The health benefits of bone broth, and a recipe.
By Amy Crawford
Brewing bone broth is, I find, a strangely satisfying and therapeutic process, albeit a rather smelly one! My freezer is typically bulging at the seams with bone broth portions - ready to heal my gut, flavour my food and saute my greens. This stuff is liquid gold.
According to an old South American proverb, "good broth will resurrect the dead". While that's undoubtedly an exaggeration, it speaks to the value placed on this wholesome food, that has survived the test of time.
The broth from grass-fed beef bones or organic chicken bones is an extremely nutritious liquid. During the boiling process, the bones release minerals into the broth, allowing the body to absorb them easily. Bone broth promotes optimal health due to its high antioxidant, vitamin and essential mineral content. By Incorporating bone broth into your dietary routine you may then experience a whole range of benefits.
The health benefits
1. Hair, skin and nails.
The collagen and gelatin in bone broth supports hair growth, skin regeneration and assists in keeping your nails strong.
2. Gut health.
Bone broth can assist in the healing of a leaky gut. The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and assists the digestion of nutrients.
3. Bone growth and repair.
The calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in bone broth helps our bones to grow and repair.
4. Infection fighting & recuperation from illness.
Homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding healing and recuperation from illness. You've undoubtedly heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold, and there's scientific support for such a statement.
Chicken bone broth will contain a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily. Note that processed, canned chicken soup will not work as well as the homemade version made from slow-cooked bone broth.
5. Reduces inflammation.
The glucosamine in bone broth can actually stimulate the growth of new collagen, repair damaged joints and reduce pain and inflammation.
6. Promotes relaxation.
The amino acid glycine found in bone broth can be very calming, a great preparation pre-sleep.
As you can see, there are a wealth of reasons why you might start incorporating bone broth into your diet. The preparation of said bone broth however comes with a warning - be prepared for 2 to 3 times of pungent bone broth odours! I try and time my preparation for those times I am not expecting guests.
My bone broth recipe
Makes: approximately 4 litres (given how long it takes to prepare this broth I recommend making large quantities).
You will need:
3 kilograms organic bones (including some meaty bones)
4 carrots, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 onions, quartered
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
2cm knob ginger, sliced
1 small bunch parsley
1 dessertspoon pepper corns
1cm slice of fresh turmeric (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Place non meaty organic bones (important to buy organic when making broth) in a large saucepan/crockpot and cover with water and apple cider vinegar (the apple cider vinegar helps leech the minerals from the bones and is an important part of the process).
Roast your meaty bones on an oven tray for 30 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven and place cooked bones into the pot, adding more water to ensure all bones are well submerged (you made be adding up to or more than 6 litres at this time). At this time add the carrots, celery, ginger, turmeric and onions. Bring to the boil over medium heat and add peppercorns.
Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, lid on, for 48-72 hours. Add the garlic and parsley within the last 2 hours of simmering.
Remove from heat and allow the pot to cool completely. Remove the bones and, using a colander, drain the liquid broth into a large stainless steel bowl. Discard bones and vegetables. Carefully place the bowl of broth into the fridge to cool, allowing the fat to solidify on the top. As per the photo below, removing the fat is a very simple process. Discard the fat or if you choose, you may use it for cooking.
Whatever stock I am not consuming within 5 days I like to freeze in portions, including an ice cube tray. Defrosting one cube of bone broth is a great addition to wilted greens or your favourite stir fry.
How to consume bone broth?
1. As a hot tea
My favourite way to consume bone broth. Simply heat a cup full to a simmer in a small saucepan and then pour into a mug and consume as you would any other hot drink. Often I add a little miso and some sea vegetables to the brew. Drinking at night before bed will effectively coat your gastrointestinal tract and promote digestion throughout the night. A mug before sleep has a calming and relaxing effect as mentioned above. If you'd like to add further flavour to your tea, why not try adding fresh grated ginger, fresh herb leaves or a sprinkling of your favourite spices. Another great addition is to add a teaspoon of pure organic coconut oil in just before serving.
2. To prepare gluten free 'grains'
Bone broth adds flavour and protein and most importantly digestibility to your grains. Replace all or part of your liquid with the broth when cooking quinoa, or buckwheat or even rice if you so choose.
3. To cook vegetables and prepare soups
Bone broth can also form the basis of many soups and sauces. Prepare your green veggies in the broth in a frying pan for fantastic flavour. Add a cube (pre-frozen on ice cube trays) to your favourite stir fry, use in place of stocks when preparing soups. Why not try adding miso to your dishes to accompany too?
Remove the broth from the fridge and discard the fat from the top. A rather gross but satisfying experience!
Straining the broth through a colander, separating the bones and stock vegetables from the broth liquid. You will of course discard all that you see here!
I'd love some further broth inspiration! How do you like to include homemade broth in your diet?