Author: Kimberly Orbons, Naturopath, Adelaide 3rd August 2016
Once upon a time every household made its own stock from leftovers to be used in cooking however modern stock has taken over as cubes, powders and other processed concentrates. Natural bone broth is reintroducing this wholefood in a whole new light for the health benefits. All that bone marrow is a rich source of collagen, gelatine, glycine, proline, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulphate, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. You can pay a hefty fee for these ingredients at health food stores, and unlike some other natural supplements they can be eaten in concentrated amounts to treat therapeutically. Think of iron from meats, eggs and veggies; diet will maintain you, but once you are low it’s best to take a supplement. But with a bone broth recipe you are concentrating the natural bone ingredients into your own homemade superfood that’s cost effective, easy, and most especially tasty!
Add it to stews and soup instead of water, puree it with steamed vegetables to make your own sauces and gravies, or for autoimmune patients it’s often recommended to drink a mug of grass fed bone broth for breakfast. The phrase ‘leaky gut’ is a layman’s’ term for bowel inflammation and irritation; which leads to malnutrition, systemic inflammation and poor immunity. Regular exposure to irritating and processed foods, food intolerances, recurrent infections and antibiotics are some of a few leaky gut triggers.
“Bone broths provide building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining and have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut. That is why they aid digestion and have been known for centuries as healing folk remedies for the digestive tract.” – Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, author of the GAPS diet.
You can use any bones you like, but some methods work best;
Use a variety of sources or vary each batch – fish, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, bison, deer, venison
Grass fed – according to the Mayo clinic, When compared with other types of beef, grass-fed beef may have: 1) Less total fat 2) More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids 3) More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks 4) More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E. Grass fed is recommended by health specialist for all meat intake, not just when making bone broth. Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, are precursors to vitamin A that we need for Thyroid health which are found as pigments in plants. Grain-fed beef does not contain appreciable levels of carotenoids, for the simple reason that grains don’t contain them.
Organic & Free Range – setting aside the ethical dilemmas these are highly recommended are healthy choices.
Meat scraps – leaving some still attached will add more flavour
Precooked/roasted – this gives bones an excellent flavour, roast at least 30min on 180’C
Bone marrow – nutrient dense, normally found in larger bones. Use some small bones too
More gelatinous broth – come from smaller bones and cartilage and are best for those needing structural health support like arthritis and leaky gut. Use some large bones too
Save the leftovers from meat that you cook – from T-bone steaks, ribs, chops, home roasted chicken (not from the store bought chooks!). Just pop bones and scraps into a freezer bag for when you are making your next batch. It is best to take a frugal approach to health, reducing your own costs, storage, and less damage to the environment when we waste less.
Tip off the drippings – my mum used to tell me her family’s’ Sunday treat for dinner was the drippings from the lunchtime roast spread over fresh baked bread! Many people assume these dripping are all fat, similar to lamb chops when grilled, but as it cools that clear and jelly-like texture that separates from the fats/lard is exactly what we need, so reserve any meat juices from cooking instead of throwing them out to boost your broth.
Choosing your other Ingredients
Save the leftovers from fruit and veg that you cook – I also like to save the tops of carrots, onions and zucchini, garlic stumps or celery leaves and stumps that I cut off into these freezer bags. I avoid outer onion skins as they aren’t rich in nutrients but do darken my broth considerably.
Make sure to never use any spoiled veg or meats – the boiling process will not always kill off microbes, so fresh scraps only!
Prewash all fruits and veggies before use – whether they are organic or not always wash off any microbes first, and where possible eats the skins/ leave the skin on veg you use as many of our dietary nutrients sit close to the surface. For the peeling you do, don’t throw it out, save in the freezer or fridge for the next round of broth. I avoid outer onion skins as they aren’t rich in nutrients but do darken my broth considerably- these get composted with my tea bags and coffee.
Avoid inflammatory foods for broth- some fruits and vegetables such as the nightshades are pro-inflammatory and should be avoided in a recipe for healing and soothing autoimmune and gastric conditions. These include tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, eggplants and potatoes. Grains and lentils should not be added even if gluten free unlike some soup recipes
Avoid sweets fruits in broth recipes – technically pumpkin is a fruit, bit I have found the organic skins from my pumpkins go quite well in broth. Avoid citrus, cucumber, mangoes grapes avocados.
Avoid adding additional oil – there is no need to add healthy fats like butter, coconut oil or olive oil
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR HEALTHY BONE BROTH
Ingredients & Tools:
Food: A great ratio for broth is that for every 1.5kg of bones (see above advice) you should use equivalent to a 1 large OR 2 small of each of the following veg: onion, carrot, 2 celery stalks, clove garlic. Other tasty substitutes include the greens of leeks, and the stems of any fresh herbs like basil or coriander and parsley that aren’t required for your recipes.
Liquids: You will also need approx. 2 TBSP of organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with mother tincture in it. These natural acids and digestive enzymes are essential for drawing out nutrition from the dense depths of the bone. 2-4 liters of fresh filtered water or ideally pure spring water (like from a cask)
Cookware: Use a very large stock pot or crab pot with a tight fitting lid, and slotted spoon & a fine mesh strainer (both preferably metal not plastic). You will also need a large tray if your bones are bought fresh to use the pre roasting options. Some find it easier to use a crockpot for a perpetual broth method, we do not recommend it.
Storage: 6-10 large recycled glass jars: use those from previous store bought foods is better than buying new.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR HEALTHY BONE BROTH
Pre-roasting: If not using at least half precooked/leftovers bones, it’s recommended to pre-roast for flavour for at least 30min on 180 degrees Celsius on a lined tray.
