I’m going to go ahead and assume you have at least heard the words ‘bone broth’ at some point in the last few years. Maybe you’re an avid user, you might use the boxed stuff in your soups, or maybe you don’t even know what it is! Either way, I’m here to give you the low-down on what exactly bone broth is, the benefits and why you might want to incorporate this powerhouse into your routine – especially during cold and flu season.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is the flavorful stock made by taking animal bones from poultry, fish, beef, etc. and boiling them in water for an extended period of time, typically with vegetable scraps and fresh herbs to add more flavor and body. The end product, if done right, is a gelatinous, mineral-rich, nutrient-dense powerhouse broth that you can use in place of boxed stock for cooking or even drink from a mug.
What are the benefits?
There’s a reason your grandma gave you chicken soup when you were sick! Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing modality and as an effort to use the animal from nose to tail. This nutrient-dense broth is also chock-full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous – all of which are essential for bone health. It is also particularly known for its abundance of two amino acids, proline and glycine. These two amino acids are the building blocks of all connective tissue – the proverbial “glue” that holds our body together. Connective tissue is found in nearly every system in our bodies – the cartilage of our joints, the cells of arterial walls, and the lining of our digestive system. We need these two amino acids to heal not only gaping wounds but also the lining of our digestive tract and the microscopic damage done by inflammation and infection in the body. These two amino acids plus the healing abilities of collagen, aid in repairing the lining of your small intestine and ultimately supporting immune function. In fact, glycine is also known to support our immune system by helping to regulate and reduce the activation of inflammatory cells in our bodies. Pretty neat, huh? These amino acids also play a crucial role in the detoxification process, promoting brain health, regulating bile production for fat digestion and many more important functions. This delicious broth really is a powerhouse ingredient.
How do I incorporate bone broth?
As you can see, bone broth is an incredible nutrient-dense way to support your joints, bones, digestion, cardiovascular health, detoxification pathways, immune health and even blood sugar regulation. If you’re working on a healing protocol or feel you need extra support during this season of cooler temps and changing routines (and a little less sunshine), then I would highly recommend incorporating bone broth into your routine. You can use bone broth as you would chicken stock or the boxed broth you’d find on your grocery shelves. Use in soups, stews, sauces, and pretty much anywhere that calls for broth or stock. I also enjoy it straight up in a mug with some fresh garlic, ginger, thyme, sea salt and pepper.
Where can I find this nourishing broth?
Great question! I have included a simple recipe for homemade bone broth below. I like to make a big batch about twice a month and freeze it in silicone molds for easy access. As mentioned above, I use it in soups or stews, and even enjoy it warmed up in a mug. There are also a number of pre-made bone broth options, if you prefer. Just be sure that the packaged broth you are purchasing is organic and from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals. Quality and sourcing is key and I recommend checking your frozen section first as this is likely to be the freshest!
Homemade Bone Broth
When making this delicious, healing broth, always make sure you are using organic vegetables and herbs and bones from pasture raised or 100% grass fed, organically raised animals. You are concentrating the contents of these vegetables and bones into a stock, so you want to make sure you aren’t also concentrating a bunch of pesticides and other toxins.
- 1 carcass from pastured chickens (can also use any leftover bones collected from bone-in chicken, I always collect ours in a bag kept in the freezer)
- 1-2 lbs. grass-fed beef marrow bones
- ½ lb. pastured chicken feet (optional, but highly recommended)
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- Filtered water
- 1 organic onion, roughly quartered
- Organic celery, roughly chopped
- Organic carrots, roughly chopped
- Organic garlic cloves
- Fresh organic parsley
- 1 organic bay leaf
- Place all bones in a large crock pot and pour apple cider vinegar evenly over the bones. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Pour enough filtered water into the crock pot until bones are just covered.
- Set on high heat and allow to cook for 12 hours.
- At the 12-hour mark, add in veggies and herbs, if using. Cook on high for another 12 hours.
- When the broth has cooked for 24 hours, turn off the heat and allow it to cool until you are able to handle it. Pour stock into a heat safe bowl through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
- Place broth in fridge for 24 hours so the fat can rise to the top.
- Discard fat layer from the top of the broth and divide broth into freezer safe containers.* Broth can be stored in freezer for up to 4 months and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
*Note: I like to freeze my broth in ½ cup silicone mold trays so that I can take out a cube or two whenever I need broth. Then you don’t have to worry about thawing a whole container of broth when you only need a few cups.