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? Well, grab your Pond's... and cook up some bone broth. Here’s how to make it in your own kitchen, but quicker than grandma, using a slow cooker, and reap its many wellness benefits.
Bone Broth Benefits
According to Sally Fallon1, 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.” Made from the bones of chicken, fish, and beef, bone broth, she says “builds strong bones, assuages sore throats, nurtures the sick, puts vigor in the step and sparkle in love life.” Sign us up.
Fallon also claims bone broth can contribute to reducing symptoms or even healing 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.
If it sounds too good to be true... well, we get it. And science is still out on which – if any – of these benefits are strictly provable. Christine Zoumas, a clinical instructor of family medicine and public health at UC Santa Barbara, nevertheless tells PopSci2 that while we're still waiting for the peer-reviewed evidence that would confirm many of these claims, the placebo benefits on colds may be worthwhile anyway. If nothing else, bone broth is definitely delicious and comforting when you're feeling under the weather!
Bone Broth Nutrition
Bone broth is touted for its array of amino acids, fats, minerals, collagen, and gelatin.
Along with vitamin A and B12, iron, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus, bone broth purportedly contains easily absorbable calcium, magnesium, and silicon (though one 2017 study3 noted that "although dietitians and the media have widely promoted bone broth as a calcium supplement, no or only weak scientific evidence concerning calcium levels therein and preparation methods has been provided."
Bone broth's wide array of amino acids including glycine and proline help to form collagen and soothe and protect joints. Its richness in chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine – components in cartilage and tissue – is purported to reduce inflammation and soothe arthritis and joint pain, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation4.
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 radiant outsides and insides. 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 (read our guide to the best collagen here).
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 farmer's market, a sustainable butcher, or a reputable health food store. When you've found your local source, call ahead and reserve a bag or two of bones. The popularity of bone broth means that the days of butchers pawning bones off on customers for free are over, and you don't want to come away disappointed!
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 (feet, neck, tail, ears, shank, etc.) and using more than one kind of animal (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! Yep, instead of the energy and time required to cook it in a large pot like Grandma did, we recommend resorting to this more modern hack for an easy, tasty result.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 2 pounds pasture-raised bones, unfrozen (chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, beef, or a mixture)
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks, celery roughly chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 bundle fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Filtered water
- Place bones in slow cooker and add carrots, celery, onions, and herbs.
- Fill the slow cooker with water so the bones and vegetables are covered. Add the apple cider vinegar, which will 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, discard all the vegetables, herbs, and bones. Strain the broth over a large pot with a fine mesh strainer to catch any 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.
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