Slow Cooker Beef Broth

 

slow cooker beef broth

 

I clearly remember when my practitioner asked me to include homemade stock in my daily diet. I felt intimidated; it seemed like such a daunting task. Although I had been cooking for quite some time, every time a recipe called for stock or broth, I would buy the “healthiest, most organic” option I could find.

Once I made broth and saw how incredibly easy it actually was, and when I learned of all the health benefits, I could not believe this is something that most of us no longer do regularly. Now, there is always broth in our freezer!

I wanted to share this little story, to encourage those of you that are new to Paleo or new to making broth, to give it a try!

I consider homemade broth as my secret ingredient now. I could not believe the difference in recipes that I once made with store-bought broth. These meals are much richer and more flavorful with homemade broth.

Stocks and broths are used in almost all traditional cuisines. Even Americans made stock regularly for a long time, chances are some of our mothers and most of our grandmothers are very familiar with this practice.

 

Health Benefits of Homemade Broth

Bone broth is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that we can consume. It is rich in collagen, gelatin, amino acids and many minerals. The calcium in bone broth is in a form that is very easy for the body to absorb and digest.

Research and observation of traditional cultures have taught us that gelatin has many benefits including improving digestion and soothing the GI Tract. In addition, it has been found to build strong cartilage and bones and it has benefits for the skin, immune system and heart. It is a true superfood! That’s why grandma always made us soup when we felt under the weather!

Unfortunately, store-bought broth does not offer these same benefits, as it is usually not made with real gelatin, but uses emulsifiers instead, and many use artificial flavors. Luckily, homemade broth is very easy to make.

 

Storing Broth

Fresh broth will keep in the refrigerator for several days and it can be frozen for a very long time. I usually use mine within a few months. I use these wide-mouth, freezer safe mason jars to store mine. I don’t can them. I just use these glass jars for storage containers because they are freezer safe. When you fill them up, leave a little room at the top, as the broth will expand when it freezes.

And many of you already know, I am a little obsessed with chalkboard paint. This stuff really makes my life so much easier! I paint the lids of my mason jars with chalkboard paint and use this chalk ink pen (which is way better than regular chalk!) to mark the type of broth or soup it is.

I also like to freeze broth in muffin tins. This is great to use in the slow cooker or for sauces. You can see how I do that in this post.

 

Tips

  • I have listed all of the vegetables as optional in this recipe. Roasting bones and adding vegetables to broth make it more flavorful. But, if you are in a hurry, you only need 3 things – bones, filtered water and vinegar.
  • The vinegar helps extract the nutrients from the bones.
  • If you have time, I recommend roasting the bones for better flavor. If not, just throw your bones in to the slow cooker with filtered water and apple cider vinegar. It will still turn out great!
  • If you see any oxtail at the market, grab it up! It makes really gelatinous broth. You can pick off the cooked meat and eat it too! It’s delicious!

 

Slow Cooker Beef Broth Recipe

Equipment
Slow Cooker – I use and love this one!

Ingredients
3-4 lbs. beef bones
Filtered water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I use this one)
onions, carrots, celery – coarsely chopped (optional)
a few sprigs of thyme (optional)
bay leaf (optional)

  1. (Optional) Preheat oven to 450°F. Place the bones in a roasting pan and roast uncovered for 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the bones to the slow cooker. Add the vegetables, thyme, bay leaf.
  3. Add enough water to cover the bones. Add apple cider vinegar.
  4. Cook on low for 8-24 hours.
  5. Remove all vegetables and bones, and put broth through a strainer.
  6. Refrigerate overnight. The fat will have solidified by the next day; remove it and discard or reserve for another use.
  7. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Refrigerate broth and use within a few days or freeze.

 

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Comments

  1. Michelle says

    Thank you for this recipe .. it looks super easy! I have a question on the time, though … 8-24 hours is a pretty big span. What are we looking for, for it to be “done?” I’ve read so many bone broth recipes that have simmer for quite a long time … how do we know when it is ready?

    • admin says

      From what I understand, you get more nutrients out of the bones as they simmer longer. When I take mine out, usually depends on when I feel like dealing with it. If it’s been going all day, I will usually restart the slow cooker and let it cook until morning. I have found that with this longer cook time, my broth tends to be more gelatinous. So, technically you can use it after 8 hours. But, I turn my slow cooker off based on convenience.

  2. heather z says

    So you can your broth? I just got in to canning, do you have to pressure can stock/broth? I don\\’t pressure cook

    • admin says

      I should have clarified better. I don’t can it. I just use the jars for storage. I just fill them up and freeze it.

      • Jen says

        How do these work? Do you have to set them in the freezer uncovered and then put the lids on after they freeze?

        Also, are beef shanks good for making broth? Or what kind of bones do you use? I want to make beef broth for the first time–it seems so intimidating, though, even though I’ve made chicken stock for years!

        • admin says

          Hi Jen! Those are all great questions. Once they have cooled in the fridge and I have scraped off the fat, I just fill up mason jars (leaving room at the top), screw on the lids and freeze. Beef shanks actually make great broth, and you can pick off the meat and use that for a meal. I use any bones that are available, but marrow bones and oxtail bones also make a delicious broth. Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!

    • admin says

      Hi Nicole! Great question. We are part of a beef CSA, so we just get a bags of “soup bones” … but, any bones will work. You can ask your local butcher, they should have bags of leftover bones for making broth. Hope that helps! If you can’t find bags of bones, oxtail makes great broth.

  3. Brian says

    If you are lucky enough to use grassfed bones, I would definitely say save that fat! Its high quality tallow and perfect for frying.

    • admin says

      Hi Amber… I usually do 1 onion (quartered), 2 carrots (peeled and cut into large chunks), 2 stalks celery (cut into large chunks) … Hope that helps!