Super nourishing bone broth

Bone broth is often referred to as “liquid gold” because it’s supercharged with many healing nutrients that the body needs.

It is very versatile to use and a kitchen staple that you shouldn’t be without.

Before you start

It is very rewarding when making your own bone broth, and I can assure you will never look back after your first batch.

However, to reap your broth’s health benefits, you need to take some steps to ensure the finishing broth is free from pesticides, insecticides, growth-stimulating hormones and antibiotics.

Try to pick bones from free-range organic animals and use organic vegetables for preparing your bone broth.

You can find organic animal bones at your local organic and free-range butcher or online.  Note these won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and it’s the best investment you can make for your health.

Using organic vegetables where possible is also important.

If finding organic produce is hard where you live, soak conventional vegetables in a solution of 3 parts water to 1 part white vinegar for 20min to kill some of the parasites and pesticides before rinsing well and using.

This step is essential if you are using conventional vegetables listed under the Dirty Dozen list. Check out this list at https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

These vegetables grow in crops that are heavily sprayed with pesticides and shouldn’t be consumed regularly if they are not organic. When buying these, make sure you soak and rinse them well.

Pick your ingredients wisely. Compared to conventional, organic bone broth made with organic animal bones and organic vegetables will always be the most nutritious.

If your budget does not allow you to include these in your bone broth, then the next best option would be to find and use bones from free-range or grass-fed animals and use vegetables that have been soaked in the vinegar solution and rinsed well.

Nevertheless, any bone broth is better than none at all, so don’t let this prevent you from starting a bone broth batch.

Tools and equipment

To make your life easier when making bone broth, it’s important to have the right equipment.

  • A large stockpot or a slow cooker.

A stockpot with 15l or more capacity will yield a good amount of broth that will last you a few weeks.

The only disadvantage of using a stockpot is you have to be around while you have it on the stove and turn it off overnight to start again the process the next day.

With slow cookers, you are a little more restricted when it comes to the size but have the advantage of just filling them, turning them on and forgetting about them.

Some people feel safe leaving them on whilst they are not home or even overnight. Therefore, it might be worth your while if using a slow cooker to find the largest size you can get.

  • A large strainer.

When your broth is ready and cooled down a little, you will need to strain it in another container before dividing it into individual portions and storing it in the fridge or freezer.

When I am straining my bone broth into a bowl, I leave the lid of the stockpot on but partly open it and hold it tight with both my hands while tilting it to keep all the bones in. After straining almost all the liquid, I gently pick the larger bones and discard them before pouring the few bones left into the strainer and leaving them to drain well. Nothing goes to waste.

  • A blender if you want to blend the vegetables and pour them back into your drained broth for making vegetable soup.

You can also store the puree in ice cubes in the freezer to add to other meals for extra nutrients.

  • A large glass or stainless steel bowl to strain your warm broth in before filling your containers
  • A ladle
  • A funnel to avoid spillage
  • Storage containers.

How do I make bone broth?

Bone broth is made with

  • animal bones, these can be raw or/and cooked bones
  • lots of veggies for their mineral content and to enhance flavour
  • optional herbs like thyme, parsley or sage
  • optional spices like peppercorns and bay leaves. Salt can be added if preferred but at the end of the cooking process.

The salt concentration of the broth at the end may be high if added at the start of the process. I personally don’t add any salt to my bone broth as I like to be flexible to adjust the flavours when I am cooking a meal. 

  • a little vinegar, lemon or wine to help pull the nutrients out of the bones into the water.
  •  just enough water (room temperature, preferably filtered) to cover the bones by two inches.

You don’t want to add too much water as the broth will be too diluted and lack flavour and gelatinous structure.  

  • Last but not least, save those pasture-raised, organic eggshells that we all tend to throw away or compost. Wash them and freeze them with the rest of the bones and veggie scraps to use later in your broth.

Eggshells are a nutrient-dense food that has been used over the years as a folk remedy by our Grandmothers.

They are rich in bioavailable dietary calcium, protein and some essential microelements.  Chondroitin sulfate, collagen, hyaluronic acid, zinc, iron, sulfur, molybdenum are some of the many components of eggshells that help build strong bones and joints.

A clinical study conducted on patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia concluded that the bioavailable calcium in eggshell powder improved bone mineral density and delayed bone demineralization for a more extended period (Pubmed.gov)

In another clinical study done on postmenopausal women, eggshell calcium was more effective at increasing bone mass than calcium carbonate (Pubmed.gov)

Therefore, today eggshell powder is available at your local health store as a supplement. This commonly prescribed supplement is good for joint mobility and bone density, healthy teeth, and the digestive tract and immune system’s health. 

