Bone Broth is one of my absolute favourite superfoods. It is extremely nourishing. And although it may be a bit intimidating the first time, it is actually very easy and inexpensive to make and WELL worth getting into the habit of.
Why is it so great? Let me tell you.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates, Father of Medicine 431 B.C
In a time before pharmaceuticals – when food was the medicine and medicine was the food – bone broth was prescribed by doctors for colds, asthma and various other illnesses and diseases. It has been used for it’s healing properties for hundreds of years and nearly every culture has a history with broth. Most cultures have maintained this tradition through to today. However here in the West, in an effort to save time, broth has been diminished to a preservative laden, overly processed additive used mostly for flavouring. Bone broths do remain honoured in the culinary community, though still with a focus more on flavor. To my delight bone broth for it’s medicinal qualities seems to be making a comeback with recommendations from Naturopathic Doctors, Nutritionists and other Wholistic Practitioners. And now through science and it’s research, we are finding proof of the benefits of bone broth that our ancestors intuitively knew.
Good Broth resurrects the dead – South American Proverb
Are you ready to hear some of these benefits?
1) Bone broth, when made with this intent, can be extremely rich in easily assimilated minerals. And not just important electrolytes and macro-minerals, but a whole bunch of trace minerals too. PLUS the minerals in bone broth are naturally chelated (the mineral molecules are bonded with an amino acid molecule). These minerals are strengthened by these amino acids, ensuring they all make it through the digestive process and into the bloodstream for our body’s utilisation. Simply; Bone Broth is full of very easily absorbed minerals.
Why are minerals good for us? Because they are a part of all cells. They make up our blood, nerve and muscle cells, and of course, our bones. Minerals are essential for our physical and mental health. They are vital to our heart and muscle function, our nerve conductivity and communication between our cells. Minerals have many roles within our bodies, both structurally and functionally. They are required for our daily wellness, overall health and our survival. Unlike some vitamins, our bodies can not manufacture any minerals. This means that we must consume all that we need from external sources. Because of this, deficiency is very common, though rarely acknowledged.
Bone broth = minerals.
2) Bone broth is a great source of collagen (a.k.a. gelatin). Collagen is a protein that has been described as “the glue that holds our body together”. At least 30% of the proteins in our body is collagen. It makes up most of our skin (80 percent!!!), cartilage, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissue. The elasticity and function of our joints depends on the connective tissue built by collagen. At about age 25 our collagen production starts decreasing AND the collagen we have begins to degrade. For this reason, collagen supplements can be highly prized and very expensive while bone broth is full of it!
Bone broth = collagen for skin and joint vibrancy and longevity.
Collagen also promotes proper digestion as it can restore and strengthen the mucosal lining in the gastrointestinal tract (gut). The mucosal lining of the gut is what keeps everything that we consume out of our bloodstreams and our bodies, so it is very important that it is functioning and strong. Leaky gut syndrome (tiny tears in the gut which let through pathogens and undigested food particles) may be the root cause of digestive discomfort, food sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune disease and other serious inflammatory illness. 70% of our immune system is within our gut. The strength of our immune system is dependent on the strength of this lining as it separates bacteria, viruses and other pathogens from entering our system.
It has recently been discovered that up to 85% of serotonin (our happy neurotransmitter) is produced in the gut AND about the same amount of melatonin (hormone responsible for regulating sleep cycles and a powerful antioxidant) as well. Up until now it was thought that these were only created in the brain. These are both very fascinating discoveries and prove how much is still unknown and also how important digestion and a healthy digestive tract are. There are many studies happening now that link mood and mind to the digestive system. Maintaining a robust gut lining is critical to all areas of our body, our mind and now even our emotions.
Bone broth = strengthened gut lining/digestive tract (and all the awesomeness that comes with it).
3) Bone broth contains a high amount of amino acids which may reduce the amount of protein required in the diet. I buy only local, organic meat that I know was treated well, this ensures that it is high in nutrients, has no toxins including hormones and follows a path of good energy. I happily pay a premium for all of this. And because I drink so much broth, I can healthfully reduce my meat intake and treasure it once or twice a week. I’ve met many vegetarians who began drinking bone broth (while maintaining their values as the flesh is not being consumed in the broth) and saw great improvements to their skin health, energy levels and overall wellness, likely due largely to the amino acid increase (and of course the other benefits associated with bone broth).
Bone broth = amino acids.
Alright! Now that you know some of the benefits of bone broth I think it’s time for a recipe.
I’ve researched many broth and stock recipes from chefs, cooks, nutritionists, naturopaths, doctors and wise homemakers to come up with my favourite method for taste with the highest nourishment value. I drink 4 cups every morning and use it for soups, stews and as the liquid when I’m cooking quinoa or rice. I start a big batch about every three days and it very quickly becomes a routine.
What you need:
- large stock pot
- fine mesh strainer
- glass jars to store the bone broth
- a spoon or stirring utensil
- filtered water or spring water
- organic chicken backs and necks, or organic beef bones or organic pork bones
- vinegar – I use Bragg apple cider vinegar
- quality sea salt
Flavor enhancers with herbal benefits of their own:
- 3 or 4 (or more) peppercorns
- a couple of bay leaves
- a variety of herbs – my favourite are rosemary, thyme, sage. I usually use all of these (frozen, dried, fresh whatever you have).
- carrots, celery, onion and garlic.
- dried chillies (even one or two will make your broth quite spicy)
*note – I save all of my carrot, celery, onion, garlic and herb scraps when making other meals and freeze it all – the ends, the stems, the leaves, all of it. Before veggies go bad, I wash them up and put them in the freezer too. When I’m making broth I just grab a handful of each from the freezer. I don’t ever use specific amounts of anything, that’s just not my style. Some batches are more delicious than others, but it’s never been bad with an assortment like this.
- Put bones into the pot.
- Fill pot with water.
- Add approximately 3 tablespoons of vinegar, don’t fret if you put more, but don’t put less than 2 tbsp. (the vinegar helps release the minerals from the bones)
- Let sit for an hour.
- Bring to a light boil on medium temperature.
- Remove foam that may boil to the top – this is normal.
- Reduce heat to low. Cover and let it be. If you choose, you can transfer to a crock-pot at this point.
- Cook on low. To ensure maximum benefit the minimum cooking time for Chicken bones is 24 hours total and for Beef bones 48 hours total. If the timing in your life does not allow you to take it off right at 24 or 48 that’s cool, but left cooking for too long (like an extra hours) may make it taste burnt, which is very unpleasant.
- 4 to 6 hours before you are planning to take your broth off the heat add the salt, peppercorns, herbs and veg. DO NOT add the parsley yet.
- 20 minutes before taking your broth off add the parsley.
- Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
- Strain into jars. (It may be easier to use a slotted spoon to remove the large debris before straining.)
- Refrigerate or freeze.
Nourish & Flourish.