Nourishing Bone Broth
Bone broth is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do for your gut health. Below is my guide to making your own at home:
Bone broths are made by slowly cooking bones over low heat for a long period of time (often 24 hours or more). The process of cooking the bones over a gentle heat draws out healing compounds like collagen and amino acids, proline, glycine and glutamine from the bones and ligaments. It also draws out minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus in a form that is readily absorbed by the body.
You will need a large stock pot or slow cooker. I use this 6.5L Silit Pressure Cooker on the open (no) pressure setting. The steel core helps to distribute the heat gently and evenly and the lid helps to reduce evaporation during the cooking process. But any large pot with a lid will do.
Glycine supports digestion and detoxification and is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other naturally-occurring chemicals within the body. Collagen and gelatin supports good hair, skin and nail health, as well as digestive health. Proline enables the blood vessel walls to release cholesterol build ups into your blood stream and also helps your body break down proteins for use in creating new, healthy muscle cells.
Some of the reported benefits of bone broth include improved gut health and digestion; allergies; immune health; brain health; connective tissue; and increased hair growth/strength. We love to use it during and after a course of antibiotics or illness to help heal the gut and nourish the body.
Sourcing the bones
I feel it is essential to buy your bones from a trusted source. Given that you the whole idea is to draw out the minerals and nutrients from the bones, you want to make sure these come from a healthy, well nourished animal. Where possible, they should be reared on a natural diet and processed free of chemicals. I buy all of my meat and bones direct from the farmer or from a trusted butcher, so that I can ask questions about where my meat comes from.
Opt for bones with very little or no meat. Beef marrow bones, pork bones, lamb bones, chicken frames and feet. I save the bones leftover from roasting a chicken, pop them in the freezer until I have enough to make broth and add some raw feet for extra gelatin or an extra raw frame.
A word of caution
As with all foods, it's important to make conscious and informed choices about what suits our individual circumstances and needs. Bone broths, whilst healing and nourishing for most, can disagree with some. Bone broths and fermented foods can be high in histamine and not suitable for those with a histamine intolerance. If this is the case, opt for stock made using meaty bones with a short cooking time.
How to use it
If histamine intolerance is not an issue for you, there are plenty of ways you can use bone broth. Here are a few of my favourites:
Straight Up - I like to sip on a cup first thing in the morning. It takes a little getting used to but it's basically like sipping on cup of soup, without the bits.
Soup - use the strained broth to make a soup by adding meat and freshly chopped vegetables and simmering for a further 30 minutes.
Other dishes - use broth for cooking wherever stock is called for, think stews, sauces, noodles, gravies.
A whole food, paleo staple. Bone broth is the cheapest and easiest way to improve your gut health.
Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cook Time: 24 hours
1+ kg Good quality bones - I used 2kg of grass fed beef marrow bones from Gingin Beef
1 Onion, halved
1 bulb garlic - cut in half horizontally, optional skin on
1 Large Carrot - cut in half
2 stalks Celery
2 Bay Leaves
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Peppercorns
1 tbsp Himalayan Pink Salt or Sea Salt
OPTIONAL: Roast bones at 180 C for 20 minutes for richer flavour. This works especially well when using beef bones.
Place all of the ingredients in a large pot. Add water to cover, but be careful not to overfill. You want it to be no more than 2/3 full.
Bring to the boil.
After 20 minutes, scoop out any impurities (foamy/frothy bits) that float to the top (if there are any).
Reduce to lowest temperature, cover and allow to simmer for 24 hours or more, checking occasionally to make sure the water doesn't dry out. Add additional water, as needed.
Remove from the heat and strain out the liquid.The bones should be soft and brittle. Discard everything except the liquid.
You may like to add some additional water to taste. Depending on how much liquid has evaporated during the cooking process the broth may be quite strong.
Allow to cool and store in the fridge or freezer. I freeze mine in ice cube trays for easy use.
Other options: I save the bones leftover from roasting a chicken, I pop them in the freezer until I have enough to make broth and add some raw feet for extra gelatin. Pork bones produce a rich, gelatinous broth and lamb bones work well too. Any bones will do, just be sure to buy them from a trusted source.