Healing Foods: Bone Broth

Healing Foods: Bone Broth

Bone broth has been shown to improve digestion, reduce allergies and boost immune health as well as having other health benefits. It is made by boiling beef, chicken or fish bones, depending on your preference.

Bone Broth Healing Food

Always choose high welfare bones from grass-fed beef, free-range chicken or wild, unfarmed fish where possible as they will be exposed to less, or preferably no, chemical pollution, growth hormone etc and will provide the greatest health benefits.

Paleo fans swear by this mineral-rich stock made from slow-cooking the bones in water.

The larger the bones the longer you’ll need to simmer them for so that they completely break down and release their nutrients. Chicken bones will need to simmer for up to 24 hours while fish bones will only need eight hours. Beef bones need to cook down for a seriously long time; it is not unusual to have a pot gently simmering away for 48 hours or more. The resulting infusion is rich in minerals known to boost the immune system; improve digestion; relieve allergies; and even aid brain health by improving cognitive ability. The slow cooking breaks down the bones to release collagen so bone broth also helps to support joint flexibility and hair growth, improves skin tone and strengthens nails.

Once made, it can be frozen in serving sizes to be incorporated into soups, stews and sauces, or a glass of broth can be drunk each day. It is also helpful to have broth on hand when anyone in the family feels unwell and loses their appetite. It can be a soothing and immune boosting drink to speed recovery.

Here’s how to make bone broth for yourself.

Place about 1/2 to one kilogram (1-2lb) of beef bones, purchased from an organic butcher, or the leftover carcass of a free-range, organic chicken, together with a splash of organic apple cider vinegar, a few root vegetables, chopped or crushed garlic, a couple of chopped onions, and a handful of fresh herbs into a large saucepan or slow cooker.

Cover with cold water.

Bring to the boil and then simmer with a close-fitting lid over a very low heat for several hours until the bones have disintegrated. An ideal cooking pot is an electric slow-cooker as  it can be set to cook at a very low temperature and left just to get on with it for hours.

Strain the liquid and discard any debris.

It is important to cool down the bone broth quickly.

It will keep fresh in the fridge for a couple of days, or freeze into serving portions.

You can buy pre-made bone broth in cartons, but as with so many store-bought products, it is important to determine provenance, whether it is organic or not and what level of salt (sodium chloride) it contains; buy the lowest salt content available.

Looking for Vegan Bone Broth instead?

Extract from ‘How to Feel Differently About Food’  (2017) written by Sally Baker and Liz Hogon. Kindly reprinted with permission from Hammersmith Books, London

How to Make Vegan Bone Broth

How to Make Vegan Bone Broth

You know that bone broth has amazing health benefits, but you’re wondering if there’s a vegan version of bone broth as you want to avoid gelatin. There are many amazing plant-based broths that are available and the good news is that you can make a vegan equivalent of bone broth very easily.

vegan bone broth recipe

Start Your Vegan Bone Broth With What You’ve Got

All great broths are created with vegetable scraps and leftovers. Start freezing leftover vegetables and scraps until you have two or three measuring jugs worth. Vegetable scraps, like mushroom stems, contain antioxidants. Leftover parsley stalks are bone supporting as they’re rich in vitamin K. You may have a lot of potato skins, carrot peelings and ends and these are rich in potassium. You’ll also find potato skins help thicken your vegan broth.

Cooking Your Vegan Bone Broth

When you have enough vegetables add them to your slow cooker and cover with water. You can now add seasoning like ground pepper (fresh peppers give your vegetarian bone broth a hint of spicy warmth), sea salt (ground or crystals) and then cook on high until the liquid is bubbling away.

When your vegan bone broth is bubbling, turn it down low and cook until all the vegetables are soft. Remember, cooking disintegrates a lot of vegetables, so the nutrients are in the liquid. When your broth is ready, pour it through a sieve into a serving dish or the storage jug.

Storing Your Vegan Bone Broth

Once cool, freeze portions for future use, or store it in the refrigerator for the next three days. Remember that the life of fresh foods is shorter, and if you make a large batch of broth you can easily sieve it and freeze it. Fresh vegetables last about 18 months frozen in the freezer. Vegan bone broth lasts about 6 months. After that, the quality declines.

Getting the Most From Your Vegan Bone Broth

You can easily pour yourself a cup of vegan bone broth and reheat it in minutes. It can be served as a meal with a slice of bread. The perfect bread is something seed-based or an artisan made. Spelt flour made bread and sourdough add a different texture to the broth.

You can also add vegetarian dumplings

Although these are vegetarian dumplings, you can also make them vegan by using plant-based substitutes. For vegetarian dumplings, you will need 100g self-raising flour,  50g unsalted butter. 50g mature cheddar cheese, grated, 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary and a pinch of fresh thyme leaves.

Rub the flour and butter together to make crumbs, and then add the remaining ingredients. Add 2 teaspoons of water and making a dough. When you have your dough, to divide it up and roll it into balls and then pop them into the broth as you reheat it. Cook until dumplings are ready (usually about 20 minutes on a gas cooker).

Enjoy your bone broth equivalent and all the health benefits it brings.