Bone broth is a superfood that may not come to mind when you’re planning to eat well. For both humans and dogs alike, bone broth provides a plethora of healthy benefits in an easy to digest manner. Bone broth can be incorporated into meals easily as a soup base or substituted for water when cooking whole grains. Everything you need to know about bone broth is right here.
What is bone broth?
Essentially, bone broth is what you get when you take a bone or carcass that would have otherwise been discarded after the meat was used, and boil it in water with herbs, vegetables, and apple cider vinegar. Bone broth is a slow cooked soup that can take between 8 and 24 hours to make, but the nutrient benefits are definitely worth the wait. The bones can be from any source, though chicken and beef are the most common. You can use the carcass from last night’s chicken dinner, or you can buy a bone from the butcher specifically for use in your soup. What is most important is knowing you purchased a quality bone from a reputable source.
Why is bone broth considered a super food?
Bone broth offers many nutrients that are often lacking in a Western diet in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. These include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, collagen, cartilage, bone marrow, essential amino acids, silicon, as well as other minerals. What benefits come from drinking bone broth? To get the most benefit from your bone broth, it’s recommended to enjoy a glass a day. Some prefer to use this glass as their kick-start to their day. Others use it in place of juicing, since it offers at least as many benefits.
Bone broth benefits:
Gut health. It helps heal and seal gut lining as well as promotes healthy digestion. The high quality gelatin and collagen helps to fill any holes that may be present in the gut lining. The amino acid glutamine protects the gut lining and improves metabolism.
Reduces inflammation and joint pain. Amino acids present, such as glycine, proline and arginine, have anti-inflammatory affects. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate help to stimulate growth of new collagen and can repair damaged joints, thus reducing pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are often recommended supplements for joint pain and stiffness, especially in those with arthritis. Bone broth offers them in forms that are more readily absorbed and used by the body.
Promotes strong, healthy bones. The calcium, magnesium and collagen present in bone broth all play an important role in bone formation.
Inhibits infection. The cartilage present helps to support the immune system. Other components are anti-inflammatory to the respiratory tract, which helps ease upper respiratory infections.
Promotes glowing skin and healthy hair and nail growth. The amino acids glycine and proline, as well as collagen, are to thank for these beautifying effects. Working together they help promote hair and nail growth while helping the skin retain its youthful appearance.
Aids in detoxifying the liver. Glycine is necessary for the liver to be able to detoxify the body.
Bone broth is easy to make and store. All you need is a big stock pot or slow cooker, a bone, apple cider vinegar, vegetables, and time. Bone broth by itself is not bland and definitely full of flavor. Adding vegetables and herbs makes it feel more like a complete soup and not just a tasty drink. One tasty way to prepare your bone broth is with a stock pot with boiling water.
Huffinton Post published a great recipe, as follows:
- 3-4 lb. beef thigh bone (may have meat attached)
- 2 in. ginger root
- 2-3 whole onions
- 3-5 scallion bulbs
- 2-3 celery stalks
- 1/2 c. fresh herbs (such as parsley, mint and/or bay leaves)
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- Sea salt, to taste
- Fill a large stock pot with water (6-8 quarts) and bring to a boil.
- In the meantime, coarsely chop all vegetables and set aside. Remove skin from the garlic. Peel the ginger (using a spoon is a time-saving hack), and chop coarsely. Chop herbs coarsely, but leave those like mint and bay leaf whole.
- Once the water is boiling, add the bones to the pot, along with the salt and coconut oil. Then, add in all the vegetables, herbs, ginger and garlic cloves. Finally, add the apple cider vinegar. Stir everything together.
- Lower heat and simmer, covered, for a minimum of 8 hours.
- Once cooled, put the broth in the fridge. Once the fat hardens, remove that layer and strain the rest of the broth into tightly covered jars. (Bone broth keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days.)
Another way to make bone broth is with the use of a slow cooker. The following recipe from TheYummyLife.com shows how to do just that. To see a step-by-step picture guide, visit her site.
Chicken Bone Broth in A Slow Cooker
Servings: makes 10-12 cups
- 2-3 roasted chicken carcasses (approx. 2 lbs. of bones); include any leftover skin or pan drippings
- 1 or 2 medium onions, unpeeled & quartered
- 1 head of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half crosswise
- 2 celery ribs, cut in 1 to 2 inch pieces
- 2 carrots, cut in 1 to 2 inch pieces
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 5 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 teaspoons peppercorns
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar (1 tablespoon per pound of bones)
- 2 to 2-1/2 quarts water (enough to immerse above ingredients)
Add all of the ingredients to a 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker. Cook on low for 12 hours (or more). While still hot, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove large pieces from broth. Then pour through a wire mesh strainer to remove the remaining solid bits.
For a fat-free broth, use one of these methods for removing the fat:
METHOD 1: Pour broth into a large bowl or container, cover, and refrigerate overnight or until completely chilled. Scrape the hardened fat from the top and discard.
METHOD 2: While broth is still warm, pour it into a grease separator (available on Amazon and at cooking stores), that allows you to pour the fat-free broth from the bottom.
FREEZE IT. Broth can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. For extended storage, it should be frozen. It’s convenient to freeze it in 1 or 2 cup portions for easy use in recipes.
USES: This broth can be used in soups, gravies, or any recipe calling for chicken broth. It also can be drunk as is for a healthy supplement to your diet.
NOTE: This is a salt-free broth. Add salt to taste, as desired. If your slow cooker is smaller, you can halve the recipe using 1 chicken carcass and half of the remaining ingredients.