If you are not already doing it, you should definitely start making your own bone broth. Not only is it super nutrient dense and flavorful, but its a great way to use up poultry, beef, lamb and fish bones and excess vegetables.
I’ve been making my own stock out of leftover bones and vegetables for as long as I have been cooking, but a few years ago I changed up the way I made my stock to reap even more benefits. I began simmering my broth for much longer between 24-48 hours and added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Bones have many nutrients and minerals inside of them and bone broth is one of the best ways that we can access all of those without actually having to eat the bones or marrow. The longer cooking time and apple cider vinegar better breaks down the bones and unlocks the nutrients. A big nutrient that comes from bone broth is collagen, which is important for so many things.
Here are just a few benefits you could get from adding bone broth to your diet:
- its amino acid structure and high gelatin content make is possible to heals and protects against leaky gut syndrome, IBS, and other digestive problems
- aids in rebuilding of connective tissue (this is especially important to those with damaged ligaments or those suffering from diastasis as a result of pregnancy)
- improves the look and health of skin, nails, and hair
- protects your joints and can help reduce joint pain
- aids your immune system (think how often chicken soup is recommended when sick)
Making bone broth is simple and cost-effective. Just put any leftover bones you have (chicken, beef, fish, etc) into a pot or slow cooker, add cold water to cover the bones and about a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar should be added to cold water and helps in breaking down the bones during the cooking. You can add any vegetables and spices that you want. Simmer 6-8 hours for fish bones and 24-48 for chicken and beef bones. The bones should be soft and with the smaller bones they should easily crumble when pinched between your fingers.
I love using a slow cooker for my bone broths, mainly because I’m a bit paranoid leaving the stove burning for so long. One thing though to keep in mind when using a slow cooker is that you may find your broth a little less gelatinous. A sign of a good bone broth is the consistency once it has cooled. It should be all wiggly just like Jell-O due to all the gelatin in the broth. One way to avoid that is to bring it to a simmer first on the stove and then transfer to the slow cooker or put in on high for a few hours and then change it to low for the rest of the time. Once it has cooled, stick it in the fridge if you plan on using it right away or in the freezer to use in the next few months.
There are numerous ways to use your bone broth once you have it:
- as a base for soups
- use like you would stock or water in a rice or quinoa dish to add some extra protein
- drink warm straight from a mug
- use it to make gravy or other sauce
You can normally get cheap bones from a butcher or local farm that sells meat very cheaply. I get mine for £2 a kilo, which is just the right amount for one large pot of bone broth. Whether you do that or just make a pot of bone broth after each roast chicken that you make or you regularly save bones until you have enough for a big huge pot of stock, they are all great ways to save money and make a super healthy dish full of nutrients and minerals.