Bone broth is so hot right now. By now you’ve probably heard of it and, if you live in a large city, you may have even seen it for sale. Despite it’s trendiness, bone broth is actually an ancient food. It used to be the traditional way broth was made – no MSG required. As it turns out, there is a lot of wisdom in ancient traditions. Bone broth is more than just a way to squeeze a few more calories out of ‘scraps’. Bone broth actually provides some extremely valuable nutrients that are otherwise difficult to get in our diets. It is also full of real, bio-available minerals and vitamins.
Since this is a recipe, I’d like to keep it brief, but here are three of the major benefits of bone broth. You can read more about the health benefits of bone broth in this article from the Weston A Price Foundation.
The Three Major Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth
1. Better joints, hair, skin, and nails - Bone broth is rich in a family of collagen pre-cursors called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). You’ve probably heard of the most famous GAG – glucosamine. It’s often taken in supplement form for joint health. Other GAGs in bone broth include chondroitin and hyaluronic acid. These are the precursors your body needs to maintain and heal your joints (ligaments, tendons) and other connective tissue. They stimulate fibroblasts to build collagen, and serve as collagen precursors. Collagen, by the way, is also important for growing strong hair, skin, and nails. The amazing thing about GAGs from bone broth is that they are absorbed in their intact form. This isn’t always the case when you take them in supplement form.
2. Improved Gut Health - Bone broth is rich in gelatin – especially if you use whole picked animals, or the ‘extra parts’ such as feet and knuckles. Gelatin has been shown to impart amazing gut-healing benefits. It reduces inflammation in the gut, and can reduce intestinal permeability.
3. Detoxification Support – Bone broth is full of the important amino acids proline and glycine. They aid stage II of liver detoxification, which means they help the liver eliminate toxins from your body. Glycine also serves as a precursor for the important antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione is essential for eliminating free radicals, thus reducing oxidation and inflammation in the body.
Where to Get Quality Bones
My favorite thing about bone broth is that it’s scandalously easy to make. I kind of feel like I’m cheating by even calling this a ‘recipe’. What has been the more difficult thing for me is figuring out where to get the bones. You can always ask the butcher where you buy your meat if he has any to spare, but just check the source/quality. I am fortunate to now live in a beautiful British town where the local butcher freely gives up grass-fed bones. However, that wasn’t always the case. In the past I’ve focused on purchasing free-range whole chickens and grass-fed beef cuts with bone (roasts, oxtails, etc). After our family eats the roasted meal, I save the bones in the freezer. When I have enough to fill my crock pot I made a batch of broth.
If you have trouble finding quality meat in your area, you can look for co-ops (we’ve gone in with other family to purchase ¼ of a grass-fed cow), or buy online. US Wellness Meats (http://grasslandbeef.com/) ships all over the Untied States.
No-Fuss Bone Broth
Active cooking cooking time: 15 min / Total cook time: 4-72 hours
- 3-4 lbs bones (i.e. picked roast chicken, large bones such as from beef, lamb or pork, or whole fish with meat removed). If you’re ready for extra credit, animal ‘extra’ parts such as chicken feet and knuckles are great to add. The KEY thing here is to use quality bones – grass-fed, free-range, wild-caught as applicable.
- 1 large onion
- 3 large carrots
- 3 spears celery
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Thyme, parsley, and/or bay leaf if you have them
- 1 tsp salt
- Cold filtered water
- Extra credit: if you’re using large bones, you can roast them at 350 degrees F until browned for added flavor.
- Fill crock pot with bones, roughly chopped vegetables, garlic, vinegar, and salt. The crock pot is especially important if you will cook the broth overnight. A large stock pot will work otherwise.
- Fill to near top with water.
- Heat on high – once gently simmering, skim anything that has risen to the surface (continue to skim if you later see more floating extract).
- Turn to low heat and simmer (~205 degrees F is ideal) for at least:
- Beef: 12-72 hours
- Fish: 4-18 hours
- Chicken: 8-24 hours
- Add herbs in final 10 minutes of cooking, then turn off crock pot and let cool.
- Strain broth and refrigerate.
- Once cool, skim fat from surface – if you’re a fat hoarder like me, refrigerate it separately to cook with. One great use is on roasted vegetables, just saying…
- Your beautiful broth is ready to enjoy – heated in a cup, made into a soup, or used in sauces. Season to taste with a little sea salt if you drink it straight.