I can go on about eggshells therapeutic benefits and clinical research all day long, but I think I better get back to bone broth talk. Before doing this, though, I would like to mention a personal experience with this nutrient-dense food.

When I was little, I would have bloody noses all the time.

I remember my Grandmother preparing a powder for me to sniff up my nose (not very ladylike, I know) a couple of times a day to stop the reoccurring bloody noses. Well, that was eggshells powder, and it worked wonders for my problem. Who would had thought I would be writing for this in my blog in years to come!

I hope I have convinced you about the benefits of using eggshells in your broth and made you think twice next time you go to throw them away.

How long do I cook the bone broth for?

Bone broth is boiled for a prolonged cooking time, depending on the types and the size of the bones used.

It is generally cooked from 12 to 48hours to achieve a concentrated and gelatinous broth with chicken bones needing less time than beef bones.

Temperature also plays a critical role in achieving a jelly-like clear broth. A very slow simmer will slowly extract the collagen from the connective tissues, lock in the flavour, prevent too much liquid from evaporating, and help the bone broth set.  

Can prepare the bone broth in a low oven, the stovetop or a slow cooker. All methods will result in a rich, gelatinous ‘liquid gold’ broth.

What bones can I use to make bone broth?

Any animal bones can be used to make bone broth. Fish and shrimp shells, duck, goose, turkey, chicken, veal, venison, buffalo, pork, lamb, and beef bones will all be ideal and make a great bone broth.

Use a variety of bones from the different parts of each of these animals like carcasses, neck bones, bone marrow, oxtail, shanks, pig hock and ears, feet and knuckles to make a good gelatinous and nutritious broth.

Combining joint bones for their collagen (feet, wings, necks, knuckles, oxtails) and some bones with meat for flavour (shanks, necks) will give you the best broth.

It is about finding the right balance between the collagen-rich and flavour rich bones to achieve the flavour you crave.

You can also mix different bones from different animals. For example, chicken, turkey and goose bones go well together when making broth. A mixture of beef, lamb, and buffalo bones can also be used to make bone broth. It all depends on what flavours you are looking for.

Super nourishing bone broth

Can I use a mixture of cooked and uncooked bones to make bone broth?

Yes, you can!

Remember to always save the bones from dishes that you cook. Whether they’ve been boiled, roasted, grilled or barbecued, they still have more life in them. Freeze them and use them the next time you make broth.

Think leftover bones from your Sunday roast, bones from soups that didn’t boil long enough, chicken skin that didn’t get eaten, any raw trimmed fat pieces, leftover charcoal chicken and bones from family barbecues.

Simply add them into your broth!

How can I get a flavourful and clear bone broth?

To enhance the flavour of your bone broth, you can roast the bones in the oven before boiling.

After browning in the oven, you can tip everything from the baking dish straight into your stockpot, including the melted fat and all brown bits around the oven dish. These are caramel-flavoured bombs ready to explode in your broth!

If you have some extra time, you can blanch the bones in boiling water for ten minutes to remove impurities and blood before you roast and use them in your broth.

This extra step may only need to be taken if using beef bones for your broth as they tend to have the most impurities. The taste and the colour of the bone broth may be affected if living these byproducts in the liquid.

When blanching the beef bones, try skimming the dark foamy coagulated lipoproteins that will form on top of the water with a tea strainer or ladle. At the end of the ten minutes, rinse the bones well under running water and throw that liquid away.

Add fresh filtered water and start the bone broth process.

By blanching the bones, you are getting a flavorful clear bone broth with a beautiful golden colour.

What vegetables can I use to make broth?

Think butt ends of onions and spring onions, carrots that have gone soft, fresh herbs that have lost their glory in the fridge, herb stalls, leek and fennel tops, garlic, mushrooms, capsicum, the outside celery stalks that can be tough, stringy and hollow.

Your imagination is your limit. Include as many vegetables as you can fit in the pot. Their nutritional content will contribute to a nourishing bone broth full of goodness.

I usually keep a large container in the freezer where I save all the bones from our meals and any vegetable scraps, avoiding only starchy and cruciferous vegetables like potatoes, cabbage, broccoli and kale. The flavour characteristics of these vegetables are strong and may overpower the broth.

You can also saute or bake some vegetables to use in the bone broth for extra flavour.

