Bone broth is the ultimate superfood. It’s packed with nutrients, vitamins, and essential minerals that have all sorts of wonderful healing powers for your body, mind, and soul. However, just the phrase “bone broth” can be off-putting and even a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
What is it?
First things first, what is bone broth? It’s been a buzzword for the past few years in the health food industry, and it's ultimately pretty simple. Bone broth is a broth simmered with poultry or beef bones and vegetables. The not-so-pretty way of saying it, bone broth is the liquid containing brewed bones and connective tissues. The tissues contain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other trace minerals.
Now, I may know what you’re thinking, “Tissues? Yikes”, however, sipping on warm, rich broth is something people have enjoyed since the beginning of recorded history and for good reason — it heals. Whether it’s chicken or beef bone broth it is a great option if you are on the AIP (autoimmune protocol) or paleo diet.
Growing up in Czech, we were very close to our food and the animals that were raised to sustain us. Using the bones to create a broth was a great way to utilize the whole animal, and makes for a delicious, flavorful broth.
Bone broth offers a long list of benefits.
For starters, it strengthens bones and teeth because it’s a great source of protein and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
It also contains a plethora of amino acids (such as cysteine, histidine, and glycine) which reduce inflammation, specifically gut inflammation. This specific benefit has led to bone broth being an integral part of diets for people with autoimmune disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and general stomach discomfort.
And last but definitely not least, it can help you stay hydrated. When the broth includes vegetables, it can serve as a great source of electrolytes and carbohydrates which is extremely important as we move into the colder months and more layers are required. It’s great to pack in your thermos for a long winter hike, snowshoe, or skiing session.
Benefits from bone marrow:
- Increases bone strength
- Heals and seals your gut (attention all autoimmune disorders)
- Keeps you hydrated
- Supports a healthy immune system
- Protects your joints
- Keeps your collagen strong
Where to get the Bones?
This part can take time. Instead of throwing leftover bones and carcasses from meals in the garbage, save them. I know this may sound gross, but it doesn’t have to be. A great way to collect the bones is by putting them in a bag and storing them in your freezer until you are ready to cook them.
However, if you don’t have a lot of time and you need your broth fix now visit your local butcher or farmer’s market. Most of the time, the bones are very inexpensive to purchase and they may even give them to you for free. Important note, try to find grass-fed and grass-finished beef that or free-range chicken bones from animals that were never given antibiotics or added growth hormones. These are the safest to ingest.
So how do I make it?
There are a lot, and I mean A LOT, of recipes out there. But for the most part making bone broth is very simple and just takes a little bit of your time. All you really need is a large pot, water, vinegar, a few veggies, spices, bones and some cooking time.
Here is how I usually make it!
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2–4 pounds of animal bones
- 6-8 celery stalks, washed and cut into thirds
- 4-5 carrots, washed and cut in half
- 3 Bay leaves
- 1 gallon of water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or stock pot.
- Bring everything to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12–24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it will taste and more nutritious it will be.
- Allow the broth to cool. Strain it into a large container and discard the solids.
Bonus Tip: Variety is key here. I’m talking marrow bones, knuckles, oxtail, and feet. I know chicken feet sound really gross they actually contain a great amount of protein, calcium, trace minerals, collagen, and cartilage that are easily absorbed by the body and can improve joint movement to minimize arthritis and joint pain.
Double Wammy Bonus Tip: Roast the bones. Roasted bones create a fuller flavor from the caramelizing of the meat and marrow. This can easily be done. Place the bones on a baking sheet and cook them for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.
I think it’s also extremely important to note here bone broth can only be stored safely in the refrigerator for up to five days. But do not worry, you can freeze it in small containers and heat them up as needed.
How to eat it
Okay, you’ve made it. Now what? Well, not everyone loves the idea of drinking straight bone broth. You can use it to make your grains, freeze for later use (pour bone broth into ice cube trays and freeze and individually portioned broth at the ready), and my favorite, make some soup with it!
Soup recipes ideas to get you started:
Rather have soup?
If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into bone broth, soups and stews also have wonderful benefits. I started making our instant soups last year as a way to quickly and easily enjoy a mug of something other than coffee in the afternoon. We even have an AIP option, with two new AIP soups coming in 2020. Stay tuned.
Happy soup season!
Zora Tabin (Founder, Mom & Healthy Snack Enthusiast)