How to make and can bone broth

How to make and can bone broth

If you asked me what our family's most important, most healing, most nourishing food is I would answer without hesitation. Bone broth.

Rich, long-simmered, nutrient-rich bone broth.

I make a batch weekly and we drink it by the mug-full, cook vegetables or meat in it, and transform it into soups and stews once or twice a week.

Made with kitchen scraps and bones of any sort, we strive to eat a serious amount of this every week. When we're sick or wrestling with tooth decay or food sensitivities we up the quantity to 1 quart per day for adults and 1 pint per day for kids. That's a lot of broth!

How to make and can bone broth

And sometimes it's nice to make a huge batch and tuck it away for late use. Normally I freeze stock in quarts but taking most of a day to thaw a jar of stock requires forethought that I don't always have.

Plus I'm a master at breaking jars with this method, so. You know. Running low on jars after a while.

Enter the pressure canner.

Pressure canning stock is the easiest way to get started with your pressure canner. It's a no-brainer of a formula, and if you're nervous about using your pressure canner it's the idea first batch. 

It took me a while to build my courage for this kitchen experiment, but after I got a friend hooked on broth she returned the favor by getting me hooked on pressure canning it. It was easier than I thought, and the luxury of not having to thaw broth every two days? It's genius.

How to make and can bone broth

Ready to give it a go? Here's how.

First, let's make some stock.

What kind? That's entirely up to you. Fish, chicken, lamb, beef, venison – anything goes!

While the jars in the photos below are lamb stock, chicken is even more common around here.

How to make and can bone broth

Basic Bone Broth Recipe

It's so. Darn. Easy. And delicious. (Really!) Here's how to make 1/2 gallon or more in four easy steps.

1. Save any bones from your weekly meals in a bag in the freezer. Fish, chicken, turkey, duck, beef, venison, lamb, beef… you get the idea. You can also purchase bones inexpensively at your local grocery or coop. Throughout the week add any carrot and celery trims, onion ends and peels, and garlic trims to the bag.

2. On stock making day transfer your bag of bones and vegetable scraps to a slowcooker or large soup pot. Add an extra head of garlic cut in half across the cloves (don't bother peeling or separating cloves) and a small onion or carrot if your veggie scraps aren't abundant. No need to chop or peel anything. Just toss them in whole.

How many bones and how much vegetables should you add? It's adaptable. For chicken stock aim for one chicken carcass, one medium onion, one celery stalk and one medium carrot as a good place to start for an average (8-12 quart) stock pot.

Add twelve peppercorns, one bay leaf and (optional) one 2" knob of ginger root, cut in half and smashed with the blunt end of a knife.

3. Cover everything with water and add 2 Tb apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is important. It helps extract the minerals for the bones into the broth, which it what we're after. Set aside for one hour while the vinegar starts to work it's way into the bones.

4. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook covered on very low heat. Leave on low heat for 24 hours for small bones (chicken and fish) and 48 hours or more for large (cut beef, lamb, or venison bones). Add water as needed. You can begin drawing off your stock and replacing what you take with water after just six hours. But the longer you simmer the more mineral rich your broth will be.

How to make and can bone broth

Now it's time to can!

Fill your quart or pint jars to within 1" of the rim. Dip a cotton cloth or paper towel in white vinegar and wipe the rim of your jars. This will ensure a clean rim and a good seal. You can also use water but I'm partial to the vinegar trick.

Put your lids in a pot of just boiled water to soften the rings. (If you are buying new lids this season check the box label. The newest BPA-free lids on the market you skip this step for.)

Top your jars with lids and screw on rings "finger tight". (If you are unsure how tight that is simply tighten the rings fully, the loosen approximately 1/2".

How to make and can bone broth

Meanwhile, heat approximately 3" – 4" of water in your pressure canner. (Unlike a water bath canner you don't submerge your jars fully in a pressure canner. The steam pressure does the work this time, not the simmering water.) Add a splash of vinegar if you have hard water to prevent minerals from coating the outside of your jars.

When your jars are full and lidded and the canner is simmering, it's time to load up! Affix the lid on your canner but don't engage your weight yet.

Watch your canner. When a plume of steam escapes from the valve set a timer for 10 minutes. Keep the heat on under your canner. (Waiting for the steam plume to start in earnest can take an additional 5 – 15 minutes.)

How to make and can bone broth

When your timer goes off it's time to apply the pressure! Set your weight to 10 lbs of pressure. Keep the heat on and when the weight begins to rattle set your timer. How long you maintain pressure depends on your jar sizes:

Quarts: 25 minutes

Pints: 20 minutes

I always adjust the heat so that my weight is rattling on and off every few seconds rather than a constant rattle that makes me think my pressure canner might explode at any moment. You don't want long gaps between rattles, but two to three seconds is great.)

When your timer goes off turn off the burner. Don't you open the canner! Don't even try. And don't quick-cool the lid by draping a damp towel over it. Just leave it be. Seriously. Otherwise you're fixing for an exploding broth disaster. For. Real.

Allow your canner to cool for 45 minutes or more, then remove the weight and carefully remove the lid.

How to make and can bone broth

Use a jar lifted to carefully remove your jars and place them on a towel to cool. Oh, and they will likely still be boiling away inside the jars, a bizarre sight to behold on the counter top.

If you are using Tattler BPA-free lids, then using a hot pad for each hand, tighten your rings and allow the jars to cool for four hours. If you are using regular lids, simply remove and leave the lids be.

After four hours check that your lids have sealed by pushing down on the center of the lid. If the lid is sucked down it is sealed. If not transfer to the fridge and use within a week or transfer to wide-mouth pints filled 3/4 full and freeze.

Allow the sealed jars to sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

After 12 hours remove rings, double-check that the lids are tightly sealed, label and transfer to your pantry.

