A few weeks ago I shared my first post in a series called 'My Gut Health', and I showed you how to make your own kombucha and your very own scoby (click here if you missed it). I was blown away by how many of you loved this post and used it to begin making your own kombucha, so today I wanted to share with you another ‘how to’; this time for (in my opinion) the best thing ever; Bone Broth.
Now first up let's strip away the fancy name for a second and get real with what this is. It’s stock. Beef/chicken/lamb/insert-animal-here...stock. And whilst it may seem like something that is hard to stuff up, there are a few bits and pieces that I have found to be critical in making sure the liquid you are creating is actually liquid gold, and not just meaty water.
I am going to base this post on broth of the beef variety today, because that is what I have been making and pretty much inhaling as of late. For those who are unaware of the health benefits of bone broth, let me give you a brief low down:
- It is rich in collagen and gelatin, and essentially rebuilds the lining of our gut (A big YAY! - I spoke all about this here)
- It contains glucosamine and chondroiton, which helps with arthritis and joint pain (another big 'yay' for me as I had some cartilage removed from my knee a couple of years ago after a snowboarding injury)
- It's amazing for our immune system (another big 'yay' for me right now as I recover from a bad cold)
- Plus a million other health reasons which you can read here on Sarah Wilson’s blog, where I got my original recipe from.
So how do you make it?
The basic process involves placing 2-3 kg of organic, grass-fed beef bones in a big old pot with enough cold water to cover the bones. ½-1 cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV) is added to help extract the minerals from the bones, and you allow it all to sit for about half an hour. If your bones have some meat still on them, it also helps to roast these first until they brown slightly, to help add extra flavour.
After allowing the ACV to do it's thing, you add in some veges (carrot, onion and celery work best) and bring it to the boil. Make sure you have some time up your sleeve here, because a big ass pot like that can often take up to an hour to start boiling. Once it is boiling, bring it down to a very gentle simmer and throw in some herbs if you like (I used thyme and peppercorns). Now comes the easy part – leave it on the stove, covered, at a gentle simmer for 12-72 hours. I have found that 36 hours works well for me (as well as being the limit of my patience levels) but this bit is really up to you. The longer the better. If you aren’t comfortable going to sleep with the stove on, then this works well in a slow cooker too.
Side note: If you are like me and feel the need to constantly check on the broth to ensure it is in fact simmering at the perfect temperature, this lady might help confirm for you what the perfect simmer is. Don’t let it continue boiling after the initial boil, as this will destroy all the good stuff we are so desperately trying to keep.
When your preferred number of hours is up, it’s time to strain all the goodness. (Note: In the recipes I researched, some indicated that at this stage the contents of the pot may look and smell rather gross and lumpy, but I didn’t find that to be the case.) After draining all the liquid into some smaller pots that actually fit into your fridge, allow it to cool in there for as long as it takes.
When you pull it out of the fridge, you will most likely have a thick layer of fat sitting on top of your broth. Skim this off (don't throw it away!) and a gelatinous broth will be sitting pretty underneath. The more gelatinous (or jelly-like) your broth is, the better and this will depend on the quality of your bones and the length of time you have allowed it to simmer.
So that is my first top tip – Always choose organic, grass-fed beef bones.
As you are essentially drinking the minerals of these animals, you want to be sure you are cooking with the very best and healthiest beef you can get your hands on. Same goes for any other animal bones you choose to use for your broth.
My second tip - Freeze the bone broth in small portions.
I made the mistake first time around of freezing the broth in big containers, and hence when it came time to defrosting a batch I had a lot of broth to use up in a few days. By freezing it in 2 cup portions, you can keep the broth for longer and just defrost what you need each couple of days.
My third tip - Have a cuppa before brekkie, along with your lemon water.
I seriously drink this broth like tea, and find that if I start my day with my warm lemon water followed by a cup of broth, I feel as though I have given my body the kick start it needs to tackle the day. Make it a habit and include it into your daily routine, don’t just rely on having it in your meals like stock. It's actually pretty yummy - especially if you add in some lemon juice, tumeric and salt when serving - heaven!
My fourth tip – Use filtered water.
Always. And be sure not to use too much water. The water level should sit just above the bones. If your broth is not gelatinous at the end, it is likely that you used too much water (or the bones weren't the best quality).
My fifth tip – Don’t bin the fat, store it in the freezer to cook with later.
It is nutrient dense, adds great flavour to your meals and is great for cooking at high heat. Just be sure that you have used organic, grass-fed beef, to avoid any fat-soluble toxins that can be present in the fat of conventionally grown animals.
So there we have it, everything you need for your own homemade bone broth – aka miracle juice. Store bought stock will now become a thing of the past in your world, and with every sip you are not only building that gut wall, but inching one step closer to the immune system of superwoman!
Do you make your own bone broth? Been wanting to give it a go? I would love to hear from you below. Also, don’t forget to share this with your mates – Bone Broth is too good not to share around!