Sipping hot spiced tea or hot cocoa is the classic cold winter evening treat. But have you ever tried sipping bone broth? It packs a nutritional punch in just 1 cup and is low in calories too. Here are my reasons why you should try it and all the ways you can consume it.
Health Benefits of Bone Broth
- A great source of collagen
- Collagen is a key building block for the cells in our joints, skin, GI tract, and all of our connective tissue. A decrease in our body’s collagen has been linked to the aging process. (1)
- Boost of protein
- Collagen turns into gelatin when it’s cooked, which provides a great source of amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Gelatin is the substance that gives your bone broth a slight gelatinous texture when refrigerated. But don’t worry, this goes away when it is warm.
- Bonus win: Specific amino acids in bone broth have been linked to reducing inflammation, supporting a healthy gut, and our body’s production of collagen. (2, 3, 4)
- Bone broth can be an extra source of vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. If the bones used for the broth contain a portion of bone marrow, the broth will also have iron and some trace minerals—zinc, manganese, and selenium. Since the exact recipe varies in the type of bone, source of bone, and cooking time, the amount of each micronutrient will vary as well.
How to Consume Bone Broth
- Use it to hydrate foods.
- Bone broth is delicious to rehydrate your pastas, rices, quinoas, and grains. Swap your water for bone broth at a 1:1 ratio. If you added salt to your broth, be sure that you aren’t adding too much additional salt to your grain recipes.
- Add it to soups.
- Use it just like any type of stock. Bone broth is a fantastic and nutritious base to any soup or stew. For any recipe that calls for “stock,” use bone broth instead.
- Incorporate it in sauces.
- Using a concentrated bone broth is especially delicious as your base for a sauce. A great example is to use bone broth instead of chicken stock in a velouté.
- Sip it on its own.
- It’s simple; just drink it warm and enjoy.
Bone Broth Recipe
Making your own broth will take some time, but it is so worth it. Not sure what bones to use? I recommend any bones, marrow, and even connective tissue that come from a healthy animal or fish. If you can find local, organic, or grass-fed options, they will likely result in a more nutritious bone broth.
Browning the bones
Not all recipes agree on this, but I have found that browning/caramelizing the bones results in a much more flavorful broth than using uncooked bones. If the bones you are using are already cooked, then there’s no need to cook them again. Also, I recommend using a few spices, fresh garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, and the vegetable combination called a mirepoix. Your mirepoix and the garlic should be roasted as well to maximize flavor.
- 12 cups filtered water
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2-4 lbs bones
- Mirepoix (all chopped to ¼-inch pieces):
- 1-2 medium onions, about 8 ounces
- 1 large carrot, about 4 ounces
- 2 celery ribs, about 4 ounces
- 5-6 large garlic cloves
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh bay leaf
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Fill a pot with the water to boil. Chop the mirepoix to ¼-inch pieces. Roast and caramelize the bones, garlic cloves, and your mirepoix for 30-45 minutes. You want the bones to be a deep brown color.
- Once well browned, add the bones, garlic, mirepoix, the tasty brown bits on the roasting pan called fond, spices, and apple cider vinegar to your pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer for at least 8 hours to 24 hours; the longer it cooks, the tastier and more nutritious it will be. Don’t let the broth boil again. Every few hours, check to ensure water is covering your ingredients and skim the top if any foam is visible.
- Once done, let cool and remove the bones. Strain your broth through a colander lined with cheesecloth. Store in the fridge for a week, or freeze and it can last up to 6 months.
Whether you sip bone broth on its own or use it in your cooking, be sure that you do try it. It’s an easy and economical recipe to boost your nutrition on a cold winter’s day. Stay warm and healthy all.