Spending time cooking during the winter months often leads to delicious soups, crock pot meals, and casseroles. It tends to be the time for those delicious and warm comfort foods, typically creamy and carbohydrate driven. I encourage you to put away those less healthy recipes and consider adding bone broth to your meal planning… for a lot of reasons!
What is bone broth? When we talk about bone “broth” it is more often that we are really talking about “stock,” which is the more nutrient dense than broth. It is made by slow boiling healthy animal bones and other parts like feet, skin and tendons. As the bones break down, minerals, amino acids, and collagen are released into the liquid, making it thicker and more gelatinous. It can be used as a base when making a soup or simply warmed and drank on its own.
Why should you include bone broth in your lifestyle? The benefits of bone broth are quite expansive. Unlike the creamy casserole that may lead to bloating, inflammation, and weight gain, bone broth brings a lot of health to the table! As we trend toward a low-carb lifestyle, many people are thrilled to find out that bone broth is Paleo-friendly. It is also highly encouraged for people doing Intermittent Fasting. When the window for eating is limited choose more nutrient-dense options to get the biggest benefits! Here are just a few examples:
- Boosts immunity
- Fights inflammation
- Strengthens bones and teeth
- Promotes weight loss
- Builds muscle
- Improves hydration
- Improves digestion
Why should you make your own bone bone? Just like any other store-bought products broth and stock also contain added preservatives and chemicals to make it shelf stable. One of the most common additions is MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG can be highly inflammatory for some people, can cause migraines, or even create allergic reactions. Additionally, the density of nutrients is often less compared to when you make it on your own.
Yes, bone broth takes a long time to cook, but there is very little prep work to be done. You simply need someone home for safety since the stove top is on for upwards of 8-10 hours! Here is an easy recipe that may just change your life. Sip your broth knowing you’re treating your body well!
Bone Broth Recipe
- 2 pounds or more of bones from a healthy source
- 2 chicken feet for extra gelatin optional
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- Optional: 1 bunch of parsley 1 TBSP or more of sea salt, 1 tsp peppercorns, additional herbs or spices to taste. I also add 2 cloves of garlic for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- You’ll also need a large stock pot to cook the broth in and a strainer to remove the pieces when it is done.
If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. I place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350.
Then, place the bones in a large stock pot (I use a 5 gallon pot). Pour (filtered) water over the bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available.
Rough chop and add the vegetables (except the parsley and garlic, if using) to the pot. Add any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs, if using.
Now, bring the broth to a boil. Once it has reached a vigorous boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until done.
During the first few hours of simmering, you’ll need to remove the impurities that float to the surface. A frothy/foamy layer will form and it can be easily scooped off with a big spoon. Throw this part away. I typically check it every 20 minutes for the first 2 hours to remove this. Grass-fed and healthy animals will produce much less of this than conventional animals.
During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley, if using.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.