By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk
- Place the bones of your choice in a stockpot and just cover with cold water. Add a "splash", or about 2 tablespoons, of rice, wine, cider, or balsamic vinegar per quart of water or per about 2 pounds of bones. An acid such as vinegar is necessary in order to extract the minerals and nutrients from the bone into the soup. Lemon juice may be substituted for the vinegar. Garlic, onions and ginger may be added for increased flavor, as well as coarsely chopped pieces of celery, carrot, parsley and other vegetables.
- Heat the stock very slowly, gradually bringing to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for at least 6 hours, removing the scum as it arises. 6 - 48 hours is an ideal cooking time for chicken bones and 12 - 72 hours for beef. If the bones are cut into smaller pieces first, this will reduce the necessary cooking time. Do not allow the broth to come to a fast boil, and if more water is needed to keep the bones covered, add only hot water, not cold or lukewarm.
- Cooking in a crockpot on low setting is an easy way to cook broth for a prolonged time. Though it is not necessary to remove the surface scum that arises, doing so occasionally during the cooking process will result in a nicer tasting broth.
- After simmering the bones for several hours, other vegetables may be added for the last 1-2 hours of cooking. This adds to both the flavor and nutritional value of the broth. When finished cooking, the bones and vegetables can be removed and discarded, and the liquid strained through a colander. For a clear soup, it should be strained a second time through a hair sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Parboiling and rinsing the bones before cooking and cooking on a low heat can also help produce a clear broth as it greatly reduces the amount of residue in the liquid.
- The broth should be set to cool until the fat hardens on top, then remove the fat and refrigerate the broth. It will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator, or 10 days if it is boiled again in 5 days, and can be kept for months in the freezer. Before re-heating, always remove and discard any residual fat from the top. Properly prepared broth will cool to a rubbery, jellylike consistency due to the high gelatin content of the collagen. It can be re-heated and used as a simple nutritious drink, or for a more complex soup, add steamed or sautéed vegetables, meat, and/or beans.
Margaret Floyd’s top 5 reasons to add bone broth to you daily diet:
- It’s an excellent source of minerals – both macro minerals and trace minerals. The modern diet is woefully lacking in these vitally important nutrients, and bone broth is a dense source of them. If you don’t tolerate dairy, bone broth is an excellent source of calcium and magnesium.
- It’s therapeutic for joints because it’s an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin, two of the more commonly self-prescribed supplements I see clients taking in my practice. Why pop another pill when you can get greater benefit from a real food?
- The nutrients in bone broth are easily absorbable. This is no small deal. It’s one thing to consume nutrients – either through our diet (ideal) or through supplements (less than ideal, but sometimes the only option). It’s an entirely different thing for those nutrients to actually make it into our cells. The nutrients in bone broth are in a highly bioavailable format, so they get in there easily and without a lot of work from our digestive system.
- Bone broth is powerfully healing for the digestive system. This is in part due to its high content of gelatin, which helps to ease the digestion of cooked foods. Also, the nutrients in broth help to heal the lining of the digestive tract.
- Because it’s an excellent source of the amino acids arginine and glycine, broth reduces your need for protein. It is what we call “protein-sparing,” which means your body can make better use of the protein you do eat, thus not needing to eat as much. In fact, you can cut your meat consumption by as much as half if you include properly prepared bone broth as part of your daily diet.