You did it! Take a bow.

18 thoughts on “How to make and can bone broth

  1. Tina A says:

    I just made bone broth over the weekend and it is currently in a crock in the fridge, awaiting preservation. I was planning to freeze it, but after reading this, I think i’ll be brave and try to pressure can it. Since the broth is cold, would I just heat it back up and can as per your directions? Thanks.

  2. Kristina says:

    I inherited my mother’s pressure cooker (she was about to toss it and my sister said, “I think Kristina wants one!”). It has a dial that tracks the pressure. For mine, you wait for the cooker to depressurize on it’s own, then continue with the process, instead of a set amount of time.

    I too love pressure canning. Actually, I love canning in all its forms. It makes me feel connected to all the women who came before me. I feel the same way about hanging clothes on the line, but that’s a different subject.

    I started making bone broth a few years ago. I, too, started out freezing it, because that was the method suggested by the woman I learned from. I also didn’t have a pressure canner at that time. I ran into three problems with freezing it. The one you already mentioned of broken jars, forgetting to thaw it, and a fear of loss of power. Yes, I have a separate freezer. Yes, I use it extensively, especially for fruit, but I prefer to can as much as possible since we have a lot of power failures here.

    Thanks for sharing the joy.

  3. tamika says:

    I’m so over freezing broth. No matter how much head space I leave and if I leave lid off…they always explode/Crack my jars. I wanted to pressure can my broth instead of using the crock but my cooker is aluminum so not safe. Thinking of buying a pressure cooker and then canning it with my pressure canner. Oh, and deer bones are considered unsafe in Wi from what I have heard…I wanted to use them and everyone freaked out.

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    Why would deer bones be unsafe in WI? Because of CWD? I think you would need to consider what zone you are hunting in but CWD-safe should be okay. (Unless Im missing something.)

  5. Lauren says:

    I like to freeze my BB in ice cube trays. The small cubes are great for cooking and can easily be frozen in a freezer bag.

  6. Emma says:

    Great post, thanks! Just wondering if it is OK to use this method if the broth has fat in it? Often times our lamb broth has a fair bit of fat on it, (which we like!) and I’ve seen that when canning meat you don’t want fat for some reason…. what do you reckon? Canning is not so popular here in NZ but I’m really keen to get into it, great to have a non-electric storage method available.

  7. Tatiana says:

    I am wondering about the 48 hour long simmer time. I have a friend who is big into the Weston Price Foundation who tried to convince me that everything you want in the bone broth comes out in a 4 hour simmer. We use an electric stove, so I worry about electric bills with I make my broth over 2 nights. Any thoughts on this?

  8. KC says:

    This was a great tutorial Rachel! Thank you. I don’t have a pressure canner but I think I will get one now. Especially since it uses so little water. Makes more sense than water bath canning in the desert.

  9. Barb says:

    I was wondering if you had processing times for 2 quart jars. I bought a huge canner and I would like to do the bone broth in bigger jars, but I don’t know how long to do them. I live at an elevation under 1000 feet. I hope you can help me with this or maybe suggest a site or person that could.
    Thanks, Barb

  10. Valerie says:

    Hi Barb, If you haven’t already discovered your answer, Use 10 pounds of pressure. For pints, its 20 minutes, and quarts its 25 minutes. 2 quart jars are not a common size, but I would think that 35 minutes should be good.

  11. Joan says:

    I love to make broth also. I save all my egg shells, crushed, in a bag in the freezer and use them as well as bones, skin etc. I steam most of my veggies and place the liquid in 6 quart Tupperware containers in the door of my freezer to be used as part of my liquid when cooking the broth. I then proceed as you do. After straining, I store in fridge a day or so until the fat can be removed. Just the two of us so store in freezer in one or two cup plastic or yogurt containers. Quick thaw and no breakage.

  12. D says:

    Have you used an Instant Pot for making your bone broth? I absolutely love it!! Bone broth in 2 hours!! Thanks for the great article. Ordered my All American pressure canner and it should be here on Wednesday. Can’t wait to get started.

  13. D says:

    We have a small freezer which is now half full of my wife’s bone broth. I’m reluctant to buy a separate freezer because of the environmental costs. I would rather just can her bone broth using my pressure canner. However, she is concerned that the high temperatures (over 212 degrees) will degrade or destroy the gelatin (collagen) in the broth, which she depends on for healing a medical condition.

    I have read a lot of anecdotal comments on the Internet with various opinions about this, but does anyone know of any scientific answer? Does pressure canning destroy the collagen?

  14. D says:

    You have great suggestions. I do question a few things and if you can please correct me if im wrong that would be wonderful. First you state to set the pressure to 10 pounds. Well that’s all fine and wonderful if you are at sea level or somewhere close to it (see instructions on pressure cooker) it also states to not let it just jiggle around every two to three seconds it should jiggle no more than 3-4 times in a minute (again see pressure cooker instructions). It also states that once the temp finally reads 0 degrees THEN remove weight wait (im guessing at this one but feel pretty good about it) 5 minutes then open the lid. The reason for not waiting some crazy amount of time is that if you do its possible that your lid can vacuum and not allow you to open it. You’ll need to find some special tool to wedge it open (clearly ive done this but followed instructions in instruction manual) Your instructions could be accurate for you depending upon how old your cooker is or what brand it is. Mine is newer. It’s an All American. I only throw my 2 cents in not to make you feel upset or to question idea but to caution you for such blanket instructions. Have users read their manuals and can per those directions. Your idea is FAB!

  15. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hi D. Thanks for your reply. This post is quite old and since I originally published it I have made some of the changes you outlined above. I plan to edit the post soon with the updated information. Thank you for the reminder to hop to it!

Leave a Reply