Bone Broth Is Where It’s At.

Bone Broth is the Best
Bone broth is the best!

I’ve been drinking broth a lot these days. We think of broth as simply a base for soups, don’t we? As something to build upon, a base from which to create something more interesting and flavourful.

But homemade stock/broth on its own is incredibly nourishing and healing, especially one that includes the bones and marrow of happy, pastured animals. Let me tell you why bone broth is something you should start making and drinking – and of course, how to do it (it’s so easy peasy).

The Why

Bone broth is simply loaded with nutrients – minerals, vitamins, amino acids – all in a highly bioavailable form. What does that mean? It means that the body doesn’t have to work hard to assimilate these nutrients; we can very easily receive all the goodness that homemade broths have to offer because there’s not much standing in the way of absorption.

  • Digestion – Bone broth is an absolute rockstar when it comes to healing the gut. It’s a traditional digestive healing remedy, having a soothing effect on inflammation in the intestines as well as providing the building blocks to repair damage. The gelatin actually improves overall digestion by normalizing stomach acid levels, promoting the release of digestive juices, and having a protective effect on the lining of the digestive tract.
  • Immune System – At least 70% of the immune system is found along the lining of the digestive tract. So as we heal and strengthen our digestion, we naturally strengthen our immune system too! Convenient, right? Another reason to sip on homemade broths when you’re sick. They’re extremely nourishing yet very gentle on the system.
  • Bones & Teeth – The bones of healthy animals contain the same minerals found in our own bones, and in the same proportions. Those concerned about bone health should know that bone broth contains bioavailable calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, and potassium.
  • Joints, Cartilage, & Skin – Bone broth contains gelatin, glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen – booyah! It’s a bit of a mouthful to list off all those nutrients, but trust me, this is the ultimate combination for the health of your joints and skin.
That's not tea I'm carrying!
That’s not tea I’m carrying!

The How

  • First, you need to find bones – preferably tubular shaped with marrow inside and a little meat on the outside. You can sometimes find bones at butcher shops. I’d stick with butchers that source ethically raised and chemical-free animals. In Toronto, I like Rowe Farms or The Healthy Butcher or Sanagan’s Meat Locker. You can also buy meat shares from local farms; just do a little research and see what CSA-style farms are local to you.
  • Next, you can make your broth! This is really not much different than making any other soup stock, which I’m sure most of you have done. Super simple.
  • You may roast your bones first if you like – this supposedly brings out more flavour. It’s totally optional, though, and I always skip this step.
  • Fill your pot or slow cooker at least half full of bones – I usually use 2 or 3 pounds worth of bones. There’s no exact measurement to follow here, but the more bones you use, the richer and more nutrient dense your broth will be.
  • (Optional) Add large, roughly chopped carrots, celery, and onions. I often throw in garlic cloves and bay leaves too.
  • Add black peppercorns and quite a bit of salt. Always salt! Just be sure to use unprocessed forms like grey chunky sea salt, or pink Himalayan salt.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar. This helps to pull the minerals out of the bone.
  • Finally, fill the pot with water. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer.
  • The simmering times vary widely, and everyone will tell you something different. Many people simmer for 24 hours or longer, and truthfully, the longer you simmer the more nutritious your broth will be. However, for people with intestinal issues, or those on a gut healing diet (GAPS style), it is important to minimize simmering time due to the production of glutamates.
  • For bone and meat broths, I simmer for at least 3 hours on the stove. For chicken carcasses, at least 2 hours. For fish stocks, 1 hour. If you have a slow cooker, it’s easier to do a much longer simmering time.
  • If foam develops on top while simmering, gently skim it off and discard. The bones of chemical-free animals will produce less of that stuff than the bones of conventional animals.
  • Once it’s ready, strain into glass jars while still warm. Pull off any meat still on the bones, and save that to add to soups later. Once cooled, keep in the fridge for one week, or it can be stored in the freezer for longer. Do not disturb the layer of fat that will form on top; this actually protects the broth from spoilage. Be sure to include that fat when you’re reheating the broth, as it’s very healing!

Once you get on the bone broth bandwagon, I tell ya, you won’t look back. As long as you’ve used enough bones, enough salt, and you’ve simmered long enough, it’ll be the tastiest, savouriest (I think I made that word up) warm drink you’ve had in a while, maybe ever. Plus, your soups will rock like never before.

At first it was a little strange for me to be drinking something so oily and fatty. This is comfort food, but also healing food. How wonderful. Drink a mug of it in the morning, between meals, on the go (see my picture), or late at night when you need a little something before bed.

Questions? Are you ready to give this a go?! Do share your thoughts below.

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Alex is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for helping people realize their full potential. After experiencing ill-effects from vegetarianism, Alex reclaimed her love of meat and adopted an omnivorous, yet truly holistic way of eating and living. She believes healing and balance can be found not just through the foods we eat, but the thoughts we think. Alex has a special interest in the areas of mental health, digestion & gut healing, and weight loss. She is based in Toronto, Canada, but also works with clients internationally via Skype.

7 thoughts on “Bone Broth Is Where It’s At.

  1. So I tried the broth but I don’t think it worked. I used beef bones. The butcher cut them into 2″ pieces. Simmered for 3.5 hours. After I strained the broth the bones still had stuff inside, both hard stuff and lots of white fatty jelly stuff. Is this the marrow? Is this supposed to have come out and been the broth? Someone said the broth should turn to “jelly” when refrigerated. Is that true? Just not sure what I’m supposed to end up with. Also I do have a crockpot…is that a better way to do this (longer simmering time)?
    Thanks for your help!!
    PS — is cider vinegar the same as apple cider vinegar?

    1. Hi Stacy – so happy you made this! It’s okay that there is still stuff/marrow inside the bone – I noticed even after using a slow cooker for 12 hours there was still some inside. And it’s also okay if there is no gel after it cools down in the fridge, although there should be a good layer of fat sitting on top once it cools. Slow cooking for 12-24 hrs should help create that gel – also try using a couple more bones. And yes, cider vinegar is apple cider vinegar – be sure to put a little dollop of it. Don’t discard what you just made; it still contains nutrients and is healing and nourishing, so drink up. :) Enjoy!

  2. This has been on my list to do for a while. I haven’t thought about using fish carcass … hmmm, will see about that one. Your instructions sound so easy. I assume you need to throw the carrots and veggies away once you jar the broth?
    Off to my local butcher this week. He raises his cows in the big field down the road. I wave at them whenever I drive by. Looking forward to trying this out!

    1. Hi Stacy,

      Yes, it IS really easy! I just made some overnight in my slow cooker for the first time, which made it even easier! Yes, generally I just compost the soggy veg – although I’m sure there are ways to use them. I’ve never tried fish bones myself, but I would imagine you’d need to be extra careful because the bones can be tiny and sharp. Definitely a shorter simmer time. Good luck and enjoy! Let me know how it goes.

  3. I’m so excited to try this! I want to make it for everyone I know AND my mother’s beloved elderly standard poodle, Raven, who is coping with adrenal cancer!

    Thank you for all the tips, Alex James Wellness! :-)

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