You may realise by now that I am a great believer in the teachings of our ancestors and traditional cultures. Bone broths have been, and continue to be staples in the traditional diet of many cultures and the basis of fine cuisine. They were used regularly by our forbears at times of healing and convalescence. Like many traditional healthy foods, bone broths went out of vogue, but they are making a comeback and becoming deservedly recognised for their extensive range of health benefits.
Bone broths - beef, chicken, fish, lamb and more - are nutrient-dense, easy to digest, rich in flavour and boost healing.
Bone broth or stock was a way our ancestors made use of every part of an animal. Bones and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments that can't be eaten directly, can be boiled and then simmered for a day or more. Simmering releases healing compounds, such as collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine.
Nutrition researcher Sally Fallon of the Weston A Price Foundation explains that bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others.
Bone broths also contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. These compounds are popular supplements taken for arthritic pain and inflammation, and can be obtained from your daily soup and meals.
As well as these nutrients, bone broth is also a great way to access a range of valuable amino acids, gelatine and trace minerals. Actually, many nutrients found in bone broth are not as easily obtained from other commonly eaten foods.
Bone broth can be useful for:
¦ Supporting and repairing the digestive system - and consequently leaky gut syndrome, food intolerances and allergies.
¦ Improve joint health - reducing arthritic pain, inflammation and discomfort.
¦ Reduce cellulite.
¦ Boost immune system.
Chicken soup / broth has traditionally been used for years to treat colds and flus. It has been found that the amino acids that are produced when making chicken stock reduces inflammation in the respiratory system and improves digestion. These anti-inflammatory properties may also assist in the management of disorders such as allergies, asthma and arthritis.
Most store-bought stock and broth today are not genuine. Instead, companies use lab-produced meat flavours, and make them into flavour cubes, soup and sauce mixes. Excessive salt and sugar, MSG and other artificial flavourings are often added to commercial stocks to enhance flavour. Your broth should be naturally flavoursome.
If you want real bone broth and real bone broth benefits, it is best to make it yourself at home. See the recipe below. Ideally it is best to use organic bones.
How to Make Bone Broth
There are a few important basics to consider when making good stock. You can make bone broth with animal components alone, but it is thought that the combination of animal products and vegetables has synergistic effects, working together to be more beneficial than either alone.
Sally Fallon says that it's important to use body parts that aren't commonly found in the meat department of your grocery store, things like chicken feet and neck.
The basic ingredients include bones, fat, meat, vegetables and water. If you're making beef or lamb broth, brown the meat before putting it into a stock pot. Fish and poultry do not need browning first. Adding apple cider vinegar to your pot helps draw the minerals from the bones.
1. Place bones into a large stock pot and cover with water.
2. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water prior to cooking.
3. Fill stock pot with filtered water. Leave plenty of room for water to boil.
4. Heat slowly. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for at least six hours. Remove scum as it arises.
5. Cook slow and at low heat. Chicken bones can cook for 24 hours. Beef bones can cook for 48 hours. A low and slow cook time is necessary in order to fully extract the nutrients in and around the bone.
6. You can also add in vegetables, such as onions, garlic, carrots and celery, for added nutrient value.
After cooking, the broth will cool and a layer of fat will harden on top. This protects the broth beneath. Discard only when you are about to eat.