Put all your bones, veggie scraps/whole veg into the soup pot, including any drippings from the tray. Pour ACV directly over bones, then add enough spring water to completely cover the food. Place the lid firmly on the pot, bring to a fast boil for 5-10 min then reduce the stove heat to a lower boiling point that still bubbles slightly. This helps to circulate the ingredients as well as maintain steady heat. We recommend using a burner towards the back of your stove away from passing family members hands!
You will need to simmer for at least 8 hours, but up until 24 hours is acceptable. Some patients have found it easier to start the pot on the stove after dinner/roasting/boiling, then place the pot inside their oven on the lowest setting overnight. You will need to monitor or judge this carefully, when boiling over 8 hours more water is often needed. It depends how much steam escapes your lid, and how often you can resist the urge to check on it and give it a good stir to make sure it’s not sticking. *Fish bones are quite delicate so may only require 4-8 hours, others require longer.
Broth stays very fluid while it’s hot; the liquid will become a creamy brown and thicker texture, but does not normally appear immediately gelatinous until it’s cooled after cooking and straining. It’s important to have the fluids covering the bones and veg while cooking, but at the last hour you can remove the lid and let off some steam for a while, which concentrates the broth prior to straining increasing the final gelatinous result. It also concentrates the flavour quite a bit and saves storage.
Use a slotted spoon to remove any larger chucks of food before pouring/scooping broth into a fine sieve. Muslin cloths are far too fine, just a sieve will do. Pour off into sterilized glass jars, place on lids and allow to cool for approx. 1 hr before refrigerating (it will last up a a week) or freezing. The natural lards will be darker in colour from the nutrients; do not discard these as they harden at the top of the broth. It helps seal the broth and keep it fresh, and can be used in cooking.
If you’re regular batches bone broth, perpetual broth is a popular low maintenance & ongoing version. We do not recommend it as there is some evidence this method converts those healthy antioxidant proteins into glutamic acids. These have their own health properties but may have detrimental effects on the CNS due to their ability to cross the blood brain barrier- patients with hormone, gut and immune imbalances already have a hard time with symptoms so we don’t want to be eating regular foods that can interfere. Glutamic acid is the basis of the chemical MSG: if you are sensitive to MSG these proteins may also irritate or inflame your body. Also, longer cooking methods further concentrate any chemical toxicity in the water used; DO NOT USE THIS METHOD WITH NON ORGANIC PRODUCE OR TAP WATER! Read more about healthy water filters here. If this does not concern you: Instead of using your stove, put all the ingredients in a crock pot. Fill with water to cover them but do not fill to the top (this method makes smaller amounts per batch). Turn it up to high until it begins to boil, and then turn it down to low. Within 2-4 hrs you can use a ladle to spoon some out and start drinking. Replenish as needed with fresh water. You can keep this broth cooking for up to a week, then drain the remaining broth, throw out the bones, wash it clean, and start over.
HOW TO EAT YOUR HEALTHY BONE BROTH
- You can use this broth as a base for soups which are quicker to prepare after work, or add some rice noodles or spiralized zucchini and left over meats for 2 min noodles, just heat on the stove.
- Replace stock cubes in casseroles and sauces from Roo stew to Bolognaise: nutritious & tasty! It won’t take the same as those from a packet without all the salt and MSG and flavour enhancers.
- Simply add some Himalayan salt and your favourite herbs and drink a cup alongside your meal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Adv Dip Naturopathy, Adv Dip Western Herbal Medicine
Head Naturopath Kimberly Orbons is passionate about encouraging and empowering each person to facilitate their own good health with Nutrition, Herbal Medicine and preventative lifestyle management. Using a combination of diagnostics and symptomatology to identify the different metabolic processes contributing to disease allows her to treat the root or cause of poor health, providing relief of symptoms and long term recovery.
Kimberly believes it is extremely important to build a personalized healing plan, taking all the complexities of a patient’s health and illness into consideration. Her consults have a strong focus on client care and treating each patient as an individual, and may therefore co-ordinate with other medical treatments. The goal is to establish each patient’s ability to live in the best possible state of health, naturally. Her mentors in clinical practice include Founder Lucy Herron, Dr. David Brownstein, Naturopath Angela Hywood and Dr. Sarah Wine. Since achieving her qualifications in 2007 she has extensive clinical experience, and also 3 years managing the natural health sections and seminar within pharmacy.
Kimberly works closely with our CEO Lizzy Herron and all The Lucy Rose clinical staff to ensure our patients are provided with the best and most up to date health services and quality health advice. She has actively contributed to our online media, patient guidelines, patient support and informational services for the past 3 years and enjoys providing excellent free to access health data to patients across Australia daily.
REFERENCES & RECOMMENDED READING:
“University of Nebraska Medical Center physician/researcher Stephen Rennard, M.D., challenged an age-old folk remedy by taking chicken soup from the kitchen to the laboratory. Since the results of the study were published in the International Journal Chest – the Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care Journal, the research has been featured in thousands of newspaper, magazine and Internet articles, as well as on television and the radio throughout the world.” Watch the video here: http://www.unmc.edu/publicrelations/media/press-kits/chicken-soup/
Bone Broth Benefits for Digestion, Arthritis and Cellulite https://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/
A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef Nutr J. 2010; 9: 10. College of Agriculture, California State University, Chico, CA, USA Published online 2010 Mar 10. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10