‘The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease’ – Thomas Edison
I often sing praises of bone broth to my clients. Many people seem to have heard of bone broth but not many have ventured down the path of home made broth. Making something new in the kitchen may sound complicated and we all have our staple favourites when it comes to cooking. So I promise you 2 things
- Bone broth is one of the easiest, least time consuming recipes in the World
- Once you reap the benefits of broth you will wonder why it took you so long to try it!
Are broths a new craze?
Broths have become increasingly popular in the last few years. In fact you can now buy organic bone broth in jars and even dried versions (just add hot water) which in my opinion are a great substitute when you are travelling but simply can not replace the real homemade deal. It is also important to know the bone broth and stock are not the same! A packet of OXO is not what you are looking for if you need a quick fix.
Stay away from cheap stock which is filled with toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health. Store bought bone broth absolutely must be certified organic so instead of buying the wrong thing out of confusion I suggest you just stick to making your own – and enjoy the process.
The known benefits of bone broth have been around since time began. There is mention of chicken soup (AKA bone broth) in the 12th Century when it was reportedly revered for its medicinal qualities by Moses Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher and physician. He recommended broths be used to remedy colds, flu and asthma.
Benefits of bone broth
An article on all the benefits of bone broth could be one on its own so I’m just going to touch on a few that link bone broth to physical health. There are many many benefits and I may come back to the subject down the track.
Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of cartilage. By simmering the bones for 12+ hours, the glucosamine is drawn out and is easily digestible. It is used by the body to produce other chemicals that are involved in building tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the thick fluid that surrounds joints. Ingesting Glucosamine can help alleviate stiffness, pain and joint friction caused by arthritis and degenerative diseases and overall will help reduce inflammation. As an anti-inflammatory Glucosamine has also been shown to help alleviate:
- Heart Disease
- High cholesterol
- Crohn disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMD)
- Back pain
- Wound healing
Collagen is the foundational structure of connective tissue. It is the most abundant protein in our body and adding collagen into our diet can help repair muscles, tendons and ligaments. Collagen production slows down as we age and since it is the protein responsible for skin elasticity, strength and blood vessel structure the collagen in bone broth can keep us looking younger and more vibrant.
Calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, Vit C, Vit K, Vit B, iron and other trace minerals are other nutrients found in bone broth.
Lets just say that you are fit and healthy and don’t need bone broth to heal you from anything (the chances are super slim but let’s just pretend). Bone broth is a prophylactic which means that it defends against illness. With its anti inflammatory component and high nutrient density bone broth is the perfect preventative to stop you from getting sick in the first place.
World renowned philosopher and inventor Thomas Edison once said ‘The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease’.
A true healer teaches you how to heal yourself, how to prevent yourself from getting sick and most importantly how to live with abundant health. Good health is available to every single one of us and if your ‘health care provider’ is not teaching you ways to step away from harmful pharmaceutical drugs and how to take charge of your own health then you might want to seek better guidance.
Good bone broth will resurrect the dead
There’s an old South American proverb “good bone broth will resurrect the dead”. Bone broth is the staple of good health because good health starts in the gut. Bone broth is gentle and nourishing, helping to first heal the lining of the gut which is the foundation of your immune system, your digestive system and your body’s very own synthesising laboratory for your entire bodily structure.
How to use bone broth
- A cup of bone broth a day will keep the nasties at bay. Drink bone broth for breakfast, lunch or dinner (and any time in between) for a nourishing, delicious and low carb option.
- Add a cup of bone broth to soups, Bolognese or curry for flavour and nourishment (you can literally hide it in the ‘spag bog’ and your kids won’t even know)
- Add a splash of bone broth to stir-fry or mash
- Substitute milk or water for broth in savoury bread or pizza dough recipes
- Replace cream or milk with bone broth in creamy vegetable soup recipes (ie pumpkin soup)
- Freeze bone broth in an ice cube tray or small containers to use in cooking
- Bone broth will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days
Types of bone broth
Broth can be made with any source of good, (ideally) organically raised bones. Different bones taste different. Chicken bones are the least ‘meaty’ flavour so if you are new to broth I definitely found chicken broth the most palatable to start with. In our house we generally do 1 chicken broth every fortnight and 1 red meat broth the next.
