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Homemade Bone Broth in a Clay Pot — It’s More Gelatinous

Store broth is not as delicious, nutritious or gelatinous as homemade. If you do find homemade broth for sale, it is expensive — $10 or more per quart.

I’ll share three ways I like to make my broth. They range from simple to more medicinal. I encourage you to customize broth to your liking.

Healing power of homemade broth

Homemade bone broth is rich in collagen and minerals. It can be useful for:

  • building bones, boosting the immune system, healing the gut and aiding digestion
  • helping during illness and the recovery period afterward
  • strengthening weakened or weaker body constitution individuals
  • aiding sports recovery

You can sip your broth

  • a mid-morning boost
  • with your meals
  • after a workout

or use it in cooking

  • soup base
  • cooking liquid for rice, grains, lentils, etc.
  • braising liquid for vegetables and meats
  • a liquid ingredient for mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, etc.

How much to consume?

A general recommendation is 1-2 cups per day for maintenance — more in times of stress and illness. However, you’re unique, so always listen to your body.

Years ago, I saw a functional nutritionist for “a mid life tune-up”. One of her key recommendations for me was 2 cups of bone broth per day.

What cookware is best?

I’ve been making bone broth for about 15 years. I started with stock pots and crock pots. I eventually got into pressure cookers. Recently I was introduced to clay pots. Broth turns out great with all of these methods, but clay clearly produces the most gelatinous, best tasting broth.

Gelatinous broth is considered a sign of nutrient density. Using the same ingredients as I do in regular cookware, my clay pot broth is surprisingly firmer. Also, with clay I can produce three batches of gelatinous broth from the same bones, instead of just two.

Monica Corrado writes about The Dark Side of Bone Broth — the long cooking time of bone broth can produce too much glutamic acid for some people with serious gut issues. Because clay cooks broth much quicker than a stockpot, I suspect clay would produce less glutamaic acid.

A pressure cooker is fast and convenient, but both Chinese and Indian traditions advise to cook meat low and slow.

Some people are weary of clay because they are afraid clay can contain heavy metals. Based on speaking with Miriam and the testing report posted on her website, I believe she has the most non-toxic clay pots available.

I would love to see more scientific studies on bone broth in various types of cookware. However the USDA and other government agencies don’t seem to fund them.

Recipe

Homemade Bone Broth in a Clay Pot — It’s More Gelatinous

Three easy recipes for making bone broth in a clay pot. Broth made in a clay pot is more flavorful and gelatinous than broth made in crockpots, stockpots, and pressure cookers.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Resting Time1 hr
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins
Keyword: clay cookware, clay recipe, top post
Servings: 16 cups
Calories: 50kcal

Equipment

  • Fully seasoned clay pot – a pot becomes fully seasoned after it's initial seasoning AND it's been used 6-8 times to make moist vegetarian dishes such as rice and oatmeal; if it's not fully seasoned, it may crack if used in this recipe
  • Heat diffuser or SimmerMat – always necessary, even on a gas stove because of the long cooking time
  • Spoon

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs chicken, beef, bison, pork, lamb, or goat bones see Notes at bottom of recipe
  • 4 quarts water enough to completely cover the bones; filtered water, bottled spring water and clean well water are best

Classic Broth

  • 1-2 celery stalks halved
  • 1-2 carrots cut into large pieces, peeled (peelings can be bitter)
  • 1 large onion cut into large chunks, unpeeled,
  • 1 tsp peppercorns whole
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic unpeeled, smashed
  • 1-2 inches ginger pealed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt optional, to taste

Turmeric Broth

  • 1 large onion unpeeled, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large carrot cut into large pieces, peeled (peelings can be bitter)
  • 2 cloves garlic unpeeled, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder (or 1" fresh finely grated); tumeric acts as antibacterial cleanser, germ killer, and germ repellent; it also reduces the meaty smell; warning, turmeric will stain surfaces yellow
  • 1 tsp salt optional, to taste

Broth with Turmeric Rub

  • ½ tsp turmeric powder (or 1" fresh finely grated); tumeric acts as antibacterial cleanser, germ killer, and germ repellent; it also reduces the meaty smell; warning, turmeric will stain surfaces yellow
  • 2-4 cloves garlic split; 2 for meat rub + 2 for sauteing
  • 1-4 inches ginger split; 1-2 for meat rub + 1-2 for sauteing
  • 1 med onion for sauteing
  • 2 whole cloves non-irradiated (organic); for broth water
  • 1 stick cinnamon non-irradiated (organic); for broth water
  • 2 pieces cardamom whole; non-irradiated (organic); for broth water
  • 1 tsp peppercorn whole; non-irradiated (organic); for broth water
  • 1 tsp chili powder non-irradiated (organic); fresh chilis can also be used

