Bone broth might seem like a fairly new healthy buzz, but it’s actually a concept that has been around for hundreds of years. From indigenous cultures to classic French cuisine- bone broth is nothing new. However, recently it has stepped into the spotlight- and with good reason!
The Bone Broth Health Claims
Bone broth claims range from, “it’s better than botox” (Huh?) to, “it healed my leaky gut.” (Is that even a thing?) While the ridiculous claims are many, these are some of the more legitimate health claims related to bone broth:
- Improves digestion
- Enhances immunity
- Strengthens joints and cartilage
- Improves hair, skin and nails
- Strengthens bones and teeth
- Improves liver function
The medicinal effects of bone broth have limited scientific data to support these claims, but the theory behind bone broth makes sense. Bone broth is filled with bone marrow, collagen, minerals from bones, and gelatin which contains amino acids like glycine and proline- all of which are believed to have incredible health benefits on the body.
Did I mention it tastes amazing too?
How to Make Bone Broth
You can make bone broth using any healthy animal bones. A healthy animal is the first step to making this magic liquid. Look for grass-fed, pasture-raised or wild-caught animal bones. A good place to start is a local butcher or your farmers market. Stores like Whole Foods even sell animal bones. You want to use a combination of joint bones and marrow bones. Once you have selected the animal bones you are using, you can select a combination of herbs and vegetables to add for flavor.
For this bone broth recipe I used a slower cooker. I don’t know about you all- but it’s highly unlikely I will have a free 24 hours to watch the oven or stove top. Recipes for bone broth can even be done in an instant pot.
Ingredients for Beef Bone Broth
3-4 lbs beef bones with marrow (that includes 1-2 joint bones if available)
2 medium carrots
3 stalks of celery
2 medium onions
5-6 sprigs of your herbs of choice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
*Other flavoring and herb choices: bay leaves, garlic, parsley, thyme
- Gently wash and dry produce. The produce you choose to add is for flavoring, and all of it is optional and can be changed for your desired flavor profile. Peel and roughly chop carrots to add a little sweetness to the bone broth. Roughly chop celery. Peel and roughly chop onion.
- Optional step to roast the bones. This also changes the flavor of the bone broth, both ways taste great in my opinion- so I recommend trying them both to see what you prefer. If you want to roast the bones- preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and roast them for 60 minutes on a baking sheet.
- Place all the veggies and bones in a large slow cooker. Add your herbs of choice- I used 3 sprigs of parsley and 3 sprigs of thyme. Add your peppercorns and salt.
- Next, add the liquids. Add the apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar helps to extract nutrients from the beef bones but will not affect the the delicious flavor. Fill the rest of the slow cooker with water until everything is totally covered. You want about a half a gallon or 2 liters of water for 3-4 pounds of bones.
- Turn the crockpot on high until the liquid begins to boil, then drop the heat down to low for 12-48 hours. You want it to be a rolling simmer that barely moves the surface of the water. You might even need to drop the heat down to warm on the slow cooker to achieve this.
- Check the slow cooker occasionally. Skim off any foam that forms on the top and add more water as needed. Everything must stay covered in liquid.
- Keep an eye on the slow cookers cooking cycle. Reset as need to make sure it’s always simmering and doesn’t turn off. Most slow cookers will only allow the timer to be set for 20 hours at a time.
- The bones will start to crumble when you have extracted all the possible nutrients from the bone. This will usually start around 24 hours of simmering depending on the bones.
- Once the broth is done, set a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Gently pour the slow cookers contents through the strainer. Discard the solids.
- You can put the mixing bowl directly in the fridge or transfer the broth into whatever you want to store it in, like jars or silicone molds. These make for easy storage in the fridge or freezer. Place the containers uncovered in the fridge for several hours. I just leave mine in the fridge over night and finish the process in the morning. A layer of fat will form on top as they cool. Scrape this layer off and discard.
- The bone broth will be a jello-like consistency when cooled from the collagen and gelatin from the bones, but when reheated it will turn to liquid. If your broth didn’t form into a gel- don’t worry! You still are getting a lot of nutrients. This will happen if you didn’t have joint bones to use or didn’t have enough. This can also happen if you add to much liquid or boiled the broth too vigorously.
- Once the bone broth is fully cooled- cover your containers and store. The bone broth can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.
Ways to Enjoy Your Bone Broth
You have this delicious and nutritious bone broth, now what? You can use it for anything you would use a regular broth for. Here are some ideas to get those creative culinary juices flowing:
- Bone broth is delicious by itself in a mug or small bowl in the morning or at night. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon, a little salt and pepper or some hot sauce- and enjoy!
- Make yourself a bowl full of ramen, which is simply noodles and broth when you get to the bare bones of it. Add a meat, soft boiled egg, seasonings and toppings like scallions and sprouts- and now you’re a pro! The recipe possibilities are endless with ramen.
- You can use bone broth to make delicious soups and stews like zucchini, turmeric and coconut soup or a hearty meatball and vegetable soup.
- Add some bone broth to a mashed potato dish instead of dairy for a tasty substitution.
- Use the bone broth to make a healthier gravy. This sneaks in nutrients on those comfort food dishes we all love for holidays and special occasions.