Have you noticed these two words flying around a lot lately? Bone broth is a regular occurrence in our household, and if you haven’t yet caught on, here’s our guide to why you should dust off the stockpot and learn a trick or two from our frugal ancestors that knew not to waste any part of the animal. Not only is bone broth incredibly nutrient dense, it’s jam-packed full of minerals that nourish skin cells, help repair and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Gelatine-rich bone broth is great for all types of lifestyle and I believe in particular it is a powerful tool for those who are athletes or are more active.
WHAT IS BONE BROTH?
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense liquid, or soup, made from a combination of bones, carcasses, vegetables and seasonings. The term “broth” is often used interchangeably with “stock” but there can be a few subtle differences:
Broth: Generally refers to a home-cooked version that will vary depending on the leftovers and ingredients available. Often, broth is made with bones or carcasses containing meat, resulting in a cloudy soup-like product.
Stock: Generally prepared in a commercial kitchen, following a standard or prescribed formula. Stock is normally used as a base in many soups, stews and recipes and is often more gelatinous and clear due to the use of joint bones and carcasses.
WHY SHOULD I MAKE IT?
When transitioning into a more simple lifestyle and way of cooking, it is common for people to start exploring different types of meats, foods, and recipes as well as ways to recycle more, waste less and learn about the foods and cooking practices enjoyed by our ancestors.
The healing power of gelatine and collagen found in broths is very underestimated. Gelatine supports healthy skin, nails and hair, promotes probiotic balance and growth and is used as a treatment for joint pain and function. Both gelatine and collagen are associated with protection and soothing of the gut lining and may prove useful for leaky gut syndrome and the autoimmune disorders that accompany it.
For centuries, gelatine-rich broth has been used to treat a range of ailments, from digestive illnesses to chronic disease. Nutrition researchers Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel of the Weston A. Price Foundation explain that bone broths contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur in forms that your body can easily absorb.
There are many parts of the animal from which we cannot normally extract nutrition unless simmered for hours with the assistance of vinegar or other acids to draw minerals into the broth. These include bones, marrow, skin, feet, necks, tendon and ligaments. All of these weird and wonderful parts of an animal can be used to boost health for you and your family, and have been used by most cultures for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the Western diet has adapted to exclude many of these nutrient rich and nourishing foods.
WHAT DO I NEED?
High quality bones and animal parts: It is very important to track down grass-fed and free range animal products that are free of toxins like chemicals, antibiotics and hormones. Ask your local butcher if they can provide these for you.
Vegetables and herbs: Additions like carrots, celery, onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary will add flavour and nutrition to your broth.
Vinegar or acid: A vinegar or acidic wine will help to draw nutrients from the bones into the broth. An organic apple cider vinegar is a favourite.
Time: A broth needs to simmer at a low heat for a long time to extract nutrients from the bones and joint tissue. The simmering time will depend on the type of broth (fish, beef, chicken, vegetable) and can vary from 4 to 48 hours. Generally we like to let it heat and simmer at least overnight.
Cooking: It can be hard to find a way to easily cook the bone broth for such a long time on a low heat. One way is to use a regular slow cooker on low, or even “keep warm,” then use a simple wall-plug timer and alternate the power from on to off every 30mins or so. This allows heat to be applied, which is stored to a sufficient level during the “off” intervals to keep cooking the broth. It also stops the broth from “overcooking” or heating too hot. Broth can also be made in a pressure cooker.
Bone broth is a great addition to the diet at any time. From first thing in the morning alongside your whole-food breakfast, through to the base for a soup for dinner on a cold night. Try different bones, vegetables and cooking times. Stay tuned for next week when we share our favourite bone broth recipe!
Dr. Mercola. Bone Broth—One of Your Most Healing Diet Staples. 2013 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/16/bone-broth-benefits.aspx
Fallon, S. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. 2001. New Trends Publishing.
Dr. Axe, J. Bone Broth Benefits for Digestion, Arthritis, and Cellulite. 2014. http://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/