As a kid, my parents always cooked everything from scratch. As we are from an Italian background, we ate a Mediterranean style diet. This involved lots of vegetables, meat, pasta etc; simple ingredients that packed a lot of flavour. We grew some things in a veggie patch and bought fresh produce. My dad would also regularly come home with crates of fruit and veggies from the local farmers that he knew. Our house was always full of fresh food and as a result, there was always something being cooked. Bone broth was one of these things…except we called it stock or soup. For years I grew up with these wonderful smells in the house but never really understood the benefits obtained from eating such foods…until recently.
I started making my own bone broth only this year. I don’t know why it took me so long as it is super easy to do, requiring very little effort. I was looking for other ways to maintain my gut health as it has been a problem in the past and I wanted to find ways to maintain its health by consuming food rather than taking probiotics. (Not that I don’t promote probiotics, I took them for a year or more and I believe that coupled with diet, helped heal my gut. But, they are expensive and don’t always provide the variety of strains that you get from different probiotic foods) So I was ultimately looking for a more sustainable and effective option. In learning also that bone broth was good for muscles and repair, I found that it has completely ceased all leg cramps that I used to get when on LCHF…bye bye 6am crying and grabbing my calf muscles!
As you probably know, homemade bone broth is making a comeback as people start to take their health into their own hands, looking for solutions to problems that doctors cannot solve. Funnily enough though, it is something that has been made and used in cooking for a long time and it is now being touted as a super-food…and it truly is!
In fact, the hipsters of New York have started drinking broth as a substitute for the morning coffee (except me…I am not a hipster) and with good reason. Whilst it may not provide the instant benefits of caffeine, bone broth is a natural multivitamin, helping build immunity and staving off illness. The healthy fats are great for you, making it very much a part of the low carb high fat diet and can be consumed as a “snack.” It helps keep you focused and gives you sustained energy. How awesome is that!
In addition, bone broth is incredibly rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, silicon, sulfur chondroitin, glucosamine and other trace minerals [1. Dr Mercola.] The bones, particularly the big chunky beef ones along with skin and connective tissues, contain lots of gelatin. Gelatin has been known to help the gut and for its anti-inflammatory properties that help in times of stress or illness (amino acids such as arginine and glutamine [2. Paleo Leap.]). It is also known for improving the quality of hair, skin and nails as well as increasing energy levels…sounds awesome right?!
Here’s a table taken from Dr Mercola’s website that brings all the information together…
|Helps heal and seal your gut, and promotes healthy digestion: The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestion||Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, etc.: A study4published over a decade ago found that chicken soup indeed has medicinal qualities, significantly mitigating infection|
|Reduces joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage||Fights inflammation: Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects. Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis5 (whole-body inflammation).Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better|
|Promotes strong, healthy bones: As mentioned above, bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation||Promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth|
So now you know all the good stuff…to the recipe!
HOME-MADE BONE BROTH
I used to make chicken broth only because I love the taste but I now combine all bones (beef and chicken) because I simply want to make the most nutritious broth I can. As mentioned, the big beef bones contain loads of gelatin and other minerals, amino acids etc. When refrigerated, the broth becomes like a jelly. It is awesome!
However, if you want to stick with chicken broth (as it is delicious and definitely nutritious), here is the recipe:
- 2 free range chicken carcasses
- 6-8 chicken feet
- Any other chicken bits you can think of, the more the better…think necks and any bones you have left over from your Sunday roast (you can freeze them if you’re not ready to use immediately)
- 4 pieces celery, including leaves, washed and chopped roughly
- 2 carrots, washed and chopped roughly (no need to top and tail, just chuck in)
- 1 onion, chopped in quarters
- whole head garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Bag of grass-fed beef bones or get the butcher to cut up
- Chicken bones (optional if you want to mix, the flavour will still be beef)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt to taste
I don’t bother adding in any veggies to this recipe but you can definitely do the same as the chicken broth recipe as it will add more flavour.
Optional (for both recipes… but don’t put them all!):
- Bay leaves
- Coconut aminos (not liquid aminos)
- Red Onion
Put everything in the slow cooker and fill it to the brim with water. Cook for 20-30 hours on low (yep, the longer the better). This will allow the chicken bones to disintegrate completely so the nutrients from inside the bones are obtained. If adding red onion/lemon to the slow cooker, cook only for the last 30-45 mins.
According to Sally Fallons[3. Sally Fallons.], adding parsley in the last 10 mins is said to add important and healthy mineral ions to the broth.
The flavour options listed above are really for your preference. Try some and see what you like.
Once cooked, strain and put into jars. When in the fridge/freezer, the broth will become seriously gelatinous and a thick layer of fat will form on the top. I usually scrape off the fat, put it in another container and use it for cooking.
Freeze what you won’t use immediately. Make sure when freezing to leave space in the jar as the liquid will expand and potentially break the jar if too full.
Once made, drink daily. The more the better. I typically drink two cups but there’s always room for more. In addition, I use it to sauté veggies in as it packs a punch full of flavour with the obvious nutritional benefits. Finally you can also use it as a base for soups, adding in anything else you so desire.
Make a batch every week if you are cooking for more than one or every fortnight for one person.
I hope you love this recipe and enjoy the benefits that come with drinking bone broth.
Do you make bone broth? What’s your hot tip on how to make it more nutritious or tasty?
Love (and healthy fats) Bee x
Sources and References