All You Need To Know About Bone Broth

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The end of 2014 was a whirlwind.  

My mom had her hip replaced 8 weeks ago and my life revolved around taking care of her non-stop for 4 weeks.  In the hospital she was sick from the painkillers and all she could eat-drink were cold smoothies and bone broths.  She had to have 2 blood transfusions because her iron levels became extremely low from the surgery and believe me... she was white as a ghost.   The blood transfusion took almost 8 hours and it was amazing to watch how rosy her checks became within the first couple of hours.  It truly made me grateful for modern medicine and especially blood donors.

Before her surgery, I had already made the decision to take work off and help my mom recover so she would have the best outcome.  I cooked every meal (6 small meals a day), helped her with her physical therapy and was there for moral support.  Through all my cooking I became a BIG FAN of beef bone broth.  HUGE fan!  It was the perfect thing to help my mom recover.

 

Bone broth benefits.

Bone broth is nutrient dense, easy to digest, delicious and full of all kinds of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and potassium.  It's rich in the amino acids glycine and proline which are important for a healthy gut and digestion, muscle repair and growth, a balanced nervous system, and a strong immune system.   It also contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain. 

The best part of “soup bones” is the collagen.  Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is the basis of all connective tissues.  Basically it's responsible for holding your whole body together.  As you can see it's super important.  I'll break it down more.  Collagen creates strong and healthy bones, nails, tendons, joints, hair and muscles and to boot, it's super healing.  Your skin's health is all about collagen too.  The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.  The apple cider vinegar in the recipe is what breaks down the collagen in the bones.  The gelatin in bone broth can help to heal a leaky gut, which may be of specific benefit to those with inflammatory or autoimmune disorders.  Bone Broth soup was exactly what my mom needed during her recovery.  I really enjoyed it too!
 

How to use Bone Broth.


Bone broth is good to have around the house especially if anyone is sick.  If you are pregnant, it's perfect to drink throughout your pregnancy, during labor and especially postpartum.  Oh yea!  It's great for baby's that are 6 months and older too.   You can start with 1 - 2 tsp. before breastfeeding and gradually increase.  It really is good for everyone in the house.  We love it. 

 

Lets talk bones.

You can make bone broth from duck, goose, cow, fish, venison, lamb, turkey or chicken bones.  You can buy your bones from your local butcher, a local farm (ask around at the farmers market), a friendly hunter, your local health food store (if they have a meat department), or order bones online from U.S. Wellness Meats. You can also save the bones if you roast a whole chicken, turkey, duck, or goose.

When using beef bones make sure to buy bones from grass-fed cows.  Chicken bones should be from organic, free range chickens.  Get a variety of bones, ask for marrow bones, oxtail, knuckles and “soup bones.” Make sure you include some larger bones like knuckles, or feet (like chicken feet), which will contain more cartilage, and therefore more collagen.  I haven't been able to use chicken feet yet.....  AHHHHHHHHH!  You can even mix and match bones in the same batch of broth, for example some beef, some lamb, some chicken...but know that will change the flavor. (Most people prefer to stick to one animal source at once.)  The best part is you can reuse your bones until they are all gone. 

 

Giggle, Giggle.

The bone broth is supposed to giggle when cool.  That’s the gelatin but don't worry because when you heat it gently on the stovetop it will return to a liquid state.  What if your bone broth doesn't giggle...I've had it happen twice because I used too much water.  But it still tasted good.  The other reason it might not giggle is that the wrong bones or not enough of the right bones were used.  I love using knuckle bones because there is a lot of cartilage therefore more giggle.  Another common reason is that the broth was not cooked for long enough. The remedy? Set your crockpot or burner to the lowest heat setting and just let it go for a minimum of 8 hours (poultry) or 12 hours (beef). 

 

Bone broth recipes


BEEF BONE BROTH
Buy grass-fed beef bones.  

