Have you jumped on the bone broth bandwagon? Bone broth has become trendy and popular in food circles lately, but you may be surprised to learn that this food has traditionally been used as a health tonic for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, and other cultures.
How bone broth is different
- Soup broth is made from meat and vegetables and is typically very light since it only cooks for about one hour, or less.
- Cooking stock contains meat, vegetables, and some bones and is therefore heavier in flavor than broth, but still is usually only cooked for up to 4 hours.
Bone broth, on the other hand, is made with vegetables and several pounds of animal bones and cooks for up to 24 hours. This length allows gelatin to be produced from the collagen present in the bones, and tons of minerals from the bones to be released. After cooking for 24 hours, the bones should crumble when pressed lightly since the minerals are now found in the broth itself and are no longer present in the bones.
Health benefits of bone broth
Besides the benefit of utilizing the whole animal when making bone broth, and letting nothing go to waste, there are also countless health benefits.
Bone broth can support kidney and adrenal health, bone health, immune function, and has a wide range of benefits for the GI tract including helping to heal leaky gut and helping with both diarrhea and constipation. Because of this last benefit, bone broth is a key component of the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet, which has helped with disorders such as autism, which some studies show may be linked to gut health.
It acts as an anti-inflammatory, and the broken down cartilage and tendons from the bone contain naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which are sold separately as supplements for arthritis and joint pain. Bone broth is also beneficial for hair, skin and nails. The minerals released from the bones, including magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and trace minerals, are in a form that is easy for your body to absorb.
The two most important rules for making bone broth
1. When preparing bone broth, the quality of the bones used should be a top priority.
Whether you are buying bones from your local butcher, or are using leftover bones from a meat-based recipe, you always want to make sure you are buying from animals that have been organically-raised, and pastured or grass fed for their entire lives. Any other animals are going to be fed an unhealthy diet that potentially contains hormones and antibiotics, which their bodies are not designed for. This leaves you with an unhealthy animal, which will directly affect the quality of the minerals in your broth.
2. The quality of the water used to prepare the broth should be taken into consideration.
Fluoride and chlorine are added to most of our water supply, which already contains a host of contaminants so make sure to use filtered water. The broth can be made with different types of vegetables, so follow the recipe below loosely. If you are sick with the cold or flu, adding hot peppers to the broth will help thin mucus. Vinegar must be used, as it acts as an acid which helps leech the minerals from the bones.
2 – 3 pounds of bones, including neck and back bones
4 quarts filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic head, halved
2 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley
Place everything, except the parsley, into a large stock pot or crock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat (or switch slow cooker to low) and simmer, covered, for 24 hours. Turn heat off and add parsley. Remove bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon, and strain remaining broth through a strainer, or sieve. Store in glass containers for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or 6 months in the freezer. Broth can be enjoyed daily and is best taken first thing in the morning.
Post and recipe by Michelle
Photo credit: Elleprimadonna.deviantart.com