Now that the weather is cooling down, it’s a great time to start making some bone broth. I started experimenting with and consuming bone broth a few years ago when I first read Nourishing Traditions. Before this time I was completely unaware of the benefits of drinking what some people refer to as “stock”. I knew that stock was essential for adding flavour to many many dishes but didn’t realise the myriad of health benefits that an authentic bone broth can deliver.
Bone Broth is easily one of the most powerful healing foods that we can consume. Our ancestors knew this intuitively that is why they inevitably always had a pot of bones and vegetables slowly cooking for many hours and even days. Bone broth cooked in water with vinegar added (for necessary acidity) will slowly leach minerals and nutrients from the bones into that water. A good bone broth contains nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace nutrients essential for healthy bones and much more. This nutrient rich elixir has been found to contain glycosaminoglycans which are said to support skin and tissues – even promoting younger and more collagen rich skin.
Bone broth done properly should resemble a bowl of jelly once cooled. This amazing gelatin is a source of protein, which has been linked to support of degenerative disease, improved hair and nails and more recently healing the gut.
This exerpt taken from Nourished Kitchen explains the benefits of bone broth from a Chinese Medicine perspective –
Bone Broths & Traditional Chinese Medicine From within the traditional Chinese paradigm, bone broth nourishes our kidneys, supports our vital essence (chi), and builds blood. Who wouldnʼt benefit from another bowl of soup? Bone tissue relates to the kidneys according to Chinese medical theory. So, given the theory of like supports like, consuming bone tissue will support the kidneys and therefore the bones (including the teeth). The Chinese medical perspective includes the adrenals as part of the system they call the kidneys. So, bone broth directly supports adrenal function. It is recognized that the adrenals perform so many hormonal functions vital to our immune health. Adrenal fatigue is another one of those ʻelephants in the living roomʼ that so many of us in the real food movement are talking about yet remains unheard of in mainstream media.
I aim to drink a little bone broth every week and as much as possible, not only to improve my bones and muscles but also to keep my skin young, support my adrenals and heal my gut.
Here is a recipe from Nourishing Traditions that I use on a regular basis.
1.8 kg of beef marrow or knuckle bones
1.5 kg of meaty bones
4 or more litres of filtered water
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
3 onions chopped
3 carrots coarsely chopped
3 celery sticks coarsely chopped
1.Place your meaty bones on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 180 degrees until browned.
2.Meanwhile throw the marrow bones and chopped vegetables into the pot you will be using with the water and vinegar and allow to sit while the meaty bones are browning.
3.Add browned bones to pot and deglaze the roasting pan with hot water, adding the fat and juices to the pot. Add any additional water needed at this time.
4.Now for the fun part – bring the pot of veges/meat to the boil and use a large sized spoon to remove the scum that will form on the top. It is important that you remove all of this scum.
5.Reduce heat and simmer for 12 – 72 hours. The longer you simmer, the richer the stock will be. (I put my boiled stock into the slow cooker at this point and set to low).
6.Once you have cooked the stock to your desired time,allow to cool then remove bones and veges with a large spoon or tongs and then strain liquid through a sieve to remove any remaining bits. Leave stock to cool to room temperature then refrigerate.
7. Remove fat from top of cooled stock and use/store as needed. I usually spoon my gelatinous stock into containers and freeze so I always have it on hand.
***The nutrient density that bone broth delivers means it is super important that you use quality ingredients. Bones MUST be at least grass fed and ideally organic. Water must be filtered and all other ingredients must be organic.