  • 3 - 4 lbs. beef marrow and knuckles.  (Grass-fed)
  • 1 - 2 lbs. meaty bones, such as short ribs
  • 1/2 cup of raw apple cider vinegar
  • 4 - 5 quarts of filtered water  ( I added more water)
  • 3 celery stocks, halved
  • 3 carrots, halved
  • 2 - 3 onions, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • big handful of fresh parsley
  • sea salt

Directions:


I used a crockpot to cook mine but you can use a stock pot.  I placed all the ingredients into crockpot and cooked for 48 hours on low.

Stock pot - Place bones in a pot, add apple cider vinegar and water.  Let the mixture sit for 1 hour so the vinegar can leach the minerals out of the bones.  (Add more water to cover the bones).  Add vegetables, boil and skim scum off the top and discard).  Reduce to low and simmer, cover, and cook for 24 - 72 hours.   (Turn it off at night.  In the morning boil again then simmer).  During the last 10 minutes, throw in a handful of fresh parsley for added flavor and minerals.  Let broth cool, strain.  Make sure all bone marrow is out of bones and in the broth.  Add sea salt to broth.  Drink broth and enjoy!

Storage -  (in glass containers)

  • Refrigerator for 5 - 7 days 

  • Freezer (up to 6 months).  When freezing in a glass jar, to prevent cracking the glass, leave 1 inch of space from the top of the jar.  Let broth cool completely, then freeze with lids off.  Once it freezes, add the lids.


Chicken Bone Broth (organic, pasture raised) 

  • 1 whole organic chicken or 2 - 3 pounds of bony chicken parts.
  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 1 - 2 onions - chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 - 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 - 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 - 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 big handful of parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorn
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 16 cups water  (4 quarts)

FYI - To get more gelatin you can add chicken feet to the soup. ( Jewish folklore considered the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth.) - I personally haven't been able to try this yet but you never know. 

Directions

I used a crockpot to cook mine but you can use a stock pot.  I placed all the ingredients into crockpot and cooked for 4 hours on high.  But you can cook it on low for 8 - 24 hours.

Stock pot - Place bones in a pot, add apple cider vinegar and water.  (Add more water to cover the bones).  Add vegetables and boil.  Remove any scum that may rise to the top.  Reduce to low and simmer, cover, and cook for 8 - 24  hours. Remember to turn it off at night and in the morning turn flame on, boil and then simmer. 

During the last 10 minutes, through in a handful of fresh parsley for added flavor and minerals.  Let broth cool, strain.  If you used a whole chicken, remove the chicken meat from the carcass and reserve it for sandwiches, salads or whatever you fancy.   Drink broth and enjoy!  You can use broth for other soups or stews.

Storage -  (in glass containers)

  • Refrigerator for 5 - 7 days 

  • Freezer (up to 6 months).  When freezing in a glass jar to prevent cracking the glass, leave 1 inch of space from the top of the jar.  Let broth cool completely, then freeze with lids off.  Once it freezes, add the lids. 


Fish Stock

  • 2 pounds of whole fresh non-oily fish heads and bones (cod, halibut, snapper)
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 quarts of water
  • handful of fresh parsely
  • sea salt

Directions

Place fish heads and bones in a stockpot.  Add vinegar and cover with water.  Bring to a simmer and skim scum.  Simmer for 4 - 24 hours.  The last 10 minutes add the parsley for added flavor and minerals.  Add salt to taste and enjoy. 

Storage -  (in glass containers)

  • Refrigerator for 5 - 7 days 

  • Freezer (up to 6 months).  When freezing in a glass jar to prevent cracking the glass, leave 1 inch of space from the top of the jar.  Let broth cool completely, then freeze with lids off.  Once it freezes, add the lids. 

 


Quick Stock


This is me and my mom 9 weeks after her surgery. 

This is me and my mom 9 weeks after her surgery. 

Enjoy!  

Sip it in a mug like coffee or tea.  In fact, a warm cup of broth is a great way to start your morning.  try drinking 8 ounces a day, every day.  Of course, you can use it in recipes wherever it calls for broth or stock, or turn it into a base for your favorite soup.


Recipes from:

  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten & Tom Malterre, MS, CN
  • The Heal Your Gut Cookbook by Hilary Boynton & Mary G. Brackett

Other Resources: