I’m super lazy about cooking.
But, I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from making nourishing foods that keep me on the right path of supporting optimal health, balance and ease in my body. Food is medicine.
It’s that tension between not wanting to spend too much time in the kitchen, but knowing the importance of good food that compelled me to buy a pressure cooker. I like the Instant Pot because I saw such good reviews, it’s canister is stainless steel (no leaching chemicals in your food) and it just felt like the right purchase 😉
Bone broth, being one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, is one of the things that I try to make weekly, but it take sooo long on the stove. I want to get as much out of bones as possible, so that means about a 48-72hrs slow cook in a huge stock pot. When I heard I could do it in the Instant Pot in about 4 hrs (longer is good, too), I was sold! There is some evidence that the shorter pressure cooker time results in less histamine production for those with histamine intolerance, but that doesn’t negate the benefit of doing it old school on the stove, as has been done forever and ever.
If you’re squeemish about working with bones, that probably means you’d benefit from doing it. There is nothing more real than getting comfortable with the animal portion of your diet. Traditionally, we used the entire animal, honoring it’s ability to feed us and improved our health substantially in the process. I explain more about that here.
(The picture below includes the sealing toggle, which needs to be where you see it once you start the process)
I usually make chicken bone broth because….it’s faster. There’s a theme here 🙂 But, because the Instant Pot can do things in shorter time, I tried my hand at beef broth, which is richer and provides a slightly different nutritional profile to chicken broth. Know that you can mix bones of different animals – there are no rules!
I started with about 3.5lbs of pastured beef bones. This is a mixture of marrow bones and soup bones. Just get what you can.
Put them in a roasting pan and roast in the oven on 375 for about an hour. I find that I can usually take it out at the 45min mark, but ovens can vary. You don’t have to roast them for broth, but I find that I don’t like the flavor when the bones weren’t first roasted. I don’t ever roast chicken bones first because the broth is so tasty when I start with raw chicken bones.
Once its’s done roasting, put them in the pot and fill with water to the 3L mark. Add about 3Tbs of raw apple cider vinegar. This helps extract the minerals from the bones. If you have time, let this sit for 20-30min before starting the cooker to let the vinegar get a head start.
It’s OK if the bones aren’t fully covered. They will be eventually. If you fill too close to the max line, when you vent the Instant Pot before opening, liquid will come out of the vent, which is minimal and totally fine, but can cause a small mess.
Set the pot on high by pressing “Manual” and taking time to 120min (the max) by pressing the (-) button. It’s faster than going up to 120 🙂
While that’s doing it’s thing, right before it’s finished, I get my veggies ready. Since it’s a pressure cooker, you get more out of less veggies and you don’t want it to get too bitter. Here, I used about 1/2 onion, 2 celeray stalks, 3 smaller carrots, 2 garlic cloves and a bay leaf. I also added about 1Tbs of dried thyme.
I do not salt the broth while cooking, I salt to taste when I use it in recipes or drink it alone.
To make your broth even MORE medicinal, try some of these extras:
Dried medicinal mushrooms that you can find in health food stores – shiitake (2 are shown below), maitake, turkey tail, cremini, etc. These are powerful immune system boosters.
Seaweed, also found in health food stores – kelp, wakame or kombu (shown top right) is what I usually use, but play around! These add good amounts of minerals, especially iodine, which is best obtained from natural sources (skip the iodized salt!). You don’t need much seaweed because the cooker will extract it all. You can always drop a small peice of seaweed in soups, stews, rice before you cook it, etc and pull it out when it’s done. It adds a mild delicious flavor and a touch of natural salt.
If you’re into medicinal herbs like nettles, astragalus or ashwaganda, those work well in broth. You can also put a small peice of ginger or turmeric if inspired.
Once 2hrs is up on the cooker, vent it, open and add the veggies.
Once they’re in, close and seal. Time it again for 120min.
Some folks go another 2hr round (making it 6hrs total), which will darken the broth even more, but color isn’t as important as the gelatin extraction, which happens in spades after 4hrs and I just leave it at that. In the future, I may just go 6hrs for fun.
Once it’s done, I get my wide mouth canning jars (you can use any glass container, but these work well). I use a small strainer and scoop the liquid in with a large measuring cup or ladle.
There will be fat in the liquid, which will rise to the top of the jar and solidify after you refrigerate it. This makes an excellent “seal” and will actually help the broth keep longer in the fridge. Once you go to use the broth, the fat breaks easily and you can pull it out. You can then use it in cooking.
Now, the gold is below – a perfectly gelled broth full of minerals, collagen/gelatin, digestive system soothers, detoxifiers, liver and bone supporters. The amino acids in bone broth help balance out our diets and reduce inflammation. Plus, it’s super tasty and will add so much more oomph to any recipes requiring broth. You can also cook rice in it (I usually use chicken bone broth for that, but diluted beef broth would be good too) or splash some in my sauteed veggies.
I also used it in my oxtail recipe.
Have fun creating your own style of broth by mixing bones of chicken and beef or bison and other wild game and by using different herbs.
Feel empowered in your ability to do something at home that feeds your body and our soul. It’s good stuff.