My latest obsession is something that has been around a long time. It’s not a supplement, a special drink, or an exotic superfood. It’s something my ancestors most likely consumed all the time, yet is sadly missing from the modern American diet.
Specifically, beef bone broth made from grass fed beef marrow bones. You can use chicken bones as well (it’s super easy to use the bones of a rotisserie chicken), but beef is so nutrient dense, packed with healing amino acids and minerals, and the flavor is so hearty, that I prefer using beef.
The health benefits of bone broth have been documented over and over again and all it takes is a Google search to read about them. But here’s a short list: improved gut health, improved detoxification, skin and hair health, immune health, bone and joint health, reduced cellulite, improved food sensitivities, better digestion, improved metabolism, cellular health, antioxidant boost, the list goes on.
Now, the following is an imaginary Q and A session for my past self, back when I thought bone broth making was complicated. But don’t be like me and buy the carton kind that doesn’t taste as good. Start making this now!
How do you use your bone broth? There are many ways to use bone broth. You can add to sauces or soups, cook rice in it, or just drink it straight! I often “break my fast” with a cup of warm bone broth. I add a bit of salt and maybe some other seasonings, then drink in a mug.
You can also do a brief bone broth fast. Have bone broth for breakfast and lunch, snacks as needed, then enjoy a regular dinner. Note – I don’t recommend fasting for anyone who has ever struggled with an eating disorder. This isn’t a “Slim Fast” style of diet, this isn’t a starvation tool, this is nourishing your body with amino acids, minerals, and healing ingredients that you very likely don’t consume on a day-to-day basis. It’s a great gut reset. Many practitioners recommend 3 day bone broth fasts, but even doing a short fast once a week or so can really make you feel so much better (see health benefits above for a reminder of what it does)!
I also recommend drinking bone broth as needed when you feel symptoms of illness coming on. Because of its gut bacteria-boosting benefits, it helps to support a healthy immune system. When we started the gut healing process for my lastborn for all his respiratory issues, I often gave him bone broth in a sippy cup or I cooked rice in it. You can read more about his healing journey here.
Is it complicated? Making bone broth is not hard. I don’t know why it intimidated me for so long! The hardest part is figuring out where in your grocery store you can get the bones. Non-pro tip: ask your butcher. Bones are also inexpensive and many bone broth experts say you can reuse the bones until they become soft and brittle.
How long does it take? For maximum flavor and health benefits, chicken should simmer for 12-24 hours and beef for 24-48 hours.
Can I cook it in a crock pot? If your crock pot is big enough, yes! Keep it on the low setting. My crock pot isn’t big enough, so I keep it in a large stock pot on the stove.
Can I cook it in an instant pot? There is some debate over whether rapid cooking in the instant pot allows enough time to get all the goodness out of the bones. Personally, I don’t have any problem being patient for 24-48 hours and I don’t want to miss out on any of the health benefits. Also, I’m the weirdo who doesn’t have an instant pot so this question doesn’t really apply to my past self anyway.
Now I’ll shut up and just get to the recipe. As usual, I’d love feedback from you. Do you love bone broth? What do you add? How do you use it?
- 4-6 quarts cold, filtered water
- 2 tablespoons raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 2 pounds animal bones
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- 10 baby carrots
- 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Himalayan salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 bulb garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon ginger powder
- Other spices you love: turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and roast bones for 30 minutes. This is optional, but it will add more flavor, so of course I recommend this step!
- Fill a pot with 4-6 quarts cold, filtered water. Add the vinegar.
- Place bones in the water and vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes. This will help pull all the mineral goodness out of the bones.
- Add all the vegetables and seasonings except the parsley and cilantro.
- Heat the broth on high until it nearly boils, then reduce to low simmer and forget about it for a day or two! For chicken, let simmer 18-24 hours. For beef or pork, let simmer 24-48. I prefer 48. You’ll see the color change to a rich, deep brown.
- The last 2 hours of cooking, add the parsley and cilantro.
- Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes. Strain veggies, herbs, bones, and fat through a mesh strainer. I just set the mesh strainer over another pot and strain it that way.
- Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for 6 months. Some say it can freeze for a year. You can freeze in silicone ice cube trays and have on hand for any recipe where you want to add a dose of health and flavor. I love adding it to rice!