I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of buzz in the media about this trendy new hot beverage that has been filling mugs all across the United States. However, if you’re one of the ones who hasn’t, it’s bone broth!
Despite it’s new found popularity, bone broth has long been a staple amongst traditional food circles. In preindustrial societies, particular emphasis was given on the usage of the whole animal, including using the bones to make broth. Bone broth has traditionally been the foundation of cooking in many cultures, and is used not just for making soups and stews, but also for preparing reductions, sauces and for braising meats and vegetables.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is typically made with bones and any of the meat and connective tissues that remains attached to the bones. Usually, the bones are roasted before being made into broth, which improves the flavor of the finished product. Next, the bones are simmered for a long period often exceeding 24 hours. This lengthy cooking time allows for producing gelatin from the collagen-rich joints, as well as releasing the minerals from the bones.
Bone broth benefits
If you have ever wondered why your mom made you eat chicken soup when you were feeling under the weather, there is actually a scientific reason for that! All broths, whether made from chicken, beef, pork or fish bones, are extremely nutrient dense. Here are some of the amazing healthful properties of bone broth:
Bone broth contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and many others.
It is plentiful in many important amino acids, such as arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline, which are involved in the regulation and support of many essential processes in the body, including immune function, digestive health and detoxification.
Bone broth is rich in collagen, a protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals (bones, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments). The slow simmering breaks down the collagen into gelatin.
Gelatin is helpful for people with food allergies and sensitivities, reducing inflammation, and soothes and protects the lining of the digestive tract.
Gelatin can aid the healing of of IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and GERD. It is believed to be useful in the healing of “leaky gut” and the autoimmune disorders that result from it.
Gelatin provides bone-building minerals in easily absorbable ways, preventing bone loss and reducing join pain associated with arthritis.
Bone broth provides collagen which is good for your skin, hair and nails, and for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite.
Bone broth basics
Bone broth is simple to make at home and is relatively inexpensive, however, there are a few points to take into consideration:
You want to buy animal bones and products that you know are pasture raised and free from antibiotics and hormones.
Don’t be afraid to use the body parts that aren’t commonly found in the meat department of your grocery store. Items such as chicken feet and necks can make the best bone broth and can be purchased from local farmers or online.
Bone broth can be easily made on the stove top, or using a slow cooker or pressure cooker.
If you’re using beef or lamb bones, roast them first before making them into broth. Fish and poultry bones don’t require prior roasting.
Adding apple cider vinegar to your pot is useful for drawing the minerals from the bones.
When you are roasting a chicken, or other meat, save the bones in the freezer until you have enough to make a pot of broth.
You can also add in vegetables to your pot, such as onions, garlic, carrots, and celery for added nutrient value.
Bone broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag where they can be kept up to six months.
Making bone broth
This basic bone broth recipe can be made using either a large stockpot or a 6 quart slow cooker. Personally, I like using a slow cooker due to it's no fuss, forget it and go simplicity.
You will need:
4 quarts filtered water
2 lb. bones
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Place all ingredients in a large stockpot or slow cooker and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat so the water is slightly simmering
Cover pot and cook for 24 hours or more, but no less than 8 hours (the longer you cook the bones, the more rich and nutritious your broth will be)
Check your pot periodically, skimming off any scum that appears on the surface of your broth during cooking
Allow your broth to cool, then strain using a fine mesh strainer (a resusable coffee filter will work too)
If any of the bones are still intact, save them for your next batch of broth, but toss the ones that fall apart (chicken bones last for only 1 or two batches, but beef bones can be used multple times)
Store in mason jars in the refrigerator for up to one week