There was a time when all soup broth was made fresh, with vegetables, herbs, meat, and the bones from the animal, be it fish, poultry, or steer. But as soup became a canned convenience food, bones were often left out of preparation. Today, bone broth has made a resurgence for important health reasons, including supporting the structures of the musculoskeletal system.
While it’s not possible to acquire exact measurements of each nutrient contained in bone broth (every batch is different depending on ingredients), we do know it contains a wide variety of nutrients. In preparing bone broth, you are simmering animal bones and connective tissue, which are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and other trace minerals that our own bones rely on to maintain strength and contractility.
During cooking, the collagen found in bone and connective tissue transforms into a gelatin and releases amino acids into the broth. Amino acids (AA) are the building blocks for proteins that help form muscles, other tissues, and facilitate cellular activity in the body. For example, the AA glycine is used by the body to form tendons and ligaments, which support joints. Another AA, arginine, reduces inflammation. Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which are associated with healthy bones and joints.
You can use bone broth as a base for soups and entrées, as a marinade, or, depending on how it’s seasoned, you might like drinking it. There isn’t a specific recommendation for drinking bone broth. Because bone broth is not necessarily good for everyone, check with your health practitioner about adding it to your ongoing health-building strategies.
Recipe: Organic Bone Broth for Wellness
Nutrient-dense, home-cooked bone broth is easy and inexpensive to make. The key ingredient, of course, is the bones. Whether you choose chicken, duck, turkey or beef bones, select organic and grass-fed whenever possible. The key benefit of bone broth is the minerals extracted from the bone; you want to be sure you have the best ingredients. This broth can be made on the stove top, slow-cooker, or with an Instant Pot, which saves you a lot of time. Homemade broth/stock can be used as the liquid in making soups, stews, gravies, sauces, and reductions. It can also be used to sauté or roast vegetables.
2 lbs bones from a healthy source
1 gal water
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 large carrots
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 TBSP salt (optional, or to taste)
1 tsp peppercorns (optional)
herbs and spices of your choosing (to taste)
2 cloves garlic (optional, shallots can be used instead)
1 bunch parsley
- If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first, for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Place the bones in a large stock pot or the Instant Pot.
- Pour cool filtered water and the vinegar over the bones. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available.
- Rough chop and add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot.
- Add any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs, if using.
- Bring the broth to a boil. Once it has reached a vigorous boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until done.
- During the first few hours of simmering, remove the impurities that float to the surface. A frothy/foamy layer will form and it can be easily scooped off with a big spoon. Do this every 20 minutes for the first 2 hours. Grass-fed and healthy animals will produce much less of this than conventional animals.
- Simmer for 8 hours for fish broth, 24 hours for chicken, or 48 hours for beef.
- During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley, if using.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.
- Add the garlic and parsley to the pot if using, place the lid on the pot, and set valve to seal.
- Cook at high pressure for 2 hours, followed by either a quick release or natural pressure release. Either is fine.Let cool slightly, strain, and store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.