Instructions

First batch

  • Wash bones and vegetables
    No need to dry them when using a clay pot.
  • If making Broth with Turmeric Rub, rub turmeric mixture on bones
    Finely cut/grate ginger, garlic and turmeric (if fresh).
    Grind ginger, garlic and turmeric to a coarse paste with a motor and pestle. A mini blender also work.
    Rub bones with paste and let them sit for 10-15 minutes.
    Ginger and garlic can be omitted; However it improves taste and is balancing for most people. It also reduces cholesterol or rather transfers cholesterol into an edible and nutriently manageable state. 
  • Saute bones
    Classic Broth and Turmeric Broth
    Roasting is optional. If using raw bones, roasting will greatly improve the broth's flavor.
    How to saute in a clay pot
    Add 1 tablespoon of water + 1 tablespoon of oil. Less oil is needed in a clay pot. Remember to use heat diffuser or SimmerMat.
    Add onion, ginger and garlic into a cold pot, turn the heat to medium, and cover. No need to preheat the pot. Depending on how you will be using the broth, the ginger and garlic may be omitted.
    Saute mixture on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. With clay you stir less often. After you stir, put the lid back on the pot.
    Add bones, continue to saute on a slightly reduced heat for 5-7 minutes.
    When a delicious aroma fills your kitchen, you're done.
  • Add water to cover bones
    No need to add an acid such as apple cider vinegar or lemon. The clay's unique form of heat is capable of bringing out all the nutrients without acid.
  • Bring to boil
    Bring to boil on medium heat.
  • Skim
    Use a spoon to remove any scum (impurities) rising to the surface.
  • Add aromatics
    Add remaining ingredients and customize to your liking.
  • Cook
    Start on low for 10 minutes, then increase to medium heat and cook till you see steam escaping from the pot. Reduce back to low and cook till done.
    Examples — chicken broth
    For ~8 cups of broth in a medium clay pot, it would take about 50 minutes (10 minutes low, 30 minutes medium, 10 minutes low).
    For ~14 cups of broth in a large clay pot, it would take about 1.5 hours (10 minutes low, 60 minutes medium, 20 minutes low).
    Examples — beef broth
    For ~8 cups of broth in a medium clay pot, it would take about 50 minutes (10 minutes low, ?? minutes medium, 10 minutes low).
    For ~14 cups of broth in a large clay pot, it would take about 3 hours (10 minutes low, ?? minutes medium, 20 minutes low).
  • Test for doneness
    You will know when the broth is complete when you see meat on the bones fully cooked and falling off, also the bones will be much softer and you'll be able to break chicken bones in half easily with your hands.
    If a pinch of turmeric was added, chicken bones will now hold the stain (turn from white to light yellow).
    Overcooking: The broth can become bitter or have off-flavors.
    Under-cooking: You won't have all the nutrients (and flavor) that you could have had.
  • Cool
    Let the pot cool naturally on the stove for ~60 minutes. As it cools nutrients are still becoming one with the broth.
  • Strain
    Strain to a heat proof container — not plastic.
    You may want to double strain (first strain with a colander, then strain with a fine strainer). After I strain into a colander, I squeeze what remains in the colander with my hands to get more broth and flavor out.
    You might find some delicious meat still on the bones, pick it off and use it. If you see soft marrow in the marrow bones, scoop it out. I use the handle of a piece of silverware to remove marrow. Marrow can be enjoyed on toast or blended into a soup.
  • Store and use
    If not using the broth right away, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. The broth will keep nicely for a few days in the refrigerator. You'll notice a layer of fat which rises to the surface and solidifies when the broth is cooled. This acts as an airlock seal for the broth . With this seal undisturbed, your broth will stay fresh longer — about a week in your refrigerator. For this reason, it would be better to store your broth in two quart mason jars, than one ½ gallon mason jars. The fat can be used like any other cooking fat. If drinking the broth, you will want the fat removed.
    Broth can also be frozen for later use — just be sure to use a freezer safe container and leave some expansion room at the top (about an inch).

