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Bone Broth, a miracle food?

There's something about the words 'chicken and vegetable broth' that sound so soothing, so healing. 

Bone broth has been used in many cultures throughout the ages as a classic healing remedy and a staple base for a variety of meals. It's an integral part of many 'healing' diets today (like the GAPS diet) because it is so nutritious and easy to digest. In this post I'm going to share with you some tips to supercharge your bone broth with extra taste and nutrients. 

 Bone Broth

What are the benefits of bone broth?

When properly prepared, bone broths are extremely nutritious. Calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals are abundant in animal bones, all of which are required to form and strengthen our bones.
Connective tissues provide glucosamine and chondroitin, which are known to support joint health. Bone Marrow provides vitamin A, vitamin K2, and minerals including zinc, iron, boron, manganese, and selenium, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Collagen, a protein that turns into gelatine when cooked, releases numerous vital amino acids, and aids digestion. 
I'm going to quote the book 'Nourishing Traditions' by Sally Fallon here as she highlights just how healing broth can be:  'Gelatin acts first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been successfully used in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, including hyperacidity, colitis and Crohn's disease. Gelatin also seems to be of use in the treatment of many chronic disorders, including anemia and other diseases of the blood, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and even cancer.'

We could dive deeper into the science but I think you get the idea - bone broth is AMAZING!! So, let's get to the fun part...

How to make bone broth

Adding astragalus to my bone broth
You can make broth with any animal bones. But seeing as this is a healing food, you want to make sure you are using bones from organic, pasture fed & finished animals. 
  1. If I'm using beef bones I firstly I bake the bones (1-2kg) on 200°C for about 30 minutes. This gives the broth a more robust flavour. 
  2. Remove from the oven and place in your slow cooker.
  3. Add a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and fill the pot with filtered water to half-full. Let the bones soak for about 20-30 minutes. The ACV will help draw the minerals out of the bones. 
  4. Next add your veggies. I use 1-2 onions, 2-3 garlic cloves, 1-2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, 1 bay leaf, a handful of black peppercorns, and a generous handful of good quality salt.
  5. You can also throw in whichever herbs you prefer: I like thyme and parsley, but rosemary also works well.
  6. Fill the remainder of the pot with filtered water (about 2 inches from the top) and bring to the boil. In the first 20 minutes skim off any foam (impurities) that rise to the top and discard these.
  7. Leave your broth covered and simmering on a low heat for between 24-48 hours. I usually cook my broth for 24 hours, extract most of the liquid then add more filtered water and fresh herbs for a second batch. 

Broth tips

    • Broth can be cooked for up to 72 hours. The longer the cooking time the richer in minerals. If you have severe digestive symptoms a 2-3 hour broth may be more suitable to start off with. I've found that 24 hrs works really well. 

    • Try to include collagen rich parts of an animal - like organic chicken necks - they are cheap and a great addition to achieve a gelatinous broth. 

    • I usually make broth from 1 chicken carcass (I do a roast chicken dinner first) then put the carcass, leftover skin, juices etc as well as raw chicken necks into the slow cooker. 

    • Herbs take bone broth to the next level with healing 'powers' of their own. Try immune-boosting astragalus (pictured above), ginger to assist with colds and flu, or turmeric for inflammation. 

 Here is a link to my chicken broth recipe