Tastes good, feels good, easy and inexpensive to make.
—by Nicole deVaney
The latest health craze has been around for thousands of years. In most countries today, people continue to use bones, hooves and feet to create bone broth.
Back when most people were raising or hunting and butchering their own meat, using the castoff and inedible parts of animals to make food provided much needed nutrients. In reviving the tradition of using the whole animal, we are also accessing the wisdom of our ancestors—wisdom which is now being affirmed by modern science.
The biggest difference between bone broth and other meat or vegetable broths/stocks is the time spent simmering the meat and bones. While a typical broth simmers for less than two hours, and stock for three to four hours, bone broth should simmer for a very long time, typically in excess of 24 hours, until the bones are soft enough to crush between two fingers. This process allows the bones and joints to release the gelatin and nutrients that make bone broth such an important health food.
In her cookbook The Nourished Kitchen, Jennifer McGruther points to some of the many health benefits of this ancient food. “Bone broths,” she writes, “are extraordinarily rich in protein, and can be a source of minerals as well.” Glycine, a common amino acid found in high-protein foods such as meats, fish, and bone broths, “supports the body’s detoxification process and supports digestion through the secretion of gastric acids.” McGruther happily presents a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, published in 2000, confirming chicken broth as a remedy for upper respiratory infections.
Bone broth is a game changer when it comes to sustaining good health. It tastes good, feels good and is cheaper then most vitamins and minerals that are sold in health food stores.
If you are interested in using bone broth and don’t have the time to create it, there are stores that sell it and websites that will deliver it. Make sure if you purchase your bone broth that it comes from a freezer and not a shelf, real bone broth will not stay good on a shelf.
Bone broth recipes range from simple to elaborate and there are many differing opinions on the correct ratio for bones to water. Just a few important guidelines and gadgets will make your bone broth journey a little easier. Once you have done it a couple times, you will begin to have an eye for how much your recipe needs and your taste buds will guide the way.
Items you will need:
• A large stock pot or a crock pot
• Bones (quality of the bones is most important; whatever type of animal you are using, choose organic and pasture raised)
• Filtered or spring water (no sense in drinking fluoride if you are trying to heal your bones)
• Veggies of your choice (I love onion and garlic for its flavoring and health benefits but using a variety of veggies will add all the enzymes that you would want from a good veggie stock)
• Apple cider vinegar (makes bones porous)
• A good quality sea salt
• Chicken feet or cow hooves (makes your bone broth more gelatinous)
• Broiler pan
• parsley, cilantro or fresh garden herbs
• Lard or extra fat (sold cheap at health food stores)
• 1-2 pounds of bones per gallon of water. You will need to add water over time as it simmers. This would be the time to use the hooves, feet and extra fat if you opted for these ingredients.
• 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar per gallon of water. Vinegar opens up the bones, allowing more minerals into your broth.
• Optional: Broil bones for 20 minutes until they are golden brown. This will add a nice golden hue to your broth.
• Simmer your bones low and slow. A stockpot with a partition keeps the bones from sitting on the bottom of the pan and burning. Crockpots are perfect if you are concerned about leaving the oven range on while you are away from home. Here are some suggested times to simmer different bones:
• Beef broth/stock: 48 hours
• Chicken or poultry broth/stock: 24 hours
• Fish broth: 8 hours
• Add your veggies the last hour your broth is simmering and salt to taste. I enjoy adding onions and garlic in the beginning but if you add all your veggies in the beginning you will boil out the enzymes. I throw in heads of cabbage sliced in half, whole carrots, stocks of celery and unpeeled onions. Herbs go in after you have removed the pan from the heat but the water is still hot.
• Some people spoon off the fat and particles that float to the surface. I don’t.
• Allow the soup to cool naturally or place the pan in a cold bath. Once your recipe is cool enough to touch, filter out the bones and veggie with a strainer and bottle up your broth. Keep a week’s worth in your refrigerator. Freeze the rest.
Ways to enjoy your bone broth:
• Drink your broth as a replacement for one of your cups of coffee or tea. Paired with meals, it will aid in digestion.
• Use the broth to cook a roast in and use the juice to make a gravy for the roast.
• Boil artichokes in bone broth for an added dose of nutrients. They say you should save your artichoke water because that is the healthiest part. By using the bone broth in my fridge this is easy to do.
• Make a bowl of pho (Vietnamese soup). Dice fresh veggies, sprouts, cilantro and meat of your choice into a bowl. Pour bone broth over the top. Add a little sriracha.
• Use it as a base for your favorite soups.
• Cook pasta or rice with bone broth.
• Use it in place of water to puree baby veggies.
• Use it in place of milk for mashed potatoes
• In cases of stomach bugs or vomiting, bone broth often calms the stomach very quickly and helps shorten the duration of the illness.
Nicole DeVaney is a holistic health coach, CHEK practitioner and mom. She co-owns Iron & Salt, a fusion health facility which includes a kitchen, state-of-the-art private gym space and assessment center. www.nicoledevaney.com
Where to buy them
Real Foods Market: 385-351-2664 (Sugar House). Grass-fed organic beef bones, $5/lb. They also make beef ($6.29/qt.) and chicken ($3.99/qt.) bone broths on Thursdays.
Snider Brothers Meats: 801.272.6469 (Highland Dr). Offers all-natural beef femur bones (no hormones or antibiotics). 3 lbs. for $4.39.
Harmon’s: 801.428.0366 (downtown). Has organic beef marrow femurs and pork bones.
Whole Foods Market: 801.824.9060 (Trolley Square). Has femur bones that are not organic but are from “Step 4” beef.
Dan’s: 801.583.3271 (Foothill). They have plenty of bones but none are organic. Ask the butcher.
Smith’s: 801.328.6000 (4th S). Rarely carries bones.
You may want to call before so the butcher can prepare the bones for you. Real Foods has bones bagged and ready for broth-making in their freezer section.
— Jane Lyon