Tradition and Nutrition in a Cup: Your Guide to Bone Broth
Bone broth is a nourishing food in many different traditions around the world. It is made by boiling the bones of an animal for a long period of time (overnight, or even for over 24 hours) in order to extract all the minerals and nutrients. Bones are usually roasted first to improve the flavor, and the resulting broth can be sipped on its own, or used in any recipe that calls for stock or broth.
Bone broth contains gelatin and amino acids, which are excellent for rebuilding tissue. It can help connective tissue like joints and ligaments.
While bone broth is probably not a miracle food that will erase your wrinkles overnight, getting amino acids and minerals could definitely have long-term health benefits. It is also low-calorie, high protein, and it can reduce waste. Bones that may have otherwise been thrown out at your local butcher shop can get put to good use by making a rich bone broth to freeze and have on hand.
Like any other food, try to get the best quality possible. Choose bones from grass-fed cattle, bison or lamb, pastured chickens, or wild-caught fish. Use organic vegetables, especially for the vegetables that are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list.
Basic Bone Broth Recipe
- 2 pounds of bones
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 8 cups of water (more if needed)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- sea salt and pepper to taste
1. If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. Place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350.
2. Place the bones in a large stock pot. Pour (filtered) water over the bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available.
3. While the bones are soaking, roughly chop the vegetables. After the 20-30 minutes are up, add the vegetables (except the parsley and garlic, if using) to the pot. Add any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs, if using.
4. Bring the broth to a boil. Then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered, for the amount of time allotted below if boiling on a stove. If using a slow cooker, cook covered on low for 8-24 hours:
- Beef broth/stock: 48 hours
- Chicken or poultry broth/stock: 24 hours
- Fish broth: 8 hours
5. During the first few hours of simmering, you’ll need to remove the impurities that float to the surface. A frothy/foamy layer will form and it can be easily scooped off with a big spoon. Throw this part away. Check it every 20 minutes for the first 2 hours to remove this. Also occasionally add more water if needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged.
6. During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley, if using.
7. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use. Note: when chilled, broth will become gelatinous due to the collagen content.
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