


(Dawn is – or was? yes is!!!- a patron too!) Dawnsuzettesmith says: How to use broth beyond soup/stew and making rice?

And, Elisiaixchelle says: What are fun ways to incorporate broth that are not hot meals?

Alison – better broth and healing tonics has a whole world of recipes including smoothies and a warm latter-day style drinks. Also try other grains!

Andrea – Erin Miller in the Lit Life Podcast group posted a picture of a coffee/church potluck style carafe on her kitchen counter, filled with hot broth. She said it was amazing how much more broth her family consumed with that in easy reach, they kept return for refills! If you are trying to get more broth in your people, this is a great idea. She found her carafe at a thrift store.
Broth made without herbs is a great base for hot chocolate. Then there’s also all the old recipes for aspics and quivering molded gelatins made from gelatinous broths, so you could go to town with putting in sliced veg or eggs or whatever feels right. I have never attempted a broth gelatin mold! I would be willing to do one in a bowl though, I am just scared to dump it out and have it fall apart!

Alison – I like to drink broth in the morning straight warm as my first drink. I sometimes put salt-and-pepper on it. I sometimes mix half a teaspoon of miso into it (it’s delicious). You can infuse herbs into it. You can make hot drinks and cold drinks with it by blending with avocado, nut butters, cream, herbs. There is even some drinks with cacao in in better broths

Elizabethfelderhoff says: Is it best to use dried or fresh herbs in infusions?

Alison – I think dried fine. Better broths infusions or use dried herbs. Just makes you haven’t had too long so that the not out-of-date.

Andrea – if you are using fresh in place of dried in a recipe, you typically need less (volume) of herbs, since fresh is usually more potent. If we have fresh, I use fresh.

Thesuburbanbee says: How to make cold bone broth drinks without it getting too gelatinous?

Alison – try to use bones that are less gelatanous. Water it down. Blend it.

Andrea – Blending would work great. And, not sure if this would work since I have never tried, but maybe adding a little bit of something with bromelaine in it like pineapple? I only remember when I was a kid making Jello that it would never set with pineapple, and I ended up looking it up and discovered that the enzyme was keeping it from gelling. No idea if this would work with real broth.

Emmmurdoch says: Regarding the interview with Jill Sheppard Davenport. In the interview Jill references making broth in 5-10 minutes by quickly throwing in several ingredients such as turmeric. What is her broth making setup at home that she is able to so quickly pull all those ingredients together to make a broth? And when adding herbs to the broth is she using primarily fresh or are there dried varieties that work well?

Alison – she has the broth already made in the fridge and then she is heating up and adding in herbs and spices. The recipes in her book mostly use dried herbs.

Andrea – I do the same thing, but with EO usually not the herbs. I’ll make a bottle for drinking this way. It’s a great drink to send in the car with someone who stops by on a cold day, too!

Christie.russell says: What are the top 5 veggies or herbs you would recommend we include with our bone broth?

Alison – veggies: carrots – onion – celery – garlic. I put them all in without peeling. Herbs whatever you like, whatever you think you need, whatever you fancy. Ginger and tumeric in the winter. Adapter Jens like mushrooms or ashwaganda.

Andrea – depends what we have. RIght now in winter – onion, garlic, carrot, leeks, parsnips. Tops, peels, butts, or sometimes the whole veg.

emmmurdoch (patron!!): I bought a bunch of beef bones from a butcher to make broth and after low simmering for several hours it was more or less flavorless and after refrigerating overnight was barely gelatinous. The question is – when choosing bones for beef broth what are the best options?

Alison – I say you probably had too much water to bones and also that several hours is not enough for bone broth, a day is more like it. Beef bones will not necessarily be gelatinous if you going for gelatin you need to include things like chicken feet and pigs trotters.

