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The Ultimate Guide to Make-Ahead Instant Pot Bone Broth Packs: 3 Recipes for Effortless Meal Prep for The First 40 Days and Beyond

Updated: Jan 19

image of bones, and veggies ready to roast in the oven to make bone broth packs for frozen meal preparation

In my first blog post, The first forty days can make or break your postpartum healing, I shared some time and space-saving hacks to prepare for the first forty days postpartum. My broth recipes are adaptations from the book of the same namesake: The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou. Although I put my own spin on recipes in the book, the method I developed for prepping broth in advance has been a real game-changer.


Make-Ahead Instant Pot Bone Broth Pack Recipe Index


Sourcing Ingredients

The quality of your ingredients is critical, especially if you are trying to heal your gut, remineralize your body, or nourish yourself during pre-conception, pregnancy, and postpartum.


Meat

We buy most of our meat from local farms now. However, if that's not an option, or you aren't ready to invest in a bulk order, I highly recommend ordering from Fed From the Farm, which sources pasture-raised beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and lamb from regenerative small-scale farms.


Produce

For veggies, do your best to find locally grown, organic produce. In my opinion, it's better to adapt to what's in season or use what was preserved at peak than to use lackluster produce. Don't be afraid to substitute scallion or leek for yellow onion, substitute turnips or daikon for carrots, and use up any veggie scraps you want to throw in. Your broth will taste different every time, but the balance of salt, fat, acid, and sweet (I hope you catch that reference) won't disappoint. If you don't have a local co-op with seasonal produce, an amazing option is Azure Standard. You can buy organic, bulk, and specialty produce and health food items at an amazing cost and pick them up at a designated drop spot in your area.


Specialty Ingredients

For specialty ingredients, like kombu, black vinegar, jujubes (Chinese red dates), or Goji Berries, check the international aisle at the grocery store, visit your local Asian supermarket, or check the Amazon links at the bottom of each recipe. Please don't underestimate the importance of good salt. You'll need real, coarse, or kosher salt to flavor the broth. Redmond Real Kosher Salt is flavorful and mineral rich, and Maldon salt is perfect for finishing any meal.


Valuable Kitchen Tools for Bone Broth Packs

You can make bone broth packs with absolutely no new equipment. You can do all of this with regular zip-lock bags, an old crock pot, a dutch oven, or just in a stock pot on the stove, but there are a few tools that make this simple meal prep hack easy to implement at scale.


Instant Pot

6 quart instant pot duo

There's some debate about slow cooking vs. pressure cooking your bone broth. A slow simmer may release more nutrients and give you that jelly top if you are using marrow bones and cartilage high in gelatin, but pressure cooking gives you an equally rich broth in a pinch.


We have a hand-me-down 6-quart Instant Pot my sister passed on a few years ago. I immediately dropped it outside on the sidewalk upon getting it home, so the giant dent makes it a bit of an eye-sore, but it's worked perfectly for us for going on 3 years now. I recommend the 6-quart for families of 4 or less. You can always make a second batch from the bones if you need more broth, but I find the 6-quart to be more versatile for other kitchen tasks.


Instant Pot Mesh Strainer Insert



stainless steel mesh instant pot insert for straining out bones and veggies when the broth is finished


Straining out bones, picking off meat, and sorting out mushy veggies was a task I procrastinated doing after making broth. Buying this little Instant Pot strainer makes putting broth away so much easier.


Handheld Mesh Strainer

small stainless steel mesh sieve for straining broth into mason jars




This is a small tool that makes a big difference in the kitchen. I believe I have one from Ikea, but anything like this that will fit in the mouth of a mason jar will do the trick. Double straining your broth will give you that clear amber broth you can drink on its own or seamlessly incorporate into virtually any recipe.


Vacuum Sealer


compact black vacuum sealer, great for sealing bone broth packs and preventing freezer burn


A vacuum sealer is, in my opinion, a worthwhile addition to any from-scratch kitchen, but it is by no means a pre-requisite to long-term food storage or meal prep. We use our vacuum sealer not only for bone broth packs but for packaging pre-portioned servings of meat from the butcher, preserving fresh-picked fruit in the summer, and in-season veggies for the deep freezer. If you're prepping on a small scale and plan to use your bone broth packs in a relatively short period of time, good quality freezer bags should do the trick! If you're preparing packs for a few months at a time, a vacuum sealer can ensure you preserve the peak fresh flavor of the veggies and avoid any freezer burn.


 

The Recipes

Beef Bone Broth

When you think of a classic bone broth, this Instant Pot Bone Broth recipe is probably what you have in mind. This versatile broth is taken to the next level with umami notes from pre-roasted bones and veggies, kombu's rich salinity, and balanced with ginger, apple cider vinegar, and fresh herbs.


Oxtail Broth

I didn't know I needed oxtail broth in my life until I tried this recipe. I can't overstate how rich, velvety, and nourishing this Instant Pot Bone Broth recipe is and how much flavor it can impart on any risotto, soup, or noodle dish. The recipe follows the same steps as the traditional Beef Bone Broth Recipe above but has some slight ingredient variations to highlight the oxtail.

Chicken, Red Date, and Ginger Broth

The book The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou contains a recipe for a delicious chicken and red date soup. I was hooked once I experienced the magic of red dates in the chicken broth. The problem was that I really didn't enjoy the process of freezing and reheating the prepared soup. It took up too much space in the freezer, and I had too many cracked mason jars from the temperature shift to want to repeat the process outlined in the book. I've adapted the silky, sour, gingery chicken soup into a chicken bone broth that's easy to pop into the instant pot and uses less expensive cuts like chicken backs and chicken feet. You'll likely need to source the Chinese red dates and goji berries but trust me; it's worth it.


I hope that these three recipes will make their way into your broth rotation, offering a convenient and nourishing grab-and-boil option during pregnancy, postpartum, and the beautiful journey of motherhood. These adaptations are meant to be tinkered with and made your own. After all, bone broth always has and always will be a way to extract nutrients from scraps, bones, veggies, and off-cuts of meat, so being creative and resourceful is the best way to do these broths justice. If you're looking for more pro-metabolic and nutrient rich meal-prep ideas, check out my post The first forty days can make or break your postpartum healing. The techniques I use are applicable to any diet or life stage.

Please let me know in the comments what variations work best for you! I'd love to hear for you!













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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to Starting Sunday, my corner of the internet where I channel that Sunday morning feeling of intentionality, optimism, and possibility—without waiting for a Monday start. Join me as I share my personal journey and insights on nutrition, motherhood, and minimalism, all while navigating the beautiful chaos of life with my spirited two-year-old. From the intricacies of hormone healing to the joys and challenges of home birth and the essentials of life with a little one, I'm excited to pour my heart into this space. Your support means so much, and I can't wait to connect with you. 

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