Bone broth. Healing comfort. Nourishment. Cheap.
And it not only serves as a way to use up bones that would normally be discarded, but also provides our guts, systems, bodies with some fabulous nutrition.
I was discussing bone broth (naturally) with my Naturopath recently who said the broth has been prescribed by Chinese Medicine practitioners for centuries due to the healing and blood building properties. It’s also said to boost your Qi (which is “vital energy”). Here, Margarita Alcantara does an excellent job at explaining this.
I always have a supply of bone broth on hand both in the freezer and in the fridge. Like stock, I use my broth to create the base for soups (hello, cold winters night, French Onion and a full-bodied red). Or on its own as a warm, comforting elixir in a mug. I get my bones cheaply and easily from the local butcher. I buy a bag for broth and a bag for the dog. (Please only raw beef bones for the pups). I buy usually beef for bone broth, sometimes chicken and they are anywhere from $1.50 to $5.00/bag depending on what’s in them. I also like to utilize the chicken carcass when I roast a whole chicken for dinner. If I’m not up to making a broth the next day, I’ll freeze the carcass and add in some chicken necks and feet from the butcher.
What are the Health Benefits of Bone Broth?
- Gelatin – not the Jello stuff, but this is created down from the loads of collagen broken down from the bones. Gelatin is actually quite nutritious being high in protein and aiding in digestion. Savory Lotus has a good post here on the benefits of gelatin.
- Calcium – Building strong bones, helps maintain weight, ensures a healthy-body PH level and more.
- Magnesium – Linked to bone health, hearth health and helps with PMS.
- Phosphorus – Aids in healthy bones, teeth, digestion and helps keep kidney’s healthy.
- Silicon – Can assist with bone health, nail and skin health and even help Alzheimers patients.
- Amino Acids (such as proline, glycine, glutamine) – Essential in breaking down food, repairing body tissue and supporting metabolism. These are building blocks of a healthy body.
Bone Broth – Make it Easy and Helpful Tips
Since I subscribe to the KISS principle as much as possible, I don’t want you doing much unnecessary work or digging. I’ve put my best tried and true methods for making a bone broth here:
- Use a crockpot for bone broth due to the long cooking time. You can leave the house and not worry about it being on the stove. The bigger the better, baby.
- Roast the bones and veggies before putting them in the crockpot. (About an hour for a big beef bone, adjust cooking times for smaller bones.
- You need to use an acid to leech the minerals out of the bones. The best thing for this is raw, organic apple cider vinegar, like Braggs.
- My secret trick with the vinegar is to de-glaze the roasting pan after I’ve roasted the bones and veggies. As the acid helps pull up some of the flavourful fats and sugars up from the pan that have been baked on.
- Your house will smell weird while the broth is “brewing”. Warning if you plan on having company. It’s not foul but it’s not like chocolate chip cookies either.
- For times when you are not “brewing”, keep a Pyrex container in the freezer to throw in clean veggie scraps that can go into your broth as you are creating other meals. The more the merrier.
- I may add a teensy bit of salt but I leave it out mostly, and salt per individual use afterwards.
- I sometimes add a red pepper towards the end which adds a bit of rich sweetness.
- Make your bone broth however you want to. Play and experiment. I would suggest avoiding cruciferous veggies like cabbage and broccoli as they can make the broth bitter.
Good Vegetables/Herbs for Bone Broth
- Fresh Thyme Sprigs
- Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
- Bay Leaves
- Garlic (added almost at done)
- Red Pepper (roasted, added at almost done)
- Bones from beef, chicken, lamb.
Low N’ Slow 72 Hour Bone Broth
- Large beef marrow bone
- 4 to 5 large carrots, washed, ends trimmed, cut in half
- 4 to 5 celery stalks, washed ends trimmed, cut in half
- Large white onion, quartered
- Fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- Red pepper, quartered
- Preheat the oven to 375. In a large baking dish, arrange cut vegetables and bone (I sometimes place the bone on top of the vegetables.
- Throw in the oven for 1 hour.
- Once roasted, transfer the bone and veggies into the crockpot.
- Add apple cider vinegar to the baking dish and let sit for a few minutes. With a spatula scrape any of the leftovers from the baking dish (fat, caramelized carrots/onions, etc.)
- Pour the vinegar into the crockpot.
- Add fresh time sprigs.
- Pour water to just cover the bones, turn on low for 24 to 72 hours.
- At hour 71 or so, add quarter roasted red pepper.
- Once done, cool to room temp and using a ladle and sieve, pour into tempered glass containers for freezing.
In my 7qt crockpot, I’m able to yield about 15 cups of bone broth.