We’ve Got Bones (and broth!)
Bone broth and how it can help heal you
Every few days folks come in to find bones for broth. It is no wonder, with all the benefits of regularly consuming bone broth, why wouldn’t you buy some bones to make your own? Ok, ok, there are a number of reasons why you might not, including the very long cooking times, but really the negatives are outweighed by the positive tenfold.
So you may ask- what exactly are the benefits of bone broth? What’s the big deal? Why does it have to be “healthy” bones?
There are countless articles out on the interwebs that discuss the benefits in depth, so I am going to keep this quick and dirty and move on to the making of broth. So, here we go:
- Bone broth contains a variety of nutrients and minerals that are important for your body including- calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur chondroitin, glucosamine, and a variety of trace minerals. Why is that important? Can’t you get that from a supplement? Yes… and no. When you consume foods that naturally contain certain nutrients and vitamins, they are more bioavailable for absorption. That means that your body can actually use all those nutrients much more effectively.
- Hydrophilic colloid. We all talk extensively about “gut health” and why it is important. (if you are unfamiliar, that will be a whole other article) but did you know that the hydrophilic acid present in bone broth is a gelatin that helps to hold liquids in place like the ever so important digestive fluids that help your digestion.
- Bone broth helps you fight infection by reducing inflammation. Did your mom ever give you chicken soup for your cold? Probably. Did you know that aside of just making you feel cozy, it was actually part of your body’s healing? Yes!
Making Bone Broth:
Making bone broth doesn’t really require any heavy instruction or require any complicated equipment. Planning ahead, you can have gut healing bone broth ready to go every day. Here are a few tips and directions for getting the most out of those bones.
- Choose healthy bones!
I cannot stress this enough. You know how if you cut down a tree, you can see the rings of the tree and with some research learn a great deal about the health of the tree from year to year. Our bodies, while very different, are somewhat similar. As we grow (mammals) the nutrients and minerals that we consume are present down to our bones. Of course the converse of this is that all the bad things like pesticides, chemical treatments and more are also present in our bones. Additionally, the fats in our bodies hold the highest amount of the chemicals and bad stuff that we have consumed, been administered or been exposed to. So, logic would state that if we consume an animal who was treated with lots of antibiotics, hormones, chemicals and more, that we would be consuming those as well, right? Indeed. With our bones being the rings of our tree, we need to be sure that the bones we use are sourced from healthy animals that were forage fed, pastured, grass-fed and finished and free of all GMOs. This sounds a little daunting, but honestly, the bones are the cheapest part of the animal, so even if you can’t afford to eat 100% grass-fed/finished meats, splurge on those bones. (and choose organic for the meats if when not choosing grass fed/finished)
- Different treatment for different bones
Each type of animal bones requires slightly different cooking times to get the most out of the bones. A seasoned bone broth maker rejoices when they get a resulting broth that is so jelly that you can turn it over without any spillage once it’s refrigerated. (you don’t know joy until you have totally jelled your broth). Follow these guidelines to cook your bones for the best result:
Chicken: 12-24 hours, cook until the bones can be crushed or broken by hand
Pork: 24-48 hours (bones will still be firm, but softer)
Beef: 24-48 hours (bones will still be firm, but softer)
Can’t leave your bones that long? The longer the cooking time, the better flavor and nutrient value, generally speaking. But that doesn’t mean if you only cook your bones for 12 hours that you get nothing, so forge ahead!
- Good water
Just as with anything, the resulting product is only going to be as good as the materials used to make it. Start off with purified water so that you don’t have the added fluoride and chlorine affecting you.
4 quarts water
2-4 lbs healthy bones (chicken, beef or pork)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (like Braggs) or white vinegar
2 stalks celery
4 cloves garlic
- Add the water and bones to a crock pot or heavy bottom pot.
- Roughly chop all the vegetables and add to the pot.
- Set the crock pot on low and allow it to cook for 12-24 hours (or more depending on the bones you are using)
- When your broth has finished, using a strainer, strain the broth and use as desired.
You don’t have to add those veggies if you don’t want to, but they will give you a pretty tasty broth at the end of the day (or several days). Additionally- you can get the very most of your bones by first using them to make a meat stock (simply boil the bones with your clean water for 10-15 minutes) and then once you get your meat stock, transfer them to a crock and add more water and continue to cook. In our family we love getting the very most out of our meats so using the bones to make a quick soup and then bone broth is our normal.
Because it can take some time, we do have fresh bone broth now available at Kickshaws on a regular basis. If you can’t find it in the refrigerator, we might have it at the kitchen ready for a hot cup of gut healing goodness.