Winter is upon us: time for some warming bone broth!
The Chinese have known about the health benefits of bone broth for centuries. Never wanting to waste any part of an animal, they believe that extracting all of the goodness from an animal’s bones, yields a highly nutritious, mineral rich elixir which can benefit many ailments. Indeed, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we believe that bone broth is extremely nutrient dense and very beneficial for nourishing the kidneys, strengthening the digestive system, building blood and enhancing immunity.
These days the consumption of bone broth has become popularised by the Paleo and Keto movement as well as other alternative practitioners who advocate its use for a number of ailments and disease prevention.
Some of its therapeutic uses you may or may not be aware of include:
1. Digestive issues: Bone broth’s high gelatin content is said to have a soothing and healing effect on the mucosa of digestive tract making it beneficial for those with leaky gut syndrome (food allergies, auto immune conditions etc).
2. Liver detoxification: Gelatin from the bone broth is also rich in the amino acid glycine, which can facilitate the livers abilities to efficiently eliminate toxins from the body.
3. Joint Pain and Inflammation: Bone broth is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin and the amino acids glycine and proline, all of which are essential for heathy joints and cartilage and for reducing inflammation.
4. Immunity: By virtue of the fact that bone broth has such a restorative effect on the digestive system it therefore follows that it supports the immune system, as 70% of the immune system resides in the gut.
5. Skin Health/Healthy Ageing: The collagen in bone broth facilitates the formation of elastin and other compounds within the skin which can improve the skins tone, texture and overall appearance.
6. Mineral deficiencies: Being rich in magnesium, phosphorus and calcium as well as other trace minerals, bone broth is an excellent source of highly absorbable minerals
In winter I make bone broth on a weekly basis. I never buy it; the store-bought product usually has additives in it. Also, the homemade version you buy at the health food shop can be expensive. It is so much cheaper to make yourself. Usually I use chicken bones, but any animal bones will suffice. Essentially you want to cook them low and slow. I use my slow cooker (I usually let it cook overnight), but you can also do them in a stock pot on a low flame on the stove top. Always use some acid such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. This helps with the breaking down of the bone and cartilage and the extraction of the minerals and collagen.
I usually make my homemade broth in large batches. It freezes well, and I tend to freeze it in either 500ml or I litre containers so I don’t have to defrost it at all at once. It is so versatile; I usually make at least 1 or 2 soups a week with it in winter and also use it in casseroles and risottos.
Here is my recipe………..
Traditional Bone Broth
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours
Utensils: Large slow cooker (7.5 litres) or Stock pot
1.5 Kilos bones of choice (organic if possible)
2 carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
I large onion peeled and cut in half
Handful of parsley
Handful of thyme
2 Bay leaves
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
½ tsp Salt
Few cracks of Black pepper
I use fresh herbs because I have them growing my garden. They can be omitted if you don’t have any.
1. Place the bones in the slow cooker or a large stock pot. Add enough water to completely cover them.
2. Add all of the other ingredients.
3. If using a slow cooker, set it to “low” and cook for 9 hours. On the stovetop set it to the lowest heat and cook for the same amount of time.
4. Once cooked, strain the broth through a fine sieve, discard all of the bones, vegetables and herbs then transfer it into a heatproof bowl. Once it’s completely cooled, cover it with some cling film and it refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight. Once fully cooled, skim off all of the visible fat and impurities and you should have litres of a beautifully clear broth.
Once prepared you can warm up a cup of broth and drink it straight, or you can freeze it straight away.
See how easy this is, especially if you have a slow cooker. Try making some this winter, you will never go back to the store-bought product again!
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