What is Bone Broth?
Oh the things we do to stay young. If you haven’t heard of bone broth – it’s exactly as it sounds. Broth made with bones. It has plenty of collagen and is good for your skin and your stomach. For many, beef bone broth has a semi-ick factor, until you drink it. Then, it’s delicious.
So maybe you think drinking a broth made out of bones is gross. Well, before starting paleo, I did. I was naive and back then, I didn’t think twice about what was in the broth that I’d buy at the store. At least when you make your own, you know you’re using healthy bones from healthy animals.
Now, things are different. Forget bag lady – I’ve become a bone lady. I’m proud of it too. I buy bones on the cheap from local farmers and when I buy local and organic cuts of meat, I’ll sometimes buy bone-in and save those too. More bones = better broth = beauty.
So what is bone broth? It’s a mineral rich soup – with plenty of gelatin and collagen. It’s good for your gut and for digestion. It can also help with joint pain, thyroid issues and can help remove toxins. Here’s a good breakdown for why you should drink this stuff.
How do you make Bone Broth?
You can make many types of bone broth: Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Goat, Beef. For this particular bone broth recipe, I used beef marrow bones. Marrow bones are delicious and make your broth a beautiful and rich dark brown color. Grassfed beef marrow bones are more expensive than regular grassfed beef soup bones; use what you can get your hands on and as long as the bones are grassfed, you’ll see benefits. I cook my beef bones for awhile (45 hours) and add water to the crock pot as the broth is cooking. I make sure the water level is slightly above the bones – I don’t add too much because I like a concentrated broth. That way, I can drink a little and get a lot of benefit. I’ll say though – in the winter, I don’t mind drinking a lot of this stuff.
When you make this broth, you should first parboil the bones. Don’t skip this step. By boiling your bones (with a little white wine – a tip from my godmother, Mailan), you’ll remove or reduce impurities and scum from the broth. You’ll also remove some of that bone smell. Dump out the water, rinse your bones and put them in your slow cooker. Add any spices or vegetable scraps and then pour enough water to barely cover the bones. I set my beef marrow bones in my slow cooker and cooked on low for about 45 hours (you can do anywhere from 10 hours to let’s say 48 hours). Occasionally check on your broth and if the water level goes below the bones, just add a little more water. Strain your broth, put it in a container and let it cool. Then put it in the fridge for several hours.
When you take it out of the fridge, you’ll notice a layer of fat on top.
Underneath the fat you should see what looks like beef jello. The more jiggly it is – the more collagen you’ve got in your broth. It’s better than any pill and again, it’s supposed to help heal and seal the gut.
Should you save or toss the fat on top of the broth? Ask any of your paleo friends and they’ll probably have a strong opinion about this. Some save the fat and use it for cooking. Some throw it away citing possible toxins (if you’re making a chicken bone broth – the fat on top could be high in polyunsaturated fatty acids so you may want to toss that). Our paleolithic ancestors probably ate the fat. Really, it’s up to you.
Here’s what I do – I leave the fat on top of the broth until I’m ready to use it or ready to store it in the freezer. Then, I toss the fat. The fat is what keeps bacteria from entering the beef jello. My thought is that if it’s acting as a barrier between bacteria and broth… then I don’t want to eat it. That said, I’m not sure I won’t change my mind about this one day. It does pain me to waste what looks like delicious fat.
If you want to freeze your broth then I suggest scooping the jello into ice cube trays.
Once they freeze, put them in a ziplock bag – it’ll take up less space than a container.
So what can you do with Bone Broth?
Once you remove the fat, you can warm up the jello and drink it up.
If drinking broth isn’t your cup of tea, then use it the way you’d use a stock in any recipe (i.e. stir-fry, curry, stew, soup). I recently used bone broth to braise some veggies. It was amazing. Bone broth will add a rich beefy flavor to your food.
More questions about Bone Broth and Gelatin?
My friend Sylvie has written an ebook called, The Gelatin Secret, and it will teach you everything you want to know about gelatin, including why it’s good for you and how to use it to repair your gut and improve your health. Not only does she offer troubleshooting tips for making bone broth, she also provides delicious recipes on how you can incorporate more bone broth into your diet.
- 2 lbs beef marrow bones
- splash of white wine (only use for parboiling the bones)
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaf
- 2 inch ginger, cut in half
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- ½ tsp whole black peppercorn
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
- Bring the bones to a boil in a saucepan filled with water and a splash of white wine and then dump out the water (this helps rid of bone smell).
- Rinse the bones with water and then put them into a crock pot.
- Add your other ingredients and add enough water to barely cover the bones. Put the crockpot on low and cook for 10-48 hours. (I cooked for 45 hours). Check on your broth occasionally and if the water level drops below the bones, just add more.
- Strain the broth, put it in a container and let it cool. Once cool, put it in the fridge, and after several hours, skim off the fat.
- Warm it up and drink it, use it in a recipe or store it in the freezer.