I add the root vegetables at the start of the cooking process and let them boil until the end. The herbs and the green tops of vegetables I add to the broth a couple of hours before the end of the cooking process. I find that when these overcook, they can give an off flavour to the broth. 

How can I store my bone broth?

When you finish making your bone broth, switch it off and let it cool down so it is safer to handle. This can take up to 5 to 6 hours, so I usually leave mine overnight on the stovetop.

Strain the broth into a large glass bowl first. Use that to feel your freezer containers or store some in the fridge for up to a week.

To store your bone broth, you can use glass jags, mason jars, Pyrex, stainless steel and ceramic containers, silicon muffin tins or large ice cube trays if you like.

If you are freezing your broth in mason jars or any glass containers, make sure they are made from thick glass, so they withstand the cold.

You can pour the broth hot into these but make sure you don’t fill up the jars all the way. Leave an inch from the top as the liquid will expand as it freezes, and you don’t want any accidents.

If using plastic cups or silicon trays to freeze your broth, it is essential to cool down your broth entirely before pouring it into these containers. This step is necessary because if it’s still hot, toxins from the plastic containers will seep into your broth. Even if they are BPA free, it doesn’t mean they are 100% safe. There might be other toxins in the plastic that haven’t been identified yet. So always use these with caution.

I do not recommend using any plastic cups, silicon trays, zip lock bags or plastic containers, but if you choose to, please use them as molds and do not store your broth in these for a long time.

Pour the cold broth into these plastic containers or silicon trays and place them in the freezer uncovered for a couple of hours.

When frozen, run the outside of the tray or cup under a little warm water to help them pop out and then store them in a large container in the freezer.

This way, they will not be sitting in contact with the plastic for too long, and you will still have individual portions ready to go.

No need to defrost them; throw them straight into your pot as needed.

What is the fat layer on top of my bone broth, and how can I use it?

When bone broth is cooled in the fridge, a fatty layer solidifies over the liquid.

This fat layer, depending on what animal bones and fat has been used to make the bone broth with, is called schmaltz (chicken fat), lard (pork fat) or tallow (beef and lamb fat).

Break this fatty layer into pieces and store them in the freezer to use instead of oil or butter in recipes.

It has a high smoking point and does not go rancid like other oils.

Use in making cookies, dip frying, sautéing, making vegetable chips or adding to soups and stews.

It is great as a preservative as well. My Grandmother used to preserve meat in the fat as there were no fridges in the earlier years.

She would salt the meat and then cook it in its own fat in a pot before pouring it into a large glass container submerged only into its melted fat before storing it in a cool place (usually in the basement). This method preserved the meat for up to a year.  

Historically fat from grass-fed animals was a stable in our grandmothers’ kitchen and was used daily until Crisco vegetable fat made an appearance in 1911.

Crisco was a hydrogenated vegetable shortening made from cottonseed oil. It replaced animal fats in cooking because it was advertised as cheaper, easier to digest, and better for our health due to its plant origins.

Of course, hydrogenated vegetable oils translate to high amounts of trans fats, which we now know are damaging to our health.

The fat from the bone broth can also be used as a moisturiser. I remember my Grandmother used to render the animal fat and use it to make soap and other moisturizing products.

Today many beauty manufacturers use rendered animal fat in their products because of its highly absorbent and moisturizing benefits.

Of course, most times, the fat used in these cosmetic products is not from grass-fed animals. Instead, these are highly processed fats that, together with the cocktail of toxic chemicals, parabens and preservatives in these products, can be harmful to our health.

The good news is there are some small companies out there that make products with tallow fat from grass-fed animals and are safe to use.

What are the health benefits of using the fat from the bone broth?

For many years, animal fats had been given a bad reputation until recently proven that having some animal fat in our diets is not as bad as experts had told us to believe.

Fat from grass-fed animals has high amounts of monounsaturated and saturated fat, essential vitamins like vitamin A, D and E, antioxidants and essential fatty acids all needed for immune support and brain function.

So don’t be afraid of this kind of fat when it’s part of a balanced healthy diet. Save it and use it wherever you can. It will add a nutrient boost to any meal or even your skin!

How can I use bone broth?

Bone broth can be used in any meal that calls for water or any liquid. Simply substitute the liquid amount required with the same amount of broth to take the meal to another level.

It can be used in stews, sauces and soups, cooking grains and pasta, making polenta or potato mash, adding into dips, making gut-healing jellies, adding it into veggie smoothies or simply drink it straight in a cup.

