If you’ve ever eaten at a high-end restaurant and ordered a soup or stew, the chef may have used bone broth (also called soup stock) to prepare it. A well-rounded bone broth is naturally delicious and enhances the flavor of any dish. But what many people don’t realize is that a good bone broth adds more than flavor to a dish, it also provides important health benefits. Bone broth benefits include nourishing your joints, digestive system, brain, skin, hair, and nails. These effects are primarily due to the high collagen content of bone broths, along with glycine and proline. Plus, bone broths provide important minerals like calcium and phosphorous. In fact, I often classify bone broth as a “superfood” because it’s loaded with so many minerals, amino acids, and proteins.
Due to tremendous range of bone broth benefits, it’s my number one prescription for healing a damaged or “leaky gut.” The gelatin heals the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Plus, it’s one of my top suggestions for patients with tired, achy joints since the collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) like chondroitin and hyaluronic acid help nourish them. In fact, bone broth diets are gaining in popularity as people are realizing the tremendous health benefits of this nutrient dense food.
One Of the Best Ways to Get Bone Broth’s Benefits Is By Making Your Own
Simply put, bone broth is a soup stock that’s extracted from cooking down animal bones. A well-prepared broth has a delicious depth of flavor, without the need for flavor enhancers like MSG (monosodium glutamate).
Bone broths are often tastier and more nutritious the longer they are allowed to cook, which can take 24 hours (or longer) on a stovetop. Luckily, crockpots and pressure cookers can make the process more practical and less time consuming. I’ve included two bone broth recipes below, one for the slow cooker and the other for the pressure cooker. There truly is no wrong way to prepare a bone broth, so be creative and begin to explore all that they have to offer.
Bone Broth Recipe: Slow Cooker Method
My preferred method for making bone broth is in a slow cooker. I use a 6-quart crockpot, but you can adjust the recipe to suit your cooking needs. I usually prepare the crockpot first thing in the morning, leave for work and return home to a fresh, delicious bone broth. I prefer to use beef bones for my bone broths (due to the richer flavor), but you can also use chicken bones including chicken feet.
- 3.5 lbs of beef bones from organic grass-fed or pastured cows
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 onion, cut in chunks
- 6 cloves of garlic (optional)
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Step 1: Add vegetables, garlic (peeled), bay leaves, and beef bones to the slow cooker. Fill with enough water to cover the bones and add the apple cider vinegar. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for at least 8-12 hours (you can cook for longer, up to 24 hours if desired). Some people keep a continuous bone broth going for up to a week at a time adding in water every time they remove broth.
Step 2: Once the bone broth is done, pour the contents of your slow cooker through a strainer to remove the solids. The bone broth can be enjoyed as is. Or, if you prefer a less oily broth, place the liquid in a glass container overnight and in the morning scrape off the solidified white fat layer from the top. The nutritious broth underneath will have a thick gelatinous consistency. It can be stored in the fridge for a few days, or frozen for months.
Calories: 159.3 | Total Fat: 0.8 g | Sodium: 245.1 mg | Fiber: 9.2 g | Protein: 5.1g*
*Does not include the bones
Bone Broth Recipe: Pressure Cooker Method
- 2.5 lbs. of beef bones from organic grass fed or pastured cows
- 1 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar (added to help extract nutrients from the bones)
- 1 Carrot, peeled and cut in to 1.5 inch pieces
- 2 Celery stalks, cut in to 1.5 inch pieces
- 1 Onion, cut in to chunks
- Optional: fresh thyme
- Water (enough to cover the bones, but no more than what would fill the pot to 2/3 full)
Step 1: Add the vegetables, beef bones, water, and apple cider vinegar to the pressure cooker. Close and lock the lid (follow your specific model’s instructions, and if it has a pressure dial turn this to high). Place the pressure cooker on the burner on high heat. Once high pressure is achieved (the indicator pops up and/or steam starts to come out the top hole), immediately decrease your stovetop temperature to the lowest setting that still maintains high pressure (allow a small constant stream of steam to emerge from the top hole). Set a timer for 30 minutes. If I have extra time, I will allow 60 minutes to help make a richer tasting broth. Once the timer goes off, turn off the heat, and remove the pressure cooker from the stove. Allow the pressure cooker to cool a little (and decrease the inside pressure) before removing the lid.
Step 2: Follow the step 2 instructions from the slow cooker recipe, above.
With either bone broth recipe, you can enjoy it by itself. My wife and I also like to blend in a pinch of salt or a tablespoon of organic miso per cup of broth, and enjoy it as a nutritious breakfast broth. You can also use the broth in place of water when you are making brown rice or quinoa.
To make a more filling soup, add additional cut up veggies (zucchini, carrots, onions, celery) and cook them in a standard stock pot with the bone broth for an additional 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Calories: 81.7 | Total Fat: 0.4 g | Sodium: 115 mg | Fiber: 5 g | Protein: 2.5 g*
*Does not include the bones