Easy Homemade Bone Broth

"Good broth will resurrect the dead." – South American proverb

OK listen up! Homemade bone broth is one of the most nourishing and healing things you can add to your diet. Full stop.

I truly can't express this enough. Homemade broth is loaded with minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, collagen and gelatin, which have a vast amount of nutritive and healing properties that I will tell you more about down below. Want to talk about "superfoods"...forget goji berries, insert BONE BROTH. It's truly a healing elixir.

Bone broth has been traditionally consumed for years and in a variety of cultures. It is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make, and it taste so much better than store bought stocks that are made with fillers and additives–some even contain MSG! And no, boxed stocks do not contain the powerful healing abilities of homemade broth. Sorry!

I can't tell you how many people have told me about their miraculous comebacks from flus, digestive disorders, illness and avoiding cold/flu season all together by drinking a few cups a day. I've been doing just that–consuming several cups a day to heal my damaged gut– and the results have been beyond profound. Bone broth is also a great base for making quick (and easy) soups and stews that will leave you fully nourished and satisfied.

I've been making bone broth for a couple of years now and have recently found that cooking it in a crockpot/slow cooker is the way to go. It's low maintenance and the cleanup only takes a second. So before I get into some useful tips, I want you to know I used to be kind of squeamish about handling the bones and cooking meat in general, but it's made such a positive impact on my health that it's worth it. And, now it's not even a thought. Ok? So here we go...

Where to get the bones? You can purchase "soup bones" in the freezer section at Whole Foods, ask your local butcher /whomever works behind the counter at your grocer or save your bones from cooked meats/roasted chicken/etc. When available support healthy and humanely raised animals–remembering that the life and diet of the animal is a big factor in the nutrients that you will consume.

What kind of bones do I use? I've noticed that making bone broth with chicken bones does not yield the same results as the bones are much smaller and with less cartilage. The bones, tendons, joints and cartilage produce gelatinous and collagen rich broth which are some of the most important qualities of homemade broth, so I've found hearty bones with marrow produce the best results. If you prefer chicken broth to beef/pork broth, you can either add marrow bones, a tablespoon of gelatin or chicken feet–'Say What?!' I know, I know. This will help the chicken broth gel– this is crucial as that is where all of the good stuff is! You can get chicken feet from a butcher, also at BiRite for those in SF.  I'll also suggest that you might have to save up a couple of set of chicken bones for tasty and nutritious broth. I find that I get the best results with beef, pork and marrow bones, but when making chicken I either add feet, a couple of marrow bones or gelatin.

Do I need to roast the bones? You can roast the bones if you're making a special dish and want to amp up the flavor profile, but it's not necessary. However, you do need to soak the bones in a tablespoon or two of raw apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover for a half hour before cooking the stock. This will extract the nutrients and add to the flavor. If you roast the bones, just soak them after.

What else?  If you use fatty meat/bones and it makes a greasy broth that doesn't suit you, you can scrape off the grease once it cools in the fridge–this is a healthy fat to cook with so you can store it in a jar in the fridge. If you get bones from the butcher and they are a little bloody, rinse them a few times before soaking.

Lastly, don't be afraid to heat up a cup of plain broth, toss in some sea salt, squeeze of lemon and drink for your daily dose of vitamins! I'll leave you with the rundown on the healing qualities, a recipe for making broth and other uses. Don't waste any time on making this. Cold and flu season is ahead so get to it!

Healing properties of bone broth:
  • Anti-inflammatory–The collagen found in bones, tendons, skin, marrow and ligaments are rich in the aminio acids glycine and proline. These two amino acids are crucial for suppressing inflammatory activity and aid in healing infections and damage in the body. Broth is great for an overactive immune system and regenerating healthy cells.
  • Gut healing–The gelatin in broth both protects and repairs the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. Along with its ability to strengthen the gut wall and reduce inflammation, broth also aids in digestion and absorption of essential nutrients. It's a healing elixir for those suffering from digestive distress, IBS, Crohn's, Leaky Gut, IBD and auto-immune disorders. 
  • Produces healthy skin, hair and nails–The collagen and gelatin are key nutrients for healthy skin, hair and nails. Consuming bone broth regularly will make your skin smooth and supple. It's also said that it will reduce cellulite! Be sure to get bones from knuckles, joints and feet to amp up the collagen in your broth.  
  • Promotes bone health–There's a healthy dose of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and chondroitin sulfate in bone broth, which are all essential for healthy bones. It's common to see these in pricey supplements for bone support, arthritis and joint pain. Bone broth is a cost effective way to add these supportive nutrients to your diet. 

Easy bone broth recipe: (Works for 5-6 quart slow cooker, can also use in a stock pot)
2-3 lbs of bones of your choice  (options: beef or pork bones, marrow bones, knuckle bones, chicken carcass, oxtail, fish bones)
1 Tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar
Enough filtered water to cover the bones (roughly 2- 4 quarts depending on how many bones used)
1/2 white or yellow onion
1-2 carrots
1-2 ribs of celery
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of peppercorns
1/2-1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 bay leaves

1. Place bones in crockpot with enough water to cover and add the raw apple cider vinegar. Allow to soak for at least a 1/2 hour. *This will draw the mineral and nutrients out of the bones and is a very important step. 
2. After soaking, add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot, turn to high and bring to a boil.
3. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to low heat and cook for 8-24 hours. See suggested times below. 
4. Strain the broth discarding vegetables and bones. Broth will stay fresh in the fridge for several days or place in the freezer for when you want to make soups and stews.

Other options for flavor and minerals:
Ginger root
Rosemary, Parsley, Thyme, Oregano
Any vegetable scraps
Egg shells

Suggested times:
* You can consume/use broth after 8 hours, but ideally the slower and longer it cooks the more nutritious it is. 
Beef/pork/lamb                24 hours
Chicken/turkey                12-24 hours
Fish                                  4 hours

Other uses for bone broth:
Braise vegetables
Make stews and soups
Baste meats

Other Resources:
Natural News
The Paleo Mom


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