So you took the plunge and made the investment in your health and the planet's by purchasing organic produce. Good for you! However, if you are anything like me, you are now hearing "cha-ching!" every time a carrot peel or bell pepper top hits the garbage bag or compost bucket. Suddenly the tops of the green onions have presidents faces on them and how in the world do you throw out perfectly good money? Never mind that you don't actually eat parsley stems- you still paid a pretty penny for them. So as of right now, stop throwing out your veggie scraps and start freezing them! Once the freezer bag is full you have the means to make a pretty wicked bone broth.
Bone broth is as simple as simmering bones in water with some veggies. The bones can be from any animal you typically eat: fish, beef, poultry, game, or lamb. The bone marrow makes the broth beneficial for healthy blood cells and also strengthens the immune system. (Think homemade chicken noodle soup when you are sick- and I'm not talking about Campbell's, blah!) Bone broth is also incredibly anti-inflammatory, especially for joints and digestive disorders. Consider these benefits null and void, however, if you use conventional meat bones or farmed fish. Toxins accumulate in the fat of animals and in the bone marrow. That will not be wicked bone broth. That will just be nasty.
You can find safe bones at Whole Foods, local co-ops and natural farms (check out Local Harvest for places like these in your area). If the bones are just not in your budget, don't worry, this is still a pretty wicked veggie broth.
I do this in the crock pot because, well, the number of things that could go wrong in my house with leaving the stove on for 24 hours is too numerous to list. You can also forget about it until the next day without stirring it or worrying that it will boil over.
In a 7 quart slow cooker I add in my bag of frozen veggie scraps (must be organic due to pesticides residing mostly in the skins and peels of produce), bones, filtered water to cover, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a teaspoon or two of salt. The acidity of the vinegar helps draw out the minerals from the bones into the stock. Let this sit for about an hour without turning on the crock pot.
If your slow cooker has a timed shut-off mechanism make sure to set an alarm for when you need to reprogram it. It does need to cook for 18 to 24 hours. I always do the full day.
After 24 hours you have a pot of interesting slop but once you get all the crap out of the broth, it is quite tasty.
To drain the stock, I place a cheesecloth-lined colander in a stock pot in the sink. Pour the stock, veggies and bones into the colander and then twist the ends of the cheesecloth together, lift it up to let the last of the broth drip into the stock pot. (Do I need to mention that this will be hot?) Discard/compost the slop and let the stock cool for thirty minutes to an hour in the pot. Ladle into mason jars and store in the freezer if not using within the week. And yes, it really is this easy.
I realize it is like 80-something degrees outside and I am sharing a broth recipe but it really is versatile. I like to store it in different sized jars for different purposes. It is great in stir-fry sauces, cool summer cucumber soups, cooking rice and quinoa instead of plain water, and even drinking warm to help with digestive issues. This last batch yielded 12 cups. The beef bones I used were from Whole Foods and cost $4 and some change. The veggie scraps would have gone into the heap anyway so you are looking at about $5 for 12 cups of stock. And not just any stock but bone broth with added health benefits you won't find in your grocery store and certainly not at this price.
So stop throwing money out and start saving those veggies scraps to make your own wicked batch of bone broth. Wishing you safe, cheap and happy cooking!