Subsequent batches

  • Dry the pot if necessary
    If it looks like the clay has taken in too much water, dry the empty pot out on the stove on low for 5 minutes before beginning the next batch.
  • Remove bones from previous batch
    Try not to get any vegetables, herbs or spices. If overcooked, these can make the next batch bitter.
  • Repeat First Batch instruction
    Start at step 2.
    Classic Broth and Turmeric Broth
    No need to saute the bones again.
    Broth with Turmeric Rub
    Saute the bones on a lower heat and for a longer time (~15-17 minutes) than initially.
  • Test for doneness
    Subsequent batches take less time than the first batch — minerals have already started their way out of the bones.
    You can taste test the broth for doneness. Subsequent batches will have a less intense flavor. This broth is perfect for making rice or something where the flavor isn't as important.

Use a fully seasoned clay pot

Use a heat diffuser or SimmerMat

Ingredient information

Use the best bones possible

Talk to your farmers, butchers, etc. — you can learn a lot from them. If you don’t see something you’re looking for, they still might be able to get it for you.

It’s best to use a mixture of bones

  • meat
  • cartilage (joint bones) – chicken feet & heads (and to a lessor extend wings & necks); beef knuckles & oxtail (and to a lessor extend shanks & short ribs)
  • marrow – beef femur & shank

The meat bones give the broth flavor, the cartilage bones cause the broth to gel, and the marrow bones are packed with minerals.

Healthwise:

  • Nutrients found in cartilage may be helpful for joint issues.
  • Minerals are concentrated in their marrow and blood and stem cells are produced in the marrow. Marrow has been traditionally valued for it’s life-giving, reproduction-enhancing, and brain-building abilities. Some nutritionists recommend marrow bones to cancer patient undergoing chemo.

Try to obtain the bones from pastured raised (where you know how the animals have been raised) or wild animals. The quality of the bones determines how the broth performs.

Use the bones from the meat you’ve already cooked. You can store the bones in a your freezer until you need them.

Is it OK to use mixed bones?

Yes, and it can be simpler. Often a pig’s foot (or trotter) is added to broth — it makes the broth very gelatinous. However, if using the broth for a gourmet sauce, where you want to enhance the flavor of the meat, use bones from the same animal.

My bones don’t fit in my pot

A butcher saw can be very helpful. I can easily saw bones such as pig’s feet, but I need someone to hold the bone while I saw.

Vegetables, herbs & spices

Vegetables and herbs add flavor, color, and lots of important minerals.

Other vegetables can be added as well (parsnips, tomatoes, pepper, greens, leeks, celeriac, parsley). Making broth can be an excuse to clean out your refrigerator – but don’t go extreme. Some people freeze onion skins, carrot tops, and other unwanted pieces of vegetables and later use them in broth. Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, Brussels sprout, broccoli) might give too strong of a flavor.

If a little spice is good, can I add more?

Maybe. The quantities specified have been successfully used by many and are likely “balanced”. Too much of a specific herb or spice may make the broth bitter.

Problem solving

Broth doesn’t gel

  • Enough cartilage bones? Try 30%.
  • Too much water?
  • Too much heat? Too much, too long can break down the structure of the proteins and effect gelling.
  • Bones simmered too long or not long enough?

Learn more

Variations

Astragalus Bone Broth — Some nutritionists recommend adding astragalus to your broth pot for cancer patient undergoing chemo. They emphasize adding a medicinal quantity of astragalus, not just a few pieces.

Blum & Bru Broths — Sells packages of nourishing tonic herbs for broths — $14 each. Many of the packages contain turmeric and ginger which the above recipes use. The Immuni-Qi package is very similar to the above astragalus bone broth recipe.

Fish stock — Some prefer fish stock in the summer and bone broth in the fall and winter. Fish is lighter (and easier to digest) than chicken or beef, so perhaps that’s why it’s more of a summer food. Cure Tooth Decay: Heal And Prevent Cavities With Nutrition by Ramiel Nagel specially calls out fish stock as better for healing cavities than bone broth.

Vegetable broth and Immune Boosting Herb Broth — two easy recipes by Miriam Kattumuri

Blog posts

The Healing Powers of Bone Broth! — learn how beneficial bone broth can be; Christa Orecchio interviews Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D.; Kellyann is a bestselling author, including two books on bone broth

Is it correct that MEC can be used for slow cooking taking only half the time?Miriam Kattumuri provides a brief explanation of the hows and whys of cooking bone broth in a clay pot

Videos

How to Make Roast Chicken Bone Broth for Pennies a Jar – Bone Broth Recipe

How To Make Stovetop Beef Bone Broth

How to Make Keto Bone Broth with Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices

Special thanks & sources

Miriam Kattumuri  

Dr. Kalpna Ranadive

Nourishing Broth: an Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T Daniel — science, healing abilities and recipes

Dosa Kitchen: Recipes for India’s Favorite Street Food by Nash Patel and Leda Scheintaub — Turmeric Broth recipe

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