Bone Broth. "Eat What Ails You."
I think that bone broth is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can consume. Although I appreciate all the amazing bone broth products on the market, I think that it's still the best to make this at home. Don't get me wrong, in a pinch I'll buy some bone broth from the store.
For any negative Nancys that may be reading this- No, Im not saying bone broth is going to cure you of anything. I am saying that it contains nutrients that support many things in your body. There aren't many foods that come close to the nutrient profile in this "superfood." Not to mention the fact that you're using the entire animal by making broth- nothing is going to waste.
Here are some of the nutrients that you will typically find in your bone broth-
- Collagen (protein matrix in bones, tendons, ligaments, etc.) is broken down into gelatin in the cooking process. This nutrient is critical for connective tissue (tendons and ligaments), remember you're only as strong as your weakness link! Who doesn't want to support their joints? Its also critical for healthy skin, hair and nails. This is probably my favorite thing about broth.
- Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). What in the world is that? There are several, the most common one is hyaluronic acid, a joint lubricant. This special gem may also help with skin, helping it to retain more moisture.
- Healthy fats, when you're bones are from grass-fed/pastured animals. Don't stress if you're not using bones from these animals, just make sure you skim the fat off the broth and throw it away. Unfortunately it's a more inflammatory fat when the animals are conventional raised. If you're able to get grass-fed/pastured bones- you're in luck! The fats have some anti-inflammatory properties, leave them with your broth! Healthy fats also help to calm the gut and aid in healing.
- Loaded with MINERALS- calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, etc. These are all critical for bone health, electrolyte balance and cardiovascular health. The amazing thing is that these are in their natural form, coming with all the components in the bones; SO much better than just "calcium" by itself. Let's get everything you need all at once!
- Glycine, an amino acid that can assist in stomach acid production and aid in digestion.
- Glutamine, an amino acid that aids in the healthy turnover of gut cells. Your need for glutamine also increases as stress on your muscles increase. A great benefit for athletes or anyone looking for an aid in workout recovery.
So what do you do now? What will you need?
- 6-48 hours in the crockpot. The longer you let it cook, the more gelatin rich it will become. It will also reduce more and more, so don't be surprised if you don't end up with much broth. You may want to start with just 12 hours to get comfortable and see how you like it.
- Mason Jars and/or silicone storage tray
- Bones. Chicken, beef, etc. Ideally these are coming from a local source, grass-fed/pastured is preferred (see fatty acid information above). For this post, I used bones from stew hens that I purchased from Weber Ranch in Ohio. Check them out HERE! I have also purchased beef bones from Canal Junction Farmstead, another local farm that you should look into if you're in the Toledo, Ohio area. You can also use bones from leftovers or meals throughout the month. As we have meals with bone in chicken, etc. I save them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Once I have enough to fill the crockpot- its time to make broth!
- 1-2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice
- Seasoning and Veggies (optional). I like a few peppercorns, garlic cloves, carrots and an onion. I keep it pretty simple, you're going to filter most of this out anyways.
1. Put bones, apple cider vinegar (or lemon), salt, veggies and spices in crockpot. Cover with water.
2. Turn on HIGH and wait until water boils, then turn on low for the duration of cook time.
3. Turn off, this could be anywhere from 6-48 hours later. Let cool until room temperature or manageable.
4. Scoop large bones and veggie pieces out of broth, discard. Strain remaining broth over cheesecloth into mason jar or sealable container.
5. Once its cooled, fat may be at the top. Remember, if your making broth from healthy bones then keep the fat! If you're using conventionally raised animals I would recommend skimming it off and discarding it.
6. The broth will keep for 5-8 days in the refrigerator. If you have more then you will consume in that time period, I would recommend freezing it. I use these silicon trays. This way I can freeze the broth in small amounts, store in a bag in the freezer and pull out 1-2 frozen blocks at a time.
How do I use this Super SuperFood?
- Sip on 2 ounces as a "sipping broth" or "tea." I warm some water and dilute the broth before drinking. Its actually a nice calming beverage in the fall and winter.
- Use when you're cooking! Add to stir fries, other soups or add a little when you're cooking rice. Its a great addition to most meals, super flavorful and nutritious.
Cheers to Broth!