What is Bone Broth?
It is a broth (thin, clear soup) made from boiling the bones of animals.
Our ancestors (hunters and gatherers) were very good at not wasting any part of the animals they caught for food.
Once they got down to the bones, these were boiled to make a highly nutritious soup that they knew had healing properties.
Today we understand these components of bone broth in more depth:
What are the health benefits?
- support gut health
- help digestive health issues such as leaky gut
- improve muscle recovery
- relieve joint pain
- promote healthy skin
- boost the immune system
- support weight loss
How to make your own bone broth
You start with making a big pot of bones and vegetables and let it simmer. Sounds simple right?
Choose the bones that you want to flavour your bone broth. You can mix it up and have different types of bones in there together (such as lamb and beef, or beef and pork) or keep them all separate and just make a fish broth. Choose as many bones as you can that have joints, connective tissue and especially that marrow middle section too – lots of goodness comes out of there! You can roast your bones first to give them a richer flavour.
This is totally up to you – choose veggies you love to eat and maybe add one or two that you wouldn’t eat on their own, but would enjoy the flavour they add to your broth.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
You need to add something to you bone broth mixture to encourage the collagen and other goodies to come out of the bones. You can use vinegar or wine. You only need a splash, say about a tablespoon.
4. Other enhancers
Further ingredients can enhance the flavour and therapeutic benefits of your bone broth include: garlic, ginger, turmeric, sea vegetables (eg. kelp), medicinal mushrooms and a variety of herbs and spices.
5. Cook it
Let it simmer (on the stove or in a slow cooker) for at least 8 hours. You can leave it for a little longer (up to 24 hours) but any longer and it can increase the histamines too much and cause an inflammation response rather than reducing it.
How to pack away your bone broth
Think about how you want to use your bone broth first to help you decide how you will pack it away (hint: read the next two sections first).
Once your bone broth has finished cooking, allow it to cool and remove any fat deposits that float and gather on the surface. It will need to be strained of any bones, meat and vegetables – I use another large saucepan to catch it all as I filter it. You can then package it up into glass jars (remember to leave at least 1-2cm of space at the top especially when freezing) or use muffin trays or ice cube trays and freeze your bone broth in easily accessible chunks.
If you leave it to cool in the fridge this is the consistency it should have due to all the collagen and gelatin released from the bones.
How to make your own gravy
My favourite way to use bone broth is to make gravy. My kids love gravy (who doesn’t!) and they get gravy at least once a week with their dinner. I cook my bone broths in separate flavours (chicken, beef, lamb and pork) so I can make each of them separately into gravy depending on the meal I’m serving.
1. Add a few muffin sized pieces of frozen bone broth into a saucepan
2. Mix up about 1/4 cup of cornflour and water in a small bowl
3. Once the bone broth has melted and is nice and warm (almost boiling), add half the cornflour and water mix and stir quickly
4. Slowly add more cornflour and water mix until the gravy is at the desired consistency (you can have it nice and thick or runny)
5. If you’ve cooked any meat for the meal, especially if it is a roast, add the meat juices (minus any oil or fat sitting on top) from the roasting pan after it has finished cooking to your gravy and stir
Different ways to use your bone broth
The best thing about bone broth is the versatility of it. You can simply drink it like a warm cup of soup but there are also plenty of additional ways to get the goodness from it into your diet almost daily if desired.
1. Add some to your smoothie
2. Add some to your casseroles and bolognaise mix (see above pic)
3. Add some to your soups
4. Add some to mashed or pureed vegetables
5. Use it to steam meats such as chicken or steak strips
6. Add some to water while cooking pasta (see pic below), rice or quinoa
7. Use as part of the water content in jelly recipes
A vegetable broth alternative
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan and you need some gut healing and nutritious broth, here is how you make it:
1. Add some sea vegetables such as seaweed or kelp
2. Add some medicinal mushrooms
3. Add some spinach or kale
4. Add additional veggies you enjoy
5. Add some coconut oil or olive oil
6. Add turmeric
7. Add other herbs and spices to taste.