SUPER HEALTHY BONE BROTH
Today (and tomorrow too) I’ll be spending time in the kitchen, preparing a superfood that I absolutely adore. One that I often make during the colder seasons to boost our immune system, but also because it just tastes divine. Bone broth, or in this case beef bone broth. With some added extras.
But why is bone broth actually considered a superfood? What benefits does bone broth have for you? And how do you even prepare it? Keep on reading and you’ll find out all my tips, tricks and extra info on this delicious superfood. I even share with you how I make beef bone broth with a few “secret ingredients”, that are obviously no longer a secret as I’m sharing it with you. Lol!
Interesting history of bone broth
Did you know that bone broth is actually something that many generations before us used to make? It’s not something new that someone came up with and decided to call it a “superfood”. It even stems back to the hunter-gatherer ages.
As food had to be hunted for, every part of the animal was used. Meat was used to eat, the hides were used to make clothes or blankets, bones were used to create tools or weapons. But they quickly discovered that bones could also be used to draw out nutrients. Nutrients that were more than welcome in those not so nutritious times.
Later on, when our ancestors “invented” an actual pot to cook in, their version of bone broth started to resemble our modern day bone broth. With the use of a pot, they were now able to add vegetables and herbs into the mix, turning it into a full meal.
Even Hippocrates was a huge fan of bone broth, some 2500 years ago. Being the founder of Western medicine, he was known for his saying that “all disease begins in the gut”. Therefore he often recommended the use of bone broth to those with digestion problems. So let’s keep on listening to this wise man and
Let food be your medicine and let your medicine be food.
What is bone broth?
Let’s start with the basics by explaining the differences between stock, bone broth and a normal broth. Explaining the differences between all these, will help get a better picture of why bone broth is such a popular superfood.
Broth or stock?
A plain broth is made from meat and vegetables simmered in water, which doesn’t have to take hours to make it. Usually, it takes around 45 minutes to 2 hours to cook a nice normal broth.
A stock is made mostly from bones, vegetables and perhaps even a little meat. To create a stock, the bones and meat are often first roasted to get the caramelization process started. To cook a stock, you’ll need lots of hours to do so. Beef stock tends to take 6-8 hours, a good chicken stock would take up to 4-6 hours cooking.
Bone broth is stock
And here comes the confusion! A bone broth is basically stock. You first roast the ingredients (meat and bones) and then let it simmer for many, many, MANY hours. Sure, the end goal is all the same, no matter if you’re making a stock, normal broth or bone broth. You want a flavourful end result. But bone broth has become so popular for another reason, namely its health benefits. And that is also the reason why bone broth has to cook for 12 up to 48 hours. It’s all about the release of the nutritious compounds and minerals (namely collagen, but also glucosamine, amino acids, electrolytes, calcium, and more). It is then strained and seasoned to be enjoyed on its own, like broth.
Why drink bone broth
Aside from the fact that sipping a glass of warm bone broth is simply a delicious thing to do, drinking bone broth has lots of health benefits too. Bone broth is rich in minerals, which help build and strengthen your bones. It also contains other healthy nutrients such as vitamins and essential fatty acids. It includes calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. And when you add connective tissue into your bone broth, it also provides the body with natural compounds from the cartilage. Tissues and bones also contain collagen, which turns into gelatin. This then provides the body with amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. And when you add bone marrow to it, it makes it even more nutritious as bone marrow is rich in iron, vitamins A and K, selenium and zinc. So much goodness in one “simple broth”!
Adding bone broth to your “diet” is an easy way to take care of your self. To show your body (and mind) lots of love. What an amazing act of self-love!
7 Health benefits of bone broth:
- Boost your immune system with bone broth
- Bone broth fights inflammations
- Restore your gut health with bone broth
- Bone broth aids with better sleep
- Strengthen bones and teeth with bone broth
- Alleviate the common cold and even bronchitis with bone broth
- The collagen (which comes from gelatin) may help protect joints.
How to make bone broth
While you can simply go online and buy glass jars filled with bone broth (or bottenbouillon / oerbouillon in Dutch), it’s also really easy to make at home. In fact, it’s even cheaper to do so. Especially when you make a big pot and freeze portions for later use. But hey, if you prefer to buy it online, then go for it…
But how do you make your own bone broth? And perhaps you’re even wondering “What ingredients do I need for bone broth”? The process of making bone broth is insanely simple. All you need, is a few good quality ingredients, a big pot, water and additional herbs and veggies. Oh, and lots of time to let it simmer on the stove. You can opt for a chicken bone broth, beef bone broth or even a bone broth based on fish bones. Whatever you prefer. Today, I’m making a beef bone broth, which is what I always make. In all honesty, I’ve never made a chicken bone broth. Chicken stock, yes, but no chicken bone broth. I’ll give that a try next time around. The end result of chicken bone broth is a lighter broth compared to beef bone broth.
Ingredients for beef bone broth
Use a variety of bones and don’t forget to also include the connective tissue. Add some bone marrow too for the fatty acids and extra vitamins. And even add bones with some meat on it.
Use carrot, onions, garlic and celery. All rich in flavours, which make a great base for your bone broth.
Depending on which flavour you prefer, you can play with this bit. I use peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves, ginger, sea salt (add later, because you need to taste it first).
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar needs to be added! It’s incredibly important to add this, so don’t forget this ingredient. Thanks to its low ph, the vinegar acts as a solvent, helping to pull calcium and other minerals from the bones.
I’ve also added a bit of tomato puree or paste. This adds more depth to the flavour of the broth, plus the acidity from the tomato helps break down cartilage.
Obviously you need water for this all to turn into a delicious bone broth. I don’t have a clue how much water I use, I simply make sure all ingredients are covered in water.
