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.
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