All About the Bones

I first became interested in bone broth a few months ago – initially attracted to the idea because of all of it’s healing properties. A common misconception of bone broth is that it is too expensive! It’s true, buying the pre-made, organic, fancy versions can get pricey – especially if this is something you’d like to incorporate into your everyday routine. However, making your own can actually be super easy, and inexpensive if you take the right approach!

Bone broth is different than the chicken or beef broth you see in the store for a couple of bucks – technically “stock,” is a mineral infusion which comes from slowly simmering bones and ligaments of healthy animals. It is rich in powerful amino acids including collagen, glycine, proline, and glutamine – all which are vital for healthy connective tissue (ligaments, joints, around organs, etc.) and start to naturally go away as we get older. Drinking bone broth can help to slow the effects of aging on your body – internally and externally. Bone broth is known to work wonders for those with leaky gut, or other digestive issues such as IBS, and has even been said to help clear skin, boost the immune system, and help the body overcome food sensitivities.

I personally have enjoyed making and drinking bone broth throughout my luteal phase (the 10-14 day phase before starting your period) in order to reduce cramps and help give me a sense of calm.

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I’ll give more detail on a couple of these amino acids below, but feel free to skip this section if you just want to get to the recipe! 🙂

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies – helping to build muscles, bones, skins, blood vessels, tendons, and our digestive system. Collagen is what gives our skin strength and elasticity. Basically, you can think of it as a glue which helps to hold the whole body together! As we age, the amount of collagen our body naturally produces starts to slow down, and that is when we might start to notice wrinkles, sagging skin, joint pains, etc. Factors such as eating a diet high in sugar, smoking, excess exposure to the sun, etc., can also contribute to depleting collagen levels. Consuming collagen may help to improve these aspects of your health, among others!

Glycine plays a major role in digestive health and proper functioning of the nervous system as it is required for synthesis of DNA, RNA and other proteins in the body. It enhances muscles by increasing levels of creatine, helps wound healing, and is involved in detoxification. It also aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels by controlling gluconeogensis, which prepares and ships glucose from proteins to the liver. Arguably, most importantly, glycine positively affects the brain as produces a calming effect, while also promoting mental alertness, improving memory, and boosting mood.

Proline helps to reduce cholesterol buildups in the blood stream, preventing potential blockages, and helps the body to break down proteins in order to create new, healthy muscle cells.

When it comes to making my own broth recipes, I have two preferences – using beef bones definitely improves the overall turnout of the broth (consistency, taste, etc.) but the chicken was just as good and to me, more sustainable: I had to purchase the beef bones (without the meat), whereas for the chicken, I just bought a rotisserie and at least got dinner and lunch out of it! LOL

INGREDIENTS:
• All of the bones from a whole chicken, or 1-3 pounds of assorted bones • 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns
• A sprig of fresh rosemary
• Water

The steps to making your own broth are extremely simple, and honestly not that time-consuming, considering you can prep the recipe then leave it for the majority of the time it takes to “cook.”

Regardless if you prefer beef or chicken, I would recommend purchasing your supplies from Whole Foods, or another store that you trust has not used any preservatives or weird stuff. Make sure the bones are completely clean and healthy! You can even roast a chicken yourself if you want, and feel free to use any spices, added veggies, etc. – this will only add more flavor to your broth!

 

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1. BLANCH:
Once you’re ready to begin, put all of the bones, ligaments, etc. into a big enough pot so that you can cover it with water. To the water, add a pinch of salt, allow the water to come to a boil, then cover and allow to simmer aggressively for about 20 minutes. This step is called blanching, and is very important to remove any impurities from the bones.

2. ROAST:
After the bones have been blanched, drain the water, and place them into a roasting pan. Roast the bones in the oven for 20-40 minutes in order to brown and caramelize them. This helps to improve the flavor. Don’t be shy about cranking up the heat to 400-450 and allowing them to roast for a good amount of time. The bones may stick a bit to the pan, but just be sure to scrape any brown bits back into the pot for the next step – trust me, you don’t want them to go to waste!

3. BOIL:
Back in the pot, cover the bones again with water, and add in 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns, a sprig of fresh rosemary, and any additional spices that you wish. DON’T OVER DO IT! A lot of recipes will encourage you to add in vegetable “scraps,” and a bunch of other crazy spices – Good bone broth doesn’t need much more than just the bones and adding more stuff can absorb the liquid, or overpower the natural depth of flavor. Bring the bones to a boil.

I usually allow it to boil for another 20ish minutes, maybe on medium to low heat, meanwhile warming up my crock pot on high. I personally don’t like to leave my oven burner on, so the next step I take is transferring the bone broth to the pre-heated crock pot. If you want, you can leave the burner on low and allow the bones to simmer that way, but I am usually not home long enough to monitor it, and I wouldn’t leave it on if I left my house. Even in the crock pot, keep an eye on the broth until you notice it has reached a simmer (there is usually a bit of a lag as the liquid adjusts from the heat of the burner to the crock). Once it is simmering, you can turn it on the low setting.

4. SIMMER:
Set a timer for 18-24 hours (shorter for chicken, longer for beef).

5. COOL & STRAIN:
When it’s time to finish up, make sure you cool the broth appropriately! Don’t put it still boiling hot in the fridge, but don’t allow it to cool off completely. Broth can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so  this step is super important. Once it’s cool enough to handle, strain it into an air tight container and store it in the fridge so that it is able to form properly. Once it’s ready, it will have formed a light gelatinous layer around the top. That’s how you know you did it right! Before serving, simply scrape this layer off. You can then add the broth to a small pot to heat up, or use in recipes as you see fit!

I like to top mine with lots of additions including fresh cilantro, cracked black pepper, turmeric, crushed red pepper flakes, sometimes a little salt – you can really mix it up however you want! I sometimes use it as a substitute for recipes that call for water, or any cooking broth, but most of the time I just enjoy it after dinner or first thing in the morning to start my day off feeling super nourished and ready to go!

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