No matter what time of the year it may be, I love having a jar of bone broth in my fridge. Bone broth is not the same as regular broth, which I'm sure we all have on hand to add to many dishes.
Bone broth is one of the traditional ways our ancestors used every part of the animal. Using the whole animal was not only a way to recognize and be thankful for the food it offered them, it was also a great way to extract nutrients from parts of the animal that were difficult to eat. Broths and soups have been a staple in cultures around the world for centuries each one has added their own twist, using herbs, vegetables and animals of the region. While flavour profiles may differ, there is a a common understanding that broth is a nutrient-dense healing food.
In addition to a common love of broth, many cultures have been simultaneously practicing culinary herbalism for centuries - traditional bone broths typically call for medicinal plants in order to create healing tonics and elixirs. Herbs like ginger, astragalus, seaweed and medicinal mushrooms such as reishi and shiitake are added to increase the nutrient value of the broth.
To make broth, bones, ligaments, tendons and marrow are boiled with an acid over a period of hours to days to extract calcium, magnesium, collagen, glutamine, manganese, sulphur and other important nutrients, in an easy to digest form.
Thanks to the cooking process, collagen, gelatin and the amino acids they are built out of are also more bio-available, giving you the building blocks you need for great skin and nails, not to mention their powerful anti-inflammatory affect internally! L-glutamine, an amino acid, is also a key component of maintaining healthy gut lining.⠀
To sum it all up, here are the main benefits of bone broth:
Easy nutrient absorption
Contains necessary amino acids
Supports healthy skin and nails
Supports immune function
Supports a healthy digestive system
If this wasn’t reason enough to enjoy homemade grass-fed bone broth, adding powerful immune boosting herbs like reishi, shiitake, astragalus and kelp is also another great reason to get cooking tonight! (post on these great herbs coming soon!)
While some of you may be traditionalists, happy to sip bone broth the way it is, you can also enjoy bone broth in the following ways:
Whipped up into a savoury elixir
As a soup base
As a gravy base
As a tomato sauce base
As a replacement for water to cook vegetables or rice for added nutrients
Try adding a cup of broth to your diet on a daily or weekly basis to help keep your immune system strong and your gut happy and healty during the winter months!
Herbal Bone Broth
2 lbs grass-fed beef bones (mixture of marrow + joint bones)
1 herbal bouquet garni
(fresh parsley, rosemary, savoury, dried reishi or shiitake mushrooms)
1 white or yellow onion, halved
4-6 garlic cloves
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Roast bones, onion and garlic @ 350, turning bones until all sides are browned, roughly 30 min. Remove and place in your slow cooker.
Fill crock-pot 3/4 with water, add vinegar and allow bones to sit for 30 min.
Add bouquet garni, onions and garlic and any other herbs or vegetables if desired. Set to low and cook for 18 - 72 hours.
Strain though a sieve or cheesecloth and store in fridge or freezer. Broth with become gelatinous once refrigerated.
To reheat, simply heat slowly on the stovetop