Hi all, Oona here :)
It's the first of December and the day is warm - but it is COLD at night. We're full on into the heart of winter, and come January I want to be keeping warm with bone broth soups. My family has been sick lately - not laid out flat or anything - but stuck with a persistent cold that has sapped our energy and left us with a head that feels clogged and a dripping nose. I know it's that time of year, and we are not totally surprised when we get sick - mainly because everyone else is sick right along side us :-/. I’m not making any claims here that Bone Broth will cure your ailments but I do think it is a piece of the puzzle to staying healthy at this time of year. With the onslaught of holiday cookies fast approaching, the more I read about bone broth the more I am impressed with all the claims.
I am dreaming of experiments where I feed my family bone broth for a year, or at least a winter and take note of how many times we get sick. I am taking the day to step back and really see how I can slow down (almost impossible on a farm) and focus my energy into what is important and where my effort can make the most impact in keeping my family healthy and out of the Dr. office. Conveniently for us all Bone Broth is amazingly nourishing and rich in minerals that support the immune system as well as many other systems in our body. Bone broths contain minerals in forms that our bodies can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. Making the broth is important, because most store bought stalks and broths aren't "real". They are meat and vegetable flavors in a bouillon cube with none of the nutrition.
Here are the health benefits that bone broth is claimed to help:
1. Protects Joints
2. Good for the Gut
3. Maintains Healthy Skin
4. Supports Immune System Function
5. Boosts Detoxification
6. Aids the Metabolism and plays an important role in antioxidant defense.
If only a few of these turn out true, as I see it we're doing pretty good.
All bone broths — beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork and more — are staples in traditional diets and as usual western thinking is catching up with what the world has practiced for hundreds of years. It is also how our ancestors made use of every part of an animal. Since moving to the farm I have learned that chicken backs, and for the more adventurous, chicken feet, make superb additions to any bone broths.
Maybe one of the best things about bone broth is that it is a nutrient dense food that is inexpensive and keeps well in the freezer. Last winter every few weeks I would make a big batch and would freeze what my family couldn’t eat in the next week. Freezing can be done in any container; I use Pyrex glass containers and then once frozen remove the frozen block by running warm water over the glass. Once removed I combine a few blocks into a plastic bag that takes up much less space in the freezer, and bring them out as needed. The broth is great in soups, or as a nourishing tea with a teaspoon of miso stirred in. My 2 year old (Rowan) gobbles it up.
Here is the recipe that I have used. Let us know how your broth turns out in the comments below!
2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source
2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
2 stalks of celery
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
Optional: 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon or more of sea salt, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, additional herbs or spices to taste. I also add 2 cloves of garlic for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
You'll also need a large stock pot to cook the broth in and a strainer to remove the pieces when it is done.
If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. I place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350.
Then, place the bones in a large stock pot (I use a 5 gallon pot). Pour (filtered) water over the bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available.
Rough chop and add the vegetables (except the parsley and garlic, if using) to the pot. Add any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs, if using.
Now, bring the broth to a boil. Once it has reached a vigorous boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until done.
During the first few hours of simmering, you'll need to remove the impurities that float to the surface. A frothy/foamy layer will form and it can be easily scooped off with a big spoon. Throw this part away. I typically check it every 20 minutes for the first 2 hours to remove this. Grass-fed and healthy animals will produce much less of this than conventional animals.
During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley, if using.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.