Why don’t I start by explaining what bone broth even is and then I’ll explain what’s so good about it?
Bone broth is made by cooking some bones (chicken, fish, lamb, beef, etc.) in a pot of water, over a low heat, for a long period of time, depending on what type of bones you use. The idea is that the gelatin, vitamins and minerals will be leeched out of the bones and into the water while it’s being cooked. Once the bone broth had been strained and cooled, it should have a jelly consistency because of the gelatin, however, once it is reheated, it will return to a liquid form. When the bone broth has cooled down, the fat from the bones will settle on the surface, I like to remove that fat and throw it away. It is fine to keep the fat if you want to, I just feel like it makes everything feel a bit oily if I don’t get rid of it.
Gelatin is a protein that is mostly made up of proline and glycine, which are two of the amino acids. Glycine is used by the body for various muscle, cognitive and metabolic functions, such as breaking down and moving nutrients into cells. It does this while also supporting the nervous system, helping to create a strong digestive system and strengthening the immune system. Proline is used by the body to make collagen and cartilage, as well as allowing the joints and muscles to be flexible, and stop skin from becoming too saggy as we age. So, after reading what these two amino acids can do for our bodies, it is no surprise that bone broth has some pretty impressive benefits, especially considering that gelatin isn’t the only ‘magic’ ingredient causing all of these great health benefits. The bones also release calcium, silicon, magnesium and phosphorus, which add to health benefits caused by consuming bone broth, including: helping to heal the gut and aiding digestion, protecting joints, keeping hair, skin and nails looking healthy, a healthy immune system and strong bones.
I have a preference to the taste of bone broth made from chicken bones (feet have the most collagen in them), as it is more of a subtle taste than some of the other choices. It also depends what you want to use the bone broth for.
When I make my bone broth I use my slow cooker, because I can leave it on for extended periods of time without too much danger of burning the house down. I put my bones (feet, knuckles, necks, whatever) in the slow cooker, fill the slow cooker with filtered water, add 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (to draw the nutrients out of the bones), and turn the slow cooker onto high for the first few hours. Once it has been cooking for a few hours I turn it to low and let it go.
Chicken bone broth needs to be cooked for around 24 hours. After this time, the bones start to break apart and dissolve.
Lamb/beef bone broth (the picture is lamb) needs to be cooked for 48-72 hrs. This is because of the thickness of the bones. These bones generally have more fat on them as well, so there will be a decent layer to scoop off once it has cooled down.
Fish bone broth only needs around 6 hours to cook, as the bones are super fine and not very thick.
Most people that I have seen like to add spices, or vegetable cut offs to their bone broth while it’s cooking, but I don’t do this. The added veg and spices don’t add any health benefits to the bone broth because of the long cooking time, it is purely for flavour purposes. I like the flavour of it without anything added, and then you can get more broth in the end because there was no space wasted by vegetables. Add the vegies when you are cooking.
Now, filling the slow cooker end up making a lot of bone broth, too much to use in one go. It will store in the fridge for around a week, however, I am really weird about leaving food sitting in the fridge for more than two days, so, I like to freeze what isn’t getting used immediately. The best way to do this is to use a silicon muffin tray; fill each muffin hole with bone broth, sit it on a baking tray and freeze. Once its frozen just pop out the portioned bone broth and store it in a freezer bag. This way you can use small amounts of it in cooking without needing to thaw large amounts and wasting it.
This is how it looks when it is frozen in the muffin tray……
And that’s it. Pretty easy really.