Bone broth has been around for ages, but in recent years, its popularity has skyrocketed. In 2015, Forbes contributor Nancy Gagliardi questioned if it was the next superfood. Everyone, from magazine columnists to nutritionists, is recommending bone broth as a mandatory part of our diets, and supermarket shelves are stocked with numerous options. But what’s the big deal? Isn’t this just soup?
Bone broth’s health benefits
The hype surrounding bone broth mainly concerns its health benefits.
Bone broth is old-school; it was part of a traditional diet that boosted our ancestors’ health and still fuels the performance of today’s top athletes. The broth is made by boiling bones, vinegar, and a few other natural flavourings (like carrots, celery, or onions). During the boiling process, compounds known as glycosaminoglycans are extracted. These compounds boost the body’s collagen production, which helps with maintaining great skin, healthy hair, strong joints, and well-functioning arteries and kidneys. Collagen also helps maintain gut health.
Other benefits include:
- Better sleep—bone broth contains glycine, which helps our bodies fight fatigue
- Healthy immune function—the high concentration of minerals helps us fight against germs and infections
- Supplementation—the bones used in the broth contain essential amino acids, which are vital for muscle energy and recovery
- Youthful looks—collagen firms our skin and helps healthy cells grow; it’s a natural way to prevent fine lines and improve your skin’s elasticity
Even better, you can drink a cup of bone broth on its own or use it to cook numerous dishes. It’s easy to incorporate it into your daily routine.
To buy or not to buy?
There are tons of bone broth brands on store shelves, including Kettle & Fire, and most supermarket chains sell a private label version. Rest assured, if you buy your bone broth, you’ll still reap the health benefits. But the freshest and most potent bone broth is the one you make yourself. Cooking up a batch of broth is relatively easy.
What You Need:
- 1-2 pounds of bones, preferably beef neck or shoulder bones
- filtered water, 3 quarts
- apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons
- baby carrots, 1 cup
- 1 large onion
- any other additives that you like, such as mushrooms, bay leaves, celery, or olive oil
- baking sheet
- slow cooker
Note: You can make bone broth in a slow cooker or in a large stockpot, but the slow cooker is low maintenance and can cook on its own for several hours without fear of overcooking or boiling over.
- First, rinse the bones under cool water (in a colander) and preheat your oven to 400°F. Pat the bones dry with a paper towel. Roast them for 30 minutes. This will help pull out a richer flavour and additional minerals from the bones during the boiling process.
- Add the bones to your slow cooker. Pour in enough water to cover the bones and toss in 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Cover and let the bones sit for about 30 minutes.
- Next, turn your slow cooker to the high setting until you see the broth start to simmer.
- During the first hour, you’ll need to skim off any foam that gathers at the top of the broth. You may also need to add water to keep the bones covered. After, just let the broth simmer. You’ll want to let it cook for 8-12 hours, but some recipes suggest you can do this for up to 24 hours.
- After, toss in your onion, carrots, and any other additives, and cook for another 12-24 hours. (If this sounds like a long time, you can easily add in all additives at the start and let it simmer for 8 hours. It will still taste great and provide a rich source of collagen.)
- When you’re done, strain your broth, store in a heat-safe container, and let it cool. You shouldn’t refrigerate the broth until it has cooled completely. You can let it cool naturally on a counter or prepare an ice bath.
- If you plan to use all of your bone broth in a week, simply store it in the fridge. But if not, freeze a portion for later use.
Bone broth is a great natural source of collagen and minerals that can boost our overall health. If you aren’t already drinking it or cooking with it, you’re missing out an easy nutrition solution.