Bone broth is having a moment. But unlike some other wellness trends (looking at you shake-weight workouts and extreme juice cleanses), bone broth is a tried and true elixir that’s been made for centuries. In fact, your grandma was most likely making bone broth on the regular. Want to be like Grandma? Here’s how to make bone broth in your own kitchen and reap its many wellness benefits.
Bone Broth Benefits
According to Sally Fallon, traditional wellness pioneer and author of “Nourishing Broth,” bone broth is “a cure-all in traditional households and the magic ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine.” This broth, made from the bones of chicken, fish, and beef “builds strong bones, assuages sore throats, nurtures the sick, puts vigor in the step and sparkle in love life.” Sign us up.
Fallon also notes bone broth to be healing for the common cold and flu, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, adrenal fatigue, anemia, osteoporosis, leaky gut, anxiety, menopause, nervous system disorders, food allergies, and heart disease.
Although research on bone broth is limited, some small studies have shown benefits of drinking bone broth. A study from the University of Nebraska medical center found that the amino acids produced when making chicken stock (or broth) reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. Dr. Axe notes that research is proving bone broth to have immune boosting properties, plus the ability to reduce allergies, asthma, and arthritis flare-ups.
Bone Broth Nutrition
Bone broth’s superstar nutrition status is due to its wide array of amino acids, fats, minerals, collagen, and gelatin.
Along with vitamin A and B12, iron, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus, bone broth contains easily absorbable calcium, magnesium, and silicon, vital for whole body health. Bone broth is also packed with a wide array of amino acids including glycine and proline that help to form collagen and sooth and protect joints. Specifically, bone broth is filled with chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine–components in cartilage and tissue noted to reduce inflammation and soothe arthritis and joint pain.
Bone Broth: Skin Rx
Each sip of bone broth delivers a dose of skin-loving collagen (composed of the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine) for both radiant outsides and insides. In fact, celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley are hooked, and wellness gurus swear by the stuff for youthful and supple skin.
New York City skincare expert, Julia March, is a huge fan of bone broth’s skin-boosting properties. “I highly recommend it to everyone who wants clear and firm skin,” March notes. “Bone soup contains minerals that nourish the skin cells, and they calm inflammation in the body—and consequently on the face as well.”
Collagen, the main protein found in animal connective tissue, delivers these skin-boosting effects. Consuming collagen has been shown to significantly improve skin elasticity, increase moisture, and increase the density of the dermis, the thick layer of skin beneath the epidermis. Collagen is abundant in bone broth, so sip away!
All About The Bones
Sourcing bones for homemade broth is a big deal. Not just any bones will do.
Bones from pasture-raised animals not fed artificial ingredients or given hormones and steroids are the very best choice for your broth. Source quality bones like those from your local farmers market, a sustainable butcher, or health food store. Call ahead and reserve a bag or two of bones. More than likely, the butcher or farmer will be happy to have you taken them off their hands, and may even discount if purchased in bulk.
Bone broth can be made from a variety of different animals including chicken, beef, bison, lamb, fish, and pork. In fact, using different parts of the animal within broth (feet, neck, tail, ears, shank, etc.) and using more than one kind of animal in the broth (i.e. chicken and beef) is one of the best ways to reap a variety of different minerals and an abundance of gelatin and collagen.
Although using bones from feet and necks may sound a bit intimidating, it is truly one of the best ways to use a whole animal–an important sustainability commitment. Bone broth makes use of a byproduct, therefore reducing food waste and honoring the life of an animal.
How To Make Bone Broth
Grab your bones, herbs, and slow cooker! Here’s how to make bone broth in the most delicious and easy way possible.
Although the broth making process can be done with a large pot on the stovetop, a low and slow cooking method with a slow cooker is the most desirable – and safe – method.
Yields about 2-3 quarts
2 pounds of pasture-raised bones, unfrozen (chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, beef, or a mixture)
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
A bundle of fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
Place bones in slow cooker and add in carrots, celery, onions, and herbs.
Fill the slow cooker up with water so the bones and vegetables are covered and add in apple cider vinegar (necessary to break down the bones and marrow).
Turn slow cooker on high for eight hours.
After eight hours, turn down to low heat for the remaining amount of time. Chicken and turkey bone broth is done after 24 hours of cooking, while beef, lamb, and pork bone broth needs 48 hours to cook. If doing a mixture of bones, cook for 36 hours.
Once broth has finished cooking, spoon out and discard all the vegetables, herbs, and bones.
Strain the broth over a large pot with a fine mesh strainer to catch any bones or other bits you may have missed.
The final product can be stored for up to six months in freezer-safe containers, such as mason jars, or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Use bone broth in soups or stews or simply drink a mug in the morning with breakfast.