An Adventure in Bone Broth

An Adventure in Bone Broth

There’s a lot of buzz around bone broth and it’s health benefits. I’ve seen it pop up on my suggested pins on Pinterest, I’ve seen a fairly funny Buzzfeed short video on it, heard Dr. Oz talk about it on his show, read a few articles about it and most importantly, asked my friend who raises 100% Grass Fed cattle about it.  Bottom line: it’s good for you. And we should be eating it (well, drinking and cooking with it).

Why? Well bone broth is rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It has restorative properties for hair, skin, and nails. It helps muscle rebuild. Helps heal a leaky gut (and other digestive issues). It’s good for building strong bones, and so much more!  This simple and age old food is a great source of:

  • Collagen (for skin)
  • Glycine (for sleep and memory)
  • Phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium (building blocks for healthy bones)
  • Gelatin (protein)
  • Glycosaminoglycan or GAGs (key to preventing and treating osteoarthritis)

With all these health benefits, this tired mommy just knew she had to give it a try. Everyone says it’s easy to make, so I decided to make it! Here’s my experience as a first timer making bone broth.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • CrockPot
  • Bones: knuckle is the traditional bone used.  I used Knuckle, Marrow and Neck Bone for variety.  I used locally sourced grass fed beef bones from True Pasture Beef
  • Water
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Veggies (optional –  I didn’t use them, but will use them in the future)
  • Strainer
  • Jars for storage (I used glass)

The easy way to make Bone Broth:

  • Roasted the bones on a pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to bring out the flavor (don’t burn them!)
  • Roasting Grass Fed Beef Bones
  • Lay the bones at the bottom of the CrockPot in one layer (if you can’t fit them all at the bottom, put the remaining bones back in the freezer). See how I have too many in this picture? I took half of them out to use later.  End result was 2 knuckles, 3 marrow and 1/2 of the neck bone package you see here.
  • grass fed beef bones for broth
  • Fill the CrockPot ¾ way full with water (see how the bones make one layer on the bottom?)
  • bone broth tutorial
  • Add Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (helps to bring out the minerals in the bones)
  • bone broth tutorial with crock pot
  • Turn on Low and cook for 12-24 hours. It should get hot enough to create a bubble here and there, but not boil. The broth should be a lovely caramel color. If you’re adding veggies, add them in the last 4-6 hours or so.
  • Strain. Let cool an hour if you like. Bottle & Drink. Refrigerate or freeze the broth.

They say there’s no wrong way to make broth and for the most part that’s correct. There is however, some additional tips and tricks to making it better.  My first attempt was in the “good, but not great” category. To help you avoid making my same mistakes, here’s what I learned:

  • I didn’t cook the broth long enough to get the good caramel color or to get the coveted “gel”.  If you do it right, the broth will create a gelatin like consistency when you cool it (seriously, like beef jello). Its good for you.  I only cooked it 12 hours and got a light broth color with no gel.
  • I made a second batch reusing the same bones from the first batch.( Yes, you can do that, make those bones count!) I let it cook for over 24 hours and it looked a lot better. However, with the second batch of broth using the same bones, you don’t often get gel (so don’t be bummed out). I’ll get it right next time! Looking back, I think I’ll probably cook the fist batch closer to 24 hours and up to 48 with the second batch next time. 
  • Strain, strain, strain!  Strain more than once. Use a cheesecloth if you have one. I didn’t strain my first batch very well and got a lot of sediment.  If this happens to you, it’s ok. It just looks funny. I ended up straining it again after it cooled (because it didn’t gel) and removing the fat. Yes, there may be a small layer of fat that separates from the liquid and creates a fat layer on the top.
  • Next time I’ll add veggies for more flavor (onions, carrots, celery). I plan on drinking the broth to aide in a variety of health benefits(namely to help heal my digestive issues) and my first set of  batches were pretty plain. I am also using it to cook with, which is fantastic either way!
  • Freeze what you don’t plan on using in the next 3-5 days. Remember: its a meat product and you should treat it as such. Its fresh and will go bad if not stored properly.

I’m still in the process of drinking it everyday and will post a follow up blog post about my experience.  If you’re ready to give it a try, do it!  You can find bones at your local butcher shop or through local farmers (yes, they exist!). I got my bones from True Pasture Beef, a local grass fed, grass finished, pasture raised beef ranch in southern California.  Just like all food, the quality of what you eat and where its sourced is reflected in the health benefits you receive. We are what we eat. I absolutely love the True Pasture Beef’s selection of bones and beef and have been exclusively purchasing our red meat through them since having my Little Man. It also helps that I know the farmer personally. I know how the cattle are raised, what they are fed and how they are treated, plus they are are local! Local farmers can be hard to find, but they are out there! To find one near you, visit eatwild.org – they are a unbiased resource that validates the farmers and CSA’s they list. And when you find one, ask lots of questions to learn about their practices. Ok, ok I’ll get off that soapbox for now.

So go turn that CrockPot on, brew away  and sip to a healthier, stronger you!

bone broth in a cup

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