Andrea – was the broth salted? Broth doesn’t really always have much actual flavor until you add salt to pull the flavor out, unless there was loads of meat on the bones. In my experience, anyway, broth can taste a bit like dishwater. Adding salt to the broth is like shining a light on a hidden painting and revealing the magic!


Ashleyryan207 says: Is there significant nutrient loss when pressure cooking and/or pressure canning broth than if you cook it slowly and then freeze it?

And Simply.annetta says: Pressure canning vs. freezing.

And Wolfmamaoftwo says: The stumbling block I have is properly storing large quantities of broth. Trying to figure out if canning is better than freezing it.

And Karen.frantz.790 says: My question is also about canning vs. freezing large batches of broth. My in-laws think the canned broth tastes better, but I want to keep it as nutritious as possible.

And Tokarevt30 says: Does pressure canning harm most of the healthful benefits of bone broth?

Andrea – Amanda and I (you met Amanda back on episode 52, homesteading the final frontier!) and I were having a long discussion about this a few weeks ago and we ended up deep diving to find out. What we found is that some of the vitamins can be lost during the process of pressure canning, but the protein and gelatin and collagen in the broth remains. Our conclusion was that if broth is part of your ancestral diet, which would include various vegetables, ferments, animal fats, possibly dairy products and eggs, organs and pieces of meat – all foods rich in diverse vitamins – that the loss of some vitamins from broth would be nominal and fractionally impactful to your diet. The benefit of being able to store and use large quantities of broth conveniently, especially if you don’t have lots of freezer space, and if you NEED the convenience of thawed broth, would far exceed the possible loss of some vitamins. It is far better to use homemade pressure canned broth than to not use broth at all, or to use powdered or store broth.

If you were trying to rehabilitate a patient who was only able to sip broth and had no other foods, you may wish to choose broth that was frozen or even strictly fresh broth. However if the alternative were a store based broth because as a harried caregiver you didn’t have time to keep making and thawing broth, I would give them the home canned broth as the best option!!!

As to the flavour preference, I would say that is up to each person. I like both and to be honest, once I have added herbs and a poached egg, or made beef and barley soup, I couldn’t tell you which is which. My friend Melissa wrote an article about pressure canning broth, and she included links to her tutorials on both making AND canning broth! I will put that in show notes

Does Pressure Canning Ruin Bone Broth – Melissa K. Norris (melissaknorris.com)

For a great book on canning broth including recipes and meals you can put in a jar, check out episode 62, Building Your Pantry with Canning, where we talked to Patron and author Angi Schneider. Her books are in our bookshop, and linked in show notes.

Lisainmagicalwonderland says: How long does a large jar of bone broth last in the fridge? And is it recommended to have just one tablespoon a day?

Alison – if you keep the layer of fat on the top of the jar and don’t disturb it I would say it would last at least 10 days. Once you disturb that layer of fat then air is getting it…last less time maybe a week. I thanks recommended to have more than 1 tablespoon a day, if you can!

Andrea – Sally Fallon even says it can last 6 months under a fat cap. I have actually kept broth for a few months under a thick fat cap; when I found it (the problem with having 3 refrigerators), I thought I had to throw it away – but when I opened it, it smelled delicious! We ate it!


Peregrine_shoppe says: Bone broth quantity in relation to fertility journey.

Alison – as much as possible?!

Andrea – tradition says men should drink fish head broth for fertility. Funny story, our Kenyan neighbours were trying to conceive and we read this about broth so I made them a bunch of it. They got pregnant!

Homelander.homestead says: Which is more beneficial, chicken broth or beef broth?

Alison – all three!

Andrea – whichever one you can get! Whichever one you can access the highest quality bones of!

Alison’s question!! How much protein is in bone broth? Do different meats have different levels? What about meat stock v bone broth?

Reports vary wildly! Depends in collagen in bones. From 5g to 20g per cup. The longer you leave the more protein you get.

Meat stock has a less wide amino acid profile (as it’s cooked less), but it’s easier to digest.

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