Survival cooking: How to make and preserve bone broth
By Virgilio Marin // Jul 01, 2021

Bone broth is water simmered with animal bones, meat and vegetables. It's an excellent survival food because it's nutritious, easy to make and inexpensive. Just add bits of meat and vegetables in hot water, throw in some animal bones from your last meal, simmer and you have yourself a nice, flavorful soup to warm your belly.


Plus, you can extend bone broth's shelf life to up to two years via canning. This can seem like hard work but it's actually easy to do. Here's how to make and can bone broth: (h/t to

Making bone broth

You can make bone broth from any kind of animal meat, such as chicken, beef and lamb. The following recipe uses the carcass of a whole chicken but feel free to use something else. (Related: Tips for basic home food preservation and canning.)


  • Cooked chicken carcass
  • Vegetables, such as carrots, celery, onions and garlic
  • Herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, to leach out the nutrients from the bones and veggies
  • 12 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Put the bones, vegetables and herbs in a slow cooker.
  2. Add the water and apple cider vinegar.
  3. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer. If you're using a crockpot, bring the heat up to high for around half an hour and then bring it down to low.
  4. Let the broth simmer for 12 hours.
  5. Strain it using a colander.
  6. Refrigerate the broth overnight, or for 12 hours, to let it firm up and form a layer of fat. This layer of fat should be skimmed off before you start canning the broth.

Canning bone broth

Bone broth must be canned in a pressure canner to heat it to very high temperatures. This makes it safe for long-term storage. Do NOT can bone broth in a water bath canner because this is unsafe.

Supplies needed:

  • Pressure canner with lid
  • Canning funnel
  • Pint jars with lids and bands
  • Tongs


  1. Skim off the fat. Since your broth is chilled at this point, bring it to a boil in a large stockpot to heat it back up.
  2. While your broth is boiling, fill the pressure canner with a few inches of water.
  3. Wash your canning jars in hot, soapy water or sterilize them in the dishwasher. Make sure none of the jars have nicks or chips.
  4. Using the canning funnel, fill each jar with the hot broth, leaving an inch of headspace.
  5. Wipe the rims with clean kitchen towel to remove residues and then seal with the lids and bands. Be sure to seal the lids tightly.
  6. Load your jars into the canner using the tongs and then cover the canner.
  7. Turn the heat up to high and let the pot come to a boil. You will notice steam coming out of the vent after a while. Let the steam escape for 10 minutes, or until the indicator pops.
  8. Put the weight on the vent, let the pressure rise to 10 pounds and then start your timer.
  9. Watch the canner closely in case the pressure rises or falls. If it rises slightly above 11, reduce the heat to relieve some of the pressure. If it dips below 11, get the pressure back up and restart the timer.
  10. Process for 20 minutes.
  11. Once the timer is up, turn off the heat and let the pressure canner cool down on its own. Do NOT remove the lid because doing so is dangerous. It can take up to 1 hour for the canner to cool off.
  12. Carefully remove the lid and take each jar out with the tongs.
  13. Let the jars sit for 12 to 24 hours, then store in a cool, dark place. Make sure each jar is sealed tightly before storing. Jars that are not sealed tightly during canning will need to be thrown away.

Bone broth makes for an excellent survival food because it's nutritious, easy to make and inexpensive. When making bone broth, be sure to can it afterward so you can store it long-term in your survival pantry.

Sources include:

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