I am yet to try making bread and savoury cakes by replacing some of the liquid with the bone broth. Your imagination is the limit!

Is it cheaper to make bone broth at home or buy it?

Before I started making my bone broth, I spent a lot of money during the week on buying the best broth I could find. I knew it was good for us, and I had to incorporate it into my cooking, but it was costing me a fortune.

After a while, I came to my senses and felt that I was getting ripped off for something that I could easily make at home and save. So I did some math.

A 4kg bag of organic bones will cost you around $30, which, together with all the scraps you have saved from your meals throughout the month, will yield you enough gelatinous bone broth to fill around 12x 500ml mason jar containers. The same jars I was paying $15 each for.

So how much are you willing to pay for a good quality bone broth?  $30 or $180!

Even if the prices vary a little depending on where you live or which brand of bone broth you use (making sure it’s boiled for 12 to 48 hours), the saving is too significant to ignore.

Hence, consider making your own bone broth most times; you will save a lot of money$$$, in the long run.

What is collagen, and is it good for us?

Let’s look at some science first…

Magic happens in the pot! Collagen seeps from the bones and breaks down into gelatin, giving the broth the thickening texture and delivering essential amino acids, the building blocks that the body needs.

Amino acids either work together or are needed individually to make other body compounds necessary for the function of the human body.

Using different bones from grass-fed animals will deliver different collagen types, but mainly types 1 and 3 found primarily on beef bone broth and type 2 found in chicken bone broth.

Many different types of collagens have been identified, but 80-90% of the collagen in the human body is made up primarily of these three types (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/).

The word collagen comes from the Greek word ‘kola’, which means glue. So collagen acts like a ‘glue’ in the body that holds parts together. Quite extraordinary ha!

Collagen is found throughout the body in joins and cartridge, bones and teeth, connective tissues, eyes, brain, kidneys, muscles and tendons.

Each collagen type contains different spectrums of amino acids (e.g. arginine, glutamine, cysteine, glycine or proline), which, together with other essential nutrients extracted from the bones and the vegetables, benefit the human body in various ways.

What are the benefits of bone broth?

  • Bone broth is good for bones.

When bone broth is made with vegetables, it contains necessary minerals and vitamins like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc, copper, iron, and amino acids needed to build strong bones.

  • Bone broth is good for joint mobility.

Bone broth contains high amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin, commonly found today in many supplements for arthritis.

These anti-inflammatory compounds help with joint mobility and pain.

  • Bone broth benefits the digestive system.

People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, Crohn’s disease or any inflammatory gut issues may benefit from daily consumption of bone broth.

The gelatin in bone broth is an essential element for connective tissue function. Therefore, it can protect and help heal the digestive tract’s lining in people with these conditions.

For this reason, bone broth is part of the GAPS diet by Dr Campbell-McBride(www.gapsdiet.com). This protocol naturally treats chronic inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract due to a damaged gut lining.  It also claims to help with neurological disorders like depression, autism, dyslexia, A.D.D. and A.D.H.D., and many more by balancing the GI tract’s bacterial ecosystem.

It comes to show how much the condition of our gut affects our overall general health.

  • Bone broth gives you a youthful glow.

Bone broth helps increase the body’s gelatin production. These are the structural building blocks for healthy skin, hair and nails.

Therefore it may help with the reduction of wrinkles and stretch marks by increasing the skin’s moisture and elasticity and improving the appearance of the skin.

  • Bone broth gives you bioavailable nutrients.

When bone broth is prepared correctly and boiled for a prolonged time, it turns into a highly bioavailable liquid meaning the body can easily digest and absorb nutrients when ingested.

  • Bone broth may help with brain function.

Bone broth contains essential fatty acids that have been shown to help with brain function.

Together with the amino acid, glycine can help improve your mood and stress levels, help with mental clarity and awareness and benefits memory function.

  • Other benefits may include increased antioxidant production that helps protect cells from oxidative damage, increased energy and strengthened immune system, better kidney and liver function, improved quality of sleep.

In summary

Bone broth is a Superfood you shouldn’t be without. If prepared the right way, it combines a wide variety of nutrients in one food that can benefit and boost your health.

So let’s grab a cup of broth!

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Hi, I'm Angeliki

The heart and the soul of this blog. I’m so glad you are here...

I am a qualified Nutritionist on a mission!

I am passionate about food and how that affects our health and wellbeing, and I am here to inspire you to eat and live a healthier life.

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