Bone broth consumption was much more common generations ago when our ancestors made use of animal parts that couldn’t be eaten by simmering them for days. (It has returned with the new nose-to-tail eating philosophy.) To this day, bone stock forms the foundation of culinary traditions around the world. But more recently, it also became a health movement. Bone broth is a star of the Paleolithic diet, something to sip instead of the tea and coffee that are off-limits to its followers. With the popularity of intermittent fasting, bone broth is even made as a breakfast item. The protein content with broth will keep you satiated throughout the day.
Slow cooking allowed the bones and ligaments to release compounds and minerals; 19 easy-to-absorb essential and non-essential amino acids like collagen, magnesium, and calcium in a form that can be easily absorbed by our body. It’s a source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. It’s also rich in glycine and proline, anti-inflammatory amino acids superstars of gut health and digestion, and essential building blocks to a strong immune system and muscle repair. Glycine has also been shown to significantly improve sleep and cognitive function. Bone broth also contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as expensive joint supplements for athletes to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain. Bone broth also helps maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut and decreases autoimmune disease symptoms by fighting against food sensitivities and food allergies. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and plays a major role in strengthening hair and nails and giving us smooth and firm skin. Hyaluronic Acid contained in bone broth is given as an injection to arthritis patients to lubricate their joints and is contained in expensive anti-wrinkle creams.
What bones to use?
Try to use organic bones. All meaty bones, such as ribs or bones with marrow, are also good for making bone broth. The most important thing about selecting bones is that they are from healthy, pastured animals. Toxicity in animals accumulates in bones and organs. Bone marrow easily absorbs any toxins introduced into the system, meaning any broths made with inorganic bones are likely to contain pesticides, insecticides, lead, and growth-stimulating hormones. Organic farmers do not use any synthetic chemicals in the soil, do not use genetically modified components, nor expose the food and livestock to irradiation. Most people consuming bone broth are trying to heal some ailment, so having a toxic-free broth is essential.
Roast the bones
I roast my bones for a couple of hours with olive oil on the “broil” function in the oven. My favorite bones are oxtails (they create amazing gelatin), bone knuckles, and chicken feet. J But you can just get simple “soup bones” and experiment from there.
Collagen is the glue that holds our cells together. (The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.) The amount of collagen in the broth depends on the type of bones one uses. Make sure you include some larger bones like knuckles or feet (like chicken feet), which will contain more cartilage and, therefore, more collagen.
You can start with standard vegetable broth, adding root vegetables, onion, garlic, tomato, dry mushrooms, celery, and spices. I moved away from this to just pure bone broth because the unadulterated broth could be used more versatilely in other dishes, such as curries and miso soup.
Crockpot or the stove top methods
You can cook bone broth on the stovetop, which I used to do, or in a crockpot. I switched to a crockpot because I could leave the electric crock pot mostly unattended. I usually start Friday evening with roasting the bones and keep cooking (on low) until Monday evening when putting the soup in jars and freezing. Just keep adding hot water periodically when broth evaporates while cooking. Adding 1-2 tbs of vinegar to cooking broth helps to extract the minerals from the bones and create an even more nutritionally potent broth.
Freezer for versatile use
Frozen broth can be stored in the freezer up to a year and in the fridge for a week.
Collagen is what you are after
One can assess the quality of the finished product when cold – when the gelatin is visible. If your finished product looks like this, you struck a “pot of gold” of amazing saturated and supper healthy collagen. (collagen is visible only when the broth is cold).
If your broth does not look jiggly or did not gel, it’s generally one of two reasons. First, you might not be using enough bones (or enough of the right type), or you simply might have added too much water. Bones with more visible cartilage will yield more gelatin. Another common reason is that the broth was not cooked long enough.
Bone broth: It is a good thing!
Information contained here is not intended to treat or cure any diseases or provide medical advice.
Community Services Librarian
Kansas City, Kansas Public Library
625 Minnesota Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66101
913-295-8250 ext 1103