After the Thanksgiving feast has come to an end and the plates have been cleared, many of us are left with a turkey carcass that seems destined for the trash bin. But before you throw it away, consider the age-old wisdom of "waste not, want not” and make a stone-age recipe instead. We’re talking about bone broth.
Not only is bone broth a health bomb brimming with nutrients that support your gut and joints (and a great home remedy when you’re sick), but did you know even superstar athletes have turned to this ancient elixir to boost their performance?
Making bone broth is super simple, infinitely customizable, and can be used in a variety of ways, including as a soup base, as a flavorful substitute for water when cooking rice, to reconstitute freeze-dried food, as part of a pan sauce – or you can even drink it straight up as a comforting and nourishing warm drink and nutritional powerhouse. In this post, we'll share an easy recipe to transform your leftover turkey carcass into a pot of anti-inflammatory bone broth.
Triple-T Broth: Thanksgiving Turmeric Turkey
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry that bright yellow color. It’s been a staple in Indian diet for thousands of years and acts as both a spice and a medicinal herb. But this isn’t just some ancient Indian secret with nothing to back it up...research has found it contains compounds with medicinal properties.
These compounds are called curcuminoids, specifically curcumin – the active ingredient in turmeric. The most incredible benefits are its powerful anti-inflammatory effects and strong antioxidant properties.
One word of warning – be careful when you’re handling turmeric, as you can easily stain your countertop and clothes with its unmistakable bright yellow color.
Another word of warning – if you don’t particularly like the taste of Indian foods, you may want to tread lightly. This recipe only calls for one tablespoon for this reason. It’ll give the broth an aromatic mysteriousness but shouldn’t overpower the taste by any means. Feel free to add another ½ tablespoon if you enjoy the flavor or see our customizing your broth section if you’d rather skip the turmeric entirely – but you’ll be missing out on its extra anti-inflammatory punch!
Kitchen Equipment You’ll Need:
- A large stockpot or slow cooker
- Cheese cloth or strainer
- Large glass bowl or storage container with a lid
- Leftover turkey carcass (no need to pick it clean, you can have meat still attached)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large onion, chopped into large slices
- 2 carrots, chopped into coins
- 2 medium celery stalks (leaves on) chopped up
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon turmeric (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, shaved (ground ginger will work, but fresh is way better)
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 dried bay leaves
- Put a large stock pot – or large crock pot – on low heat and add 3 tablespoons of coconut oil.
- When the oil is hot – but not smoking – add your garlic, ginger, onion, carrots and celery. Cook until soft.
- Take the entire turkey carcass – feel free to keep any extra meat on there – and drop it into the pot.
- Cover the entire contents with cold, filtered water.
- Add your apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, ginger and turmeric (again, optional and not recommended if you don’t like Indian spices. You can use oregano and thyme for a more traditional broth.)
- Let that simmer for at least 8-12 hours, adding water as needed to keep the ingredients covered. Overnight is ideal if using a crockpot. The longer you let it simmer, the more minerals and collagen are extracted from the bones, resulting in a richer, more flavorful broth.
- Carefully strain through cheesecloth or strainer into a large bowl and let it cool before putting away.
Customizing Your Broth
One of the best parts about making bone broth is you can customize it with flavors that you love or have on hand. Have olive oil but not coconut oil in your cabinet? Use that instead. Not a fan of turmeric or ginger? Not a problem. Leave them out to make a more basic broth or pick a spice you do like. Choose oregano and thyme for Italian flavor. Need to clear out your sinuses? Doctor it up with horseradish. Have mushroom stems from foraging and parsley growing in your windowsill herb garden? Use whatever ingredients you have and whatever flavors you enjoy.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Broth
- You don’t want to boil your broth to tarnation. Set the temperature to low heat so it doesn’t do much more than simmer.
- Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (or another type of vinegar) to the cold water to help draw the nutrients from the bones.
- Mix it up and try combinations of bones from different animals all in the same pot.
- If using larger bones, like beef bones from the butcher, roast them first for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees before making your broth to give it a nice roasted flavor.
- If using fresh herbs, add them near the end of the cooking process, ideally in the last half hour or so. This allows them to infuse their flavors without losing their freshness and vibrancy. Give them a rough chop before adding them in to maximize their flavor release.
Storing Your Broth
Wait until the broth is completely cool before storing. Your broth will stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to six months. We recommend that you use glass containers, since plastic containers can leach undesirable chemicals into your broth — especially over a prolonged period – and could also affect the taste. Dividing the bone broth into smaller portions or using ice cube trays to freeze individual servings can be helpful for easier thawing.
Taking Your Broth Off-Grid
Have hunters in the family? Bone broth can be part of your SHTF plan, and you can make it with wild animal bones like deer, elk, boar, bear, or even fish.
Overall, making bone broth from wild animal bones can be a nutritious and delicious way to utilize the entire animal, especially if resources are scarce.
Taking bone broth "off-grid" also means finding alternative methods to cook it without relying on conventional kitchen appliances. Cook your bone broth over an open flame, in a Dutch oven on top of a woodstove, or in a pot inside a solar cooker.
Waste Not, Want Not: Transform Your Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass into Nutritious Homemade Bone BrothBottom line – don’t let your turkey carcass go to waste! Instead of tossing it in the trash bin, transform it into a nourishing pot of homemade bone broth. This simple and customizable recipe provides numerous health benefits, from supporting gut and joint health to boosting your immune system. Plus, not only will it reduce food waste after Thanksgiving, but it’s a great way to maximize resources during lean times when every scrap matters.