A healer’s way of making bone broth
With all the ingredients mentioned above, you’ll be able to make a super nutritious beef bone marrow. But you know me… Witches gotta witch! Healers gotta heal!
I love adding more to my bone broth, just to give that already healthy drink even more health benefits. I mean, since I’m already making it, why not make it the best I can?!
So here’s three extra ingredients that I love adding to my bone broth.
Ginger is one of my all time favourite herbs. From a young age on, I was taught about the medicinal benefits of ginger. It’s such a go-to herb for basically anything here. A cold, sore throat, mouth pain, nausea, fibro pain (= inflammation), period pains. Ginger helps with it all!
Somehow, ginger has the amazing ability to fight bad bacteria and support all those good ones. When ingesting it, it leaves you with this amazing warm sensation. So while ginger is at first heating, its long-term effect on the body is cooling and nourishing. Despite the heat of this herb, fresh ginger is actually anti-inflammatory.
For the bone broth, be sure to use fresh ginger. But only fresh ginger, due to the volatile oils, has this special anti-inflammatory quality, so be sure to use that. I always buy organic ginger and for this recipe I don’t even bother to peel the roots. Just slice it and add it to the pot.
The feel good herb from Ayurveda, Ashwaganda is an ancient medicinal herb. It might just be the most important herb in Ayurveda, which is one of the world’s oldest medical systems and one of India’s healthcare systems. To this day, Ayurveda is still of extremely high importance in India. Even during this pandemic, lots of studies have been conducted there to see what Ayurvedic herbs could help those suffering from covid19. But that’s something to be discussed another time.
The name “ashwagandha” describes the smell of its root, meaning “like a horse.” When you open a pack of dried Ashwaganda roots, the smell is quite uhm…. potent, hahaha.
It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to ease pain and inflammation, treat insomnia and boost nutrition, along with other conditions. This herb has gained lots of popularity in the Western world, thanks to its ability to energy and to reduce stress & anxiety. Ashwagandha has antioxidant properties that can reduce stress levels by up to 80%. Moreover, it also reduces stress-related hormones by 26%. That’s impressive, right?! There’s even some evidence to suggest that the herb can have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation underpins many health conditions, and reducing inflammation can protect the body against a variety of conditions. A study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that ashwagandha can work as effectively as the medicine diazepam, when it comes to depression and severe anxiety!
An absolute MUST for even more good vibes from your bone broth, if you ask me.
Funghi Porcini (porcini mushroom)
I chose to add porcini mushroom to my bone broth, as that’s simply the one that I’ve got in our cabinet. You could also use another variety of dried mushroom, or even a couple of different ones such as shiitake, reishi, chaga, or other medicinal mushrooms. But Funghi Porcini is actually a really good mushroom to use in your bone broth.
Porcini mushroom is very flavourful. It really lifts your bone broth up, with this earthy smell and flavour. Porcini, also known as Wild Ceps, contain the highest amounts of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, which are considered important anti aging compounds. Even more so: Ergothioneine and glutathione are heat stable, so cooking your mushrooms does not significantly affect their health benefits. Yay! In addition to that, mushrooms are rich in valuable nutrients such as fiber, vitamins B and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
Time to prepare the bone broth!
Ingredients for medicinal bone broth
- 1-2 kg Bones (bones with marrow, small knuckle, rib or oxtail bones)
- 1 Cup of carrots (roughly chopped)
- 3-4 Stalks of celery
- 1 Onion (roughly chopped)
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 3 Bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Black peppercorns
- 5 cm Piece of ginger, sliced
- Other herbs such as thyme (optional)
- Handful of dried porcini mushroom
- 1 tbsp Ashwagandha roots
- 1/2 of a small can of tomato puree / tomato paste (about 35gram)
- Couple of litres water (make sure the water reaches out above all bones)
- Splash of apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 190 Celsius or 375°F.
- Place the beef bones onto a sheet pan. Roast in the oven until well browned (approx. 30 minutes). Transfer everything (including the fat, plus “burned bits” over to a heavy bottom stock pot. Add the remaining ingredients, including the vinegar. Wait with adding salt!
- Pour cold water in the pot and make sure all the bones are submerged in water. Bring the water to just under a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for 4-24 hours.
- During the first hours of simmering, skim off any discoloured foam that rises to the top. These are the impurities that float to the surface.
- Often taste it and see what needs to be added. This is also the perfect time to carefully add some salt. Don’t overdo this, as you can’t undo it. It’s better to add more when its done, than being stuck with a super salty bone broth.
- When done, first remove all solids with tongs. Now remove the pot from the stove and carefully strain through a cheese cloth of fine meshed colander.
- Cool the stock immediately in an ice bath; then portion it in whatever size you want/need.
- Use within 3-4 days or freeze in appropriate containers.
About bone broth fat
There’s lots of different opinions out there about whether or not to skim the fat from bone broth. Just know that beef bone broth is extremely fatty. I personally love this about bone broth and don’t want it any other way. But in case you want to skim off the fat, there’s a couple things to know and do.
How to properly save bone broth fat?
- Refrigerate the beef bone broth overnight.
- Now all fats are solidified, which makes it easy to remove from the top of the broth. Simply spoon it off and then portion the bone broth.
- The skimmed fat can be used later on for cooking purposes. Don’t forget that this fat goes bad quickly! The moisture content is still high from the broth, so you will need to do some extra cooking to make it last longer and to use it as a cooking oil without having it splatter everywhere. Cooking off the moisture is a must, which might take a couple more hours of cooking. Pour the fat in a container or glass jar, leave the lid open to cool off and then it will harden. This will then stay good for months, in the fridge.