Over the last 6 months the words ‘bone broth’ has slowly taken over the internet, celebrity chiefs, social media, fashionable diets trends, holistic health or nutritional experts are raving about this ‘new superfood’ and its heroic health benefits. So, what’s the big deal about this magical liquid?
What is bone broth?
Simply put, bone broth is literally made by simmering animal bones in filtered water, apple cider vinegar, herbs and spices, between 6 to 48 hours. Yup, it’s just bones and water folks! Broths historically were more common in the pre-industrial times when family households were more productive in making homemade meals and ensured no parts of the animals cuts used were thrown away unnecessarily. Worldwide many cultures used bone broth as the foundation of many healthy meals because of its versatility, combined with the ease in making it.
What do you do with it?
My question is: what can’t you do it? The versatility of this liquid is quite amazing. When first learning about how to incorporate broth into my life I tended to stick with the traditional: soups or by itself. Now I try to use it in as many things as possible ranging from:
- Using it instead of water: an excellent way to get kids or fussy eaters to have it without knowing.
- A base for gravy or sauces.
- Incorporate in curries and stews.
- Hiding it in desserts… yeah there is a way.
Why do it?
Apart from being super easy and super cheap to make there is a pretty big list of why to include broths in your life, my favourites are:
- An excellent source of protein
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- Boosts the immune system
- Improve the body’s detoxification process
- Maintains or improves gut health
- Enhances nutrient absorption from food
- An awesome way to fight illness and sickness
- Helps to improve hydration levels from its electrolyte levels
- Extremely soothing and calming on the stomach
- Aids digestion
- High in gelatin encouraging skin, hair and nail health
- High in collagen supporting joint health
- Anti-aging properties
How to make it?
Just in case you are still unsure how to make it, here is step by step on how I make my own batch:
- Go to the butchers/shops/markets and buy either chicken/pork/fish/lamb/beef bones. Try to buy organic, grass-fed and pasteurized bones not commercial farm stuff.
- Preheat the oven at 200 degrees (C)
- THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL: Mix the bones with ghee (clarified butter) on a roasting tray and leave to roast for an hour. This adds extra flavour when you make the broth.
- Get the vegetables you would like to use in your broth. I always use garlic, onion (or leek) and ginger. HEALTH TIP: If there are vegetables you don’t particularly like but want to include in your diet chuck them in, which means you get the nutrients without eating them.
- Combine everything into a slow cooker.
- Fill the slow cooker with filtered water only. NOTE: water containing fluoride and chlorine are hazardous to your health and ideally should not be consumed at all.
- Add apple cider vinegar, a few whole peppercorns and bay leafs as well.
- Turn on the slow cooker and cook everything for around 24 hours.
- After 24 hours check the stock to see how it’s looking. A good test to see if the bones have been cooked long enough is to squeeze them and if there are brittle and weak it’s ready.
- Strain the broth by either using a sieve or cheesecloth, leaving a nice coloured liquid.
- Allow the broth to cool and if you want skim the fat off the top you can. HEALTH TIP: I keep the fat in my broth as fat is an excellent source of energy for the body, aids digestion and improves health.
- Once cooled either store the liquid in the fridge (lasts a week) or freezer (lasts for 3-4 months), make sure you date your broth just to be on the safe side.
- Whenever reheating the broth, ensure it’s on a stove top on a low heat. HEALTH TIP: NEVER do this is the microwave as it will destroy the broth’s healing properties.
- A clever way to store broth and save freezer space, is to simmer the broth on stove top on a low heat until it is reduced by half. Make sure you mark on the freezer container that the broth needs to be thinned with water when reheating.