Food is Medicine – Bone Broth

Bone-Broth-3-2I know what you are thinking; here it comes again, another blog about bone broth.  Why is this stuff suddenly the rage?  Why is everyone suddenly so enamored with this stuff?  And how is it any different from regular broth or stock?  Well, these are all good questions and hopefully, this Bone Broth blog will demystify these questions and more.

First, Bone Broth might seem trendy and the latest food frenzy, but it is far from new.  Bone broth is considered a traditional food which means is goes way back and has nourished many generations of our families.  They were considered the norm when our ancestors were accustomed to cooking and using the whole animal rather than just the most desired cuts purchased from the supermarket.  Traditional foods, as our ancestor knew them, were unprocessed, unrefined, and all natural.  Unfortunately, with the industrialization of food, traditional foods have nearly disappeared from the American table.  Bone Broth is certainly one worthy of a come-back because it is easy to make, relatively inexpensive, highly nutritious and will make your cooking taste even more delicious.

 The main differences between broth, stock and bone broth are the cooking times and what gets released from the bones over the course of a longer, slower simmering time required for bone broth.  Strictly looking at cooking times, a regular broth is usually somewhere between 45 minutes and 2 hours and stocks tend to be simmered a bit longer; 2-4 hours. Bone Broth simmering time is off the charts; 12-24 hours or more.  The cooking time will vary depending on what type of bones you choose to use.  For instance, poultry will take less time than cattle or bison.  Using bones that have previously been roasted will also enhance the flavor of your stocks or broths.

Whatever your desired result –broth, stock or bone broth, selecting high-quality bones from animals that have been grass-fed and pastured are key to making the most nutritious (and delicious) product.  Standard broths and stock still have many of the health benefits outlined below but tend to be lighter in flavor.  The long simmering times of bone broth are said to release rich amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and valuable trace minerals, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin which may help to alleviate joint pain.  Bone broth is also rich in gelatin.  Gelatin is largely composed of the amino acids, glycine and proline.  Glycine supports the body’s detoxification process and is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin.  Proline is needed for the production of collagen and cartilage.  However, gelatin’s value is not just limited only to cartilage and bones.  It also supports the skin, digestive tract, immune system, heart and muscle.  If you are wondering if your bone broth contains a good amount of gelatin, place it in your refrigerator for a couple of hours.  The consistency should become very gelatinous, like Jell-O.

While its health benefits alone should make you a fan of bone broth, it also adds exceptional depth to the flavor of your food.  It can create the basis of sauces or gravies, be added to soups, or used to sauté/roast vegetables.  So let’s hear it for bone broth!

Bone Broth Recipe:
2 lbs. bones
1-2 organic leeks, chopped
2 organic carrots, chopped
2 organic celery stalks, chopped
Parsley, Rosemary or whatever you have on hand
1 Tbl. Peppercorns
Sea salt to taste, added at the end

Put all the ingredients in a large pot of water and bring to a strong boil.  Then reduce the heat to a simmer and leave it simmering for the remaining time.  You may need to use a large spoon to skim off any foam that accumulates in the initial few hours of the simmering process.  Some folks suggest adding 2 Tbls. of Apple Cider Vinegar to the ingredients, as the acid may help leach out the minerals from the bones.  Feel free to add or omit any of the above veggies or herbs; they just add flavor to the final product and are especially nice if you are planning to drink your bone broth as a daily herbal tonic.  Once your bone broth is completed, strain the bones, vegetables and herbs through a fine steel strainer and cool completely.  Bone broth will keep well up to 5 days in the refrigerator or you can freeze it for later use.  I like to freeze some in ice cube trays that I can easily access for a quick tea when added to a cup of hot water or add a few to a pan of sautéing veggies.

Enjoy!!

post by Liz Wiley

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