The real reason you should be saving your meat bones

It was character actor Carl Weathers who said it best in the television series Arrested Development (via YouTube). When David Cross' character Tobias Funke is about to toss what appears to be a rib bone into the trash, Weathers stops him and imparts a life lesson. He says, "You take this home, add some broth, a potato... Baby, you got a stew going!" 

Weathers is certainly on to something. While bones are often tossed into the garbage after all the meat is stripped, they can be quite useful when it comes to making stocks, soups, or broths.  Making your own bone broth, which is lauded for its health benefits, can be better as a home project than buying a store-bought version, many of which are often overly salted (via Shape). 

Bone broth, which has recently become popular as a healthy nutritional drink, is said to contain minerals, vitamins, and other beneficial nutrients, such as collagen (via Healthline).

Bone broths and chicken stocks

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body and is concentrated in bones and tendons. When it's cooked, it's broken down into gelatin, which is full of amino acids. Consuming collagen or gelatin can be beneficial for the health of your joints. A study showed that over half of rheumatoid arthritis patients surveyed reported that consuming collagen over a 12-week period helped to improve their symptoms

Bone broth is typically made using beef bones, but any type of bone, including fish, can be used. While beef broth is made with the simplest of ingredients, i.e., bones and water (as well as some seasoning such as salt and pepper if you like), you can also use leftover bones to make a stock which can be used as a base for other dishes like soups or risottos.

Chicken carcasses after finishing a roast chicken can be especially good for this type of project. Combining the remaining chicken bones with onions, garlic, carrots, and celery and then simmering for a few hours can make for a hearty chicken stock.