Bone Broth Basics

Published by Rebecca Baron on

Bone broth: the way our ancestors made soups for centuries. Bone broths were often used to stretch an animal kill to its furthest advantage, and a crucial tool for survival. Unlike stock, bone broth is a much longer process with a higher nutrient yield. The process of slowly simmering left over bones, animal remains and choice foraged herbs and vegetables down to the smallest nutrients.

You can watch me make a bone broth and explain it step by step here on Youtube

The Bone-Brothy Background

We ate like this for thousands of years. Pre-agricultural era even, as old as the discovery of fire one could imagine; a game changer for the human race. It’s was how the working class could survive on little meat.

It wasn’t until the idea of making food items not just for fuel, but for profit did the quality of food begin to shift. Dehydrated meat stock, pressed into tablets, started to come about in the mid 17th century. These were still quite nutritious, until the commercialized, mass produced versions came off the industry line in the early 1900’s. In the name of providing the public better access to less expensive food products with extended shelf life, these industries unfortunately resulted with inferior quality served on the dinner table. Can we safely assume that their intentions were good back then, but lacked the science?

Eventually with the popularity of low-fat eating starting in the 1970’s rich fatty sauces, stocks, and gravies became more a thing of the past. Laboratory made flavors and additives became symbols of modern novelty and advancement of civilization. It’s not just chicken soup flavor we need though, but the animo acids and enzymes that came with grandma’s chicken soup.

Benefits of Bone Broth

  • Highly nutritious
  • Strengthens the GI tract
  • Cushions the joints
  • Boost immunity
  • Aids in weight maintenance (whether the goal is gain or loss)
  • Reduces the signs of aging

Thankfully people are starting to return back to basics, smart readers like yourself choosing to empower themselves rather than staying at the mercy of food trends. How wrong were we about the low-fat movement? Women trying to look young and trim, readily would shy away from those beautiful fatty youth plasma that held the secret to youth. Not only is bone broth nutrient dense, its is rich in collagen.

A Disclaimer

The quality of your bones are crucial. I know everyone has a limited budget, and organic or grass-fed bones are not always available, but I urge my readers to do the best they can in this arena. Only use grass-fed beef bones for a beef bone broth, as the prions that cause CJD (aka mad cow disease in humans) are found in the skeletal tissue and bone marrow of the animal.

*If you can’t find grass-fed beef bones, go on the side of caution and just use fish, chicken or pork bones if conventionally raised animal products are only available. Wasting Elk Syndrome, prion disease in deer is also rampant across the U.S. I would exercise caution with using deer meat, as animal not showing symptoms does not mean they aren’t carrying it.

Simmer Times

  • Fish: 6- 12 hours
  • Chicken: 12- 24 hours
  • Beef/Pork: 24-48 hours

You can store leftover bones in the freezer until you have enough material (and enough time!) to make a big pot of broth. In a large stock pot, combine the bones and top with water a good 3-5 inches above the bones. Bring to a boil, then simmer for the recommended times listed above. Check on the pot periodically, adding a cup of water here and there while it slow cooks on low heat. A plug-in crock pot is also a suitable and convenient alternative for who are more on the go.

Once the bones are very soft and partial dissolved, remove the pot from heat and use tongs to pull out the bones from the lovely broth. Pick off any edible pieces of meat to add into the soup. To make a cleaner looking broth, you can filter out the grit by running the broth through a cheesecloth lined strainer.

Stronger, heartier bones like beef and pork sometimes can be used again for multiple broths. Some people list 3-4 times, but I argue if you are making the most out of your broth, there shouldn’t be much left over for more than one other use.

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