What is Bone Broth?
Some of you may be unfamiliar with the term “bone broth”, because this healthy and nutritious kitchen staple is commonly known by a few other names such as “stock” or simply “broth”.
Although all three of these terms apply to a basic flavoursome extraction made by boiling meat, bones, vegetables, herbs and seasonings, there are some subtle differences between the three.
The difference between “Bone Broth”, “Broth” and “Stock”
Broth is usually made with a higher proportion of meat to bone, (as in a whole chicken, for instance) and is simmered for a shorter period of time – about 45min to 2 hours.
Stock, on the other hand should contain mainly bones with just a little meat, (as in pieces of beef neck) and is simmered for about 3 to 4 hours.
Bone Broth, the most nutritious of them all, is made with fairly clean bones, with just fragments of meat adhering to them. It is simmered for a whopping 12 – 48 hours, to extract every morsel of goodness from the bones.
Uses for Bone Broth
Culinary: Bone broths form the backbone of any successful kitchen or restaurant, and are used in a multitude of ways in food preparation. Bone broth is amazingly flavourful and can be used as a base for soups, stews and gravies, as well as a flavour-enhancing, fragrant cooking medium for grains and vegetables, (it is often used in risotto, for instance). Most good restaurants have a pot of bone broth continually on the boil to use in a wide variety of dishes. At home, concentrated bone broth can be stored in the freezer to add rich flavours to everyday meals.
Health benefits: We have all heard about the benefits of Chicken Soup – well, here is the explanation! Bone broth contains a concentrated shot of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace mineral, which are easily absorbed by the body – just drink a cup of tasty bone broth for an instant pick-me-up, especially if you are feeling below par and cannot face other food. In addition, the broth contains glucosamine, collagen and gelatin, which are believed to help combat joint pain and degenerative joint disease, as well as supporting healthy cells.
How to make Bone Broth in 6 easy steps
1Assemble your ingredients and equipment
Depending on the volume of broth you want to make, you will need a large stock pot. Smaller quantities can be made in a slow-cooker, if you prefer.
You can use a mixture of bones for your broth – chicken, lamb, beef, and pork can all be combined – if possible use bones from free-range, grass fed animals. (If you have access to venison bones you are lucky indeed; wild animals eat the purest diets and are never subjected to routine anti-biotic treatments, which makes venison an excellent addition to your bone broth). Pure fish or chicken broths can also be made for use in seafood and chicken dishes respectively, and take less time to cook.
You will also need some organic vegetable and seasonings to add to your bone broth; use a mixture of chopped onions, celery, leeks, carrots, parsley and garlic.
2Roast the bones
You can add an enormous injection of extra flavor to your bone broth by simply roasting the raw bones in the oven at about 350 degrees for about 30min before adding them to the stock pot – this is especially true in the case of beef bones, but should be omitted altogether if you are making fish broth.
3Simmer the Bone Broth
Place the bones in the stock pot and add enough water to cover them completely. Now bring the water to a slow boil and adjust the heat so that the pot maintains a low simmer. Do not add any vegetables, herbs or seasonings at this stage.
Cooking times are as follows:
- Beef, Lamb, Venison or a mixture: 48 hours
- Chicken or poultry: 12 - 24 hours
- Fish broth: 8 hours
4Skim the Bone Broth
As the broth begins to simmer you will notice a frothy scum starting to float on the surface. These are completely harmless, but if you prefer a clearer end product you will need to skim off these impurities with a shallow spoon from time to time during the first two hours of simmering. Bones from healthy grass-fed animals tend to produce less of this unsightly but harmless scum.
5Add the aromatics
You can add all the vegetables and herbs about one hour before the end of your cooking time. Add seasoning just before the end of cooking to prevent your bone broth becoming too salty as the liquid evaporates. You can omit salt altogether if you prefer, and rather add salt to the dish you are preparing, instead of adding it to the broth.
6Cool, strain and store your Broth
At the end of the cooking time you will need to cool your bone broth and then pour it into clean jars through a fine sieve, to remove all the residual vegetables and herbs.
You can store the bone broth in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it for up to 6 months. It is always a good idea to bring your bone broth back to boiling point for a few minutes if it has been refrigerated for more than a day to two.
Tip: Pour cooled bone broth into ice trays and freeze. Place the frozen blocks of concentrated flavour in a plastic container in your freezer, so that they are conveniently on hand to add to gravy, casseroles and sauces. It will take your everyday meals to new heights!
If you don't have time to make your own, we highly recommend checking out Bone Broths Co., an 100% grass fed bone broth: http://www.bonebroths.com .