The main difference between chicken and lamb or beef broth is the cooking time. Chicken only needs 8 -12 hours where as red meat really requires 12 – 16 hours. I have been known to leave a broth on the slow cooker for a couple of days. The longer you leave it the more gelatinous it becomes and the gelatinous is extremely nourishing so I generally have mine going for about 24 hours. Pop it all on 1 morning (or evening) and then it’s ready the next.
How to make a good chicken broth
The most important aspect of bone broth is to ensure you are buying the best quality bones possible. Ideally you will choose organically raised bones that are free of pesticides, toxic chemicals and not overloaded with hormones. Non- organic chickens don’t seem to gel so you’ll be missing out on some of the most nourishing, collagen rich benefits that the broth can offers and non organic animals are laden with nasty antibiotics and disease giving chemicals.
You should be able to find organic whole chicken at your local organic store or farmers market. In my town (Darwin, Australia) we buy beef direct from the farm at Eva Valley Meats and they deliver to our door. The relationship we have with our meat supplier means that they cater to our family and we know that we are in turn supporting theirs. Our chickens come from interstate and stocked at our local organic store. They are farm raised, happy chooks and we are slowly raising our own to be able to feed our family.
With the ingredients below feel free to substitute any vegetables for what you’ve got on hand. The choice of herbs really augment the flavour so sometimes we opt for asian fare of lemongrass, ginger, cumin and coriander.
- 1 whole organic chicken
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- Small knob of fresh ginger
- 1 carrot
- 2 celery stalks
- ½ lemon
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbs dried or half a bunch of fresh herbs of choice
- 1 tbs Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
- 1 tbs spoon black peppercorns
What you’ll need
- Slow cooker or big pot
- Chopping knife
- Chopping board
What to do
- Wash your organic whole chook and set aside
- Chop all your veggies up roughly
- Pop the veggies, herbs and lemon in the slow cooker and then place whole chicken on top
- Sprinkle lavishly with salt and pepper
- Cover with filtered water
- Pour over apple cider vinegar
- Put the lid on and set to low
- Simmer for 8 – 24 hours
Simmering the bones for a long period (minimum 12 hours) will pull out all of the good, healing minerals from the bones. The longer the better but know that a long slow cook will be more flavoursome and fuller of gelatinous goodness.
I choose to use an electric slow cooker. It really is a set and forget procedure. I put it on and go about my day without even thinking about it. But if you don’t have a slow cooker you can do the whole process in a big pot on the stove. Set the stove to the lowest setting and see how you go. You don’t want the water to boil so depending on your stove top you may need to move the pot so that it is not getting too hot. I do not recommend leaving the house if you are using the stove top option.
Once the time is up pull out the chicken. Be careful because it will literally fall apart on you. Have a plate right next to the slow cooker and use a pair of tongs to lift the chicken on to the plate.
Let the chicken cool and then strip the bones of all the meat. I use a fork to shred the meat and put it into a glass container to be used throughout the week in soups, wraps, salads and snacks.
Ladel out the broth into a glass jar. I’m a fan of glass versus plastic because plastic is a hormonal disruptor and should never house hot food (even the BPA free stuff) as the plastic will break down and leach into the food.
No need to keep the veggies because the nutrients of the vegetables are now in the broth. We feed the left over veggies to the chooks or add them on the compost.
Pour yourself a well deserved cup of home made goodness, add salt and pepper to taste, thank yourself for taking charge of your health and store the remaining broth in the fridge to use throughout the week.
Excess stock can be frozen in an ice tray or small containers and be used in pretty much any savoury recipe that calls for liquid.
Well… what are you waiting for? Get cooking and get nourished!