Bone Broth, a Super Food

Bone Broth, a Super Food

High-quality bone broth (also called soup stock) is great at repairing and maintaining gut health. It contains gelatin, collagen, a number of minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium, as well as amino acids (including proline and glycine). Glycine not only helps the body synthesize collagen but it also aids in the release of growth hormones and wound healing. Proline tightens and builds cell structure, so it can help heal leaky guts. And healing leaky guts is what we’re all about!

Diane Sanfilippo with Balanced Bites does a great job explaining in detail why bone broth is so beneficial.

I like to make my own broth for sipping and to use in recipes because then I know exactly what ingredients were tossed in. Because the instructions below use a pressure cooker, it takes 1/3 of the time it would take in a crock pot, which is really convenient. We make batches often and stockpile this stuff in the freezer if we don’t use it right away. It’s great knowing that we’re able to produce a super healthy food from yet another part of our animals that is typically considered “waste”.

The recipe below is modified and combined from two of my favorite paleo resources, Nom Nom Paleo and Practical Paleo. For recipes and food-related instructions, I pretty much just take what I see, experiment, and make it my own. What can I say? I am not a chef, I am a scientist.

Feel free to modify it based on what you have sitting around, what you have fresh from the garden, or what your body is telling you it wants (no, you shouldn’t put cake in there).

A bag of lamb soup bones Fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden

I use:

  • 2 1/2 pounds bones (see bone notes below)
  • 8 to 10 cups filtered water
  • 2 carrots (washed, ends cut off)
  • 2 tbs raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dry)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dry)
  • 2 bay leaves

What to do:

  1. Weigh out the bones (you can use frozen bones)
  2. Add the water to cover the bones but do not fill the pressure cooker more than 2/3 full
  3. Turn the stove to high and put the pressure cooker on
  4. Wash and trim the carrots, add them to the pot
  5. Add the herbs, sea salt, and apple cider vinegar
  6. Give the pot a shake to mix things up and put the lid on, set the pressure to high
  7. Continue to cook on high until pressure is reached and then turn the heat to low (setting 4 on my stove)
  8. Cook for 30 minutes
  9. Once done, remove from heat and let the pot cool and the pressure release before opening the lid
  10. When cool enough, skim off the fat (optional) and strain and store in freezer-safe containers

Many other recipes use leeks, onions, and garlic. These are awesome for flavor but I started leaving them out when we reduced the FODMAPS in our diet. Do what you want and what your body allows.

Pressure cooker indicating it has reached pressure Ingredients in the pressure cooker

Where to find bones?

Getting bones from healthy animals can be a task in itself. When we purchase a whole or portion of a pastured animal we always ask to get absolutely everything they will give us. We want the bones, fat, organs, all of it! But if you don’t regularly get large portions of meat, then finding bones might be tricky. When we first started eating whole foods and super foods, we had this problem.

We did, and still do, save bones from dinners (chicken wings, pork chops, etc.), freeze them, and make stock from them. We don’t reuse bones that were cooked for long periods of time (e.g., from crockpot meals) because all the goodness has already been removed. Those bones go to my mom’s dogs (until we get our own farm dog!).

How to identify a well-made batch of broth?

When the broth cools and gels like jiggly jello, you know you have created a good batch of bone broth. When you see that gelatinized broth, you know the gelatin and all the minerals and amino-acids have been extracted from your bones. Kristen Michaelis with Food Renegade gives some tips on why your broth might not be gelling like you’d like.

One last thing, if you’re looking for a super easy and quick soup or side, just throw a couple of cups of broth and some frozen vegetables (carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower work great) on the stove and heat it up.

Enjoy your delicious, homemade broth and your healthy gut!

A bowl of easy soup made with bone broth
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