Dinner diva: Everything you need to know about bone broth

Dinner DivaBy Leanne Ely

I almost always have a batch of bone broth simmering in my kitchen. This healing broth is more to me than soup. It’s a wonderful elixir that helps heal my gut and guards me from getting sick.

If you have an autoimmune disorder (like I do), making bone broth a part of your regular daily life helps tremendously with energy levels and digestion, too. And by the way, I do not mean the cartons of broth you buy at the grocery store. In order to have a good healing bone broth, you need to make your own.

But I understand that’s easier said than done, so I’m here to take you through the entire process start to finish.

First of all, let me remind you why you should be making bone broth a part of your day.

Nutritional benefits of bone broth

Your bowl of bone broth contains a healing helping of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which work together to reduce inflammation, joint pain and other symptoms of arthritis. Bone broth is excellent for digestion (it will do wonders for your gut), but it’ll also aid your nervous and immune systems and help your muscles grow and repair.

That same broth will also give you a huge boost of minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. It’s also rich in proline, glycine and amino acids.

And did I neglect to mention that bone broth helps to prevent bone loss while building healthy hair, nails and skin? Now that you know why it’s so good for you, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Start with good bones

Find yourself a very good butcher. You can use bones from any animal as long as it was a good, healthy one. I prefer locally sourced bones, organically grown if possible. At the very least, grass-fed. Do not use factory-farmed animals—they aren’t going to result in a nutritious broth. (Hint: If you can’t source good bones locally, buy bones online from US Wellness Meats).

Keep in mind that the flavor will change based on the kind of animal you use, but it’s okay to mix your bones. And the absolute best bones are marrow bones. You want big bones like knuckles, which contain cartilage. That means more collagen, which means a healthier broth.

How to make bone broth

For best flavor, start by roasting your bones. To do this, place the bones in a pan in a 350 degree oven and roast for one hour. Then move them to your slow cooker with some salt, pepper, onion, celery, carrots, herbs and a few cloves of garlic. Add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar so that the minerals and nutrients can be leeched from the bones. Cook on low for at least 8 hours for poultry, 12 for beef. I tend to go much longer, up to 72 hours. You’ll need to replace the water from time to time, so the crock cooker is filled almost to the top.

When the broth has cooked as long as you need it to, strain the broth and let it sit in the fridge until the fat hardens on the surface. Spoon off the fat and in the morning, if you’ve done it just right, the broth should be good and gelatinized.

No jiggle?

If your broth doesn’t gel, you might have added too much water, or perhaps you didn’t cook your broth long enough or too vigorously. Remember, the larger the bones, the longer they will need to cook! Also, they need connective tissue—that’s where the gelatin is so bones with joints are helpful. That’s why I love chicken feet! (yeah, I know … gross, but magnificent, delicious gelled bone broth!)

Jiggle achieved … now what?

What do you do with that healing elixir? Drink it from a mug like you would a cup of coffee. This is a great way to start the day! I also make soup from my broth, and I use it in recipes calling for stock. I aim to consume about 8 ounces of bone broth per day (more during flu season because of the immune boost it gives me), which really isn’t that difficult.

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