As you explore natural methods of healing your body, bone broth is sure to be on your radar. The healing power of bone broths isn’t something new, as most of us have enjoyed homemade (or canned) chicken noodle soup when we are sick. The nutrients in the broth hydrate us and help our body to heal, but broth shouldn’t only be reserved for when you aren’t feeling well—as it can be a powerful proactive approach to health and anti-aging. Many health food stores, farmer’s markets, butchers, and restaurants sell bone broth, but it’s easy to make at home!
What Is Bone Broth?
Before we dive into a recipe, let’s discuss what bone broth is. Most commonly made from simmering the bones of chicken or beef with vegetables to release their inner nutrients, you can also make broth from turkey, lamb, duck, pork, or any other animal meat source. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can make veggie broth. It will still be nutrient-rich, but it won’t contain the nutrients within the marrow of the chopped bones.
On that note, eating marrow is another way to enjoy the benefits of drinking broth. In a pinch, you can keep store-bought stocks and broths at home for general cooking and broth benefits, but fresh is the most effective way of achieving maximum benefits. Also, many store-bought broths are high in sodium because they are meant to be an additive—not a beverage.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth?
There are a variety of benefits to consuming the vitamins and minerals found in bones that you can’t get in the same potency with your daily diet. These nutrients are best when consumed directly from the source because they are easier for your body to absorb. Some of the most common reasons to drink broth include reducing or improving:
- Joint pain
- Leaky gut
- Fine lines & wrinkles
- Quality of sleep
DIY Bone Broth Recipe
Now that you understand the health benefits, it’s time to make your own broth. Not to worry if you aren’t a skilled home cook because broth is super simple. Consider making it in large batches so that you can freeze your extra and have enough for the next few weeks. There are countless recipes to choose from, so let’s begin with a basic recipe that you can personalize to your taste.
For the bones, freeze the leftover bones from the meat you eat until you have enough to make your broth—or head to the butcher to pick up bones. You may need to call ahead to request that they set aside bones for you. Yes, you can make your broth from a mix of meat bones or a singular type of meat bone. Making your broth is a perfect excuse to roast a whole chicken. Yes, organic is better.
- 4 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley or cilantro
- 2-3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- 2-4 lbs. bones, it’s okay if there is a bit of meat
- Chop your bones a bit to expose the marrow, in sections that are at least 3 inches in length.
- Skip steps 3 and 4 if you are using bones you’ve already cooked, such as your roasted chicken carcass.
- If the bones are uncooked, such as from the butcher, blanch them first by adding them to a pot, covering them with cold water, and simmering for 20 minutes. Drain the water and continue.
- Roast your blanched and uncooked bones for 30 minutes at 450 degrees.
- Combine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil OR add ingredients to your crockpot. Include the caramelization and brown bits of your blanched and roasted bones.
- Personalize with additional herbs and spices, which we will discuss in the next section.
- Slow cook for 12 to 24 hours.
- Occasionally stir if you wish, but there's no need to. Avoid the temptation to skim away the fat and gelatin-like substance that forms as that is where some of the nutrients are.
- Once done, strain and cool to drink.
- Freeze extra to enjoy later. Each fresh or defrosted batch is good for five days in the refrigerator or up to one year in the freezer.
What If I’m Vegan Or Vegetarian?
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can make veggie broth. It will still be nutrient-rich, but it won’t contain the nutrients within the marrow of the bones. Not to worry, as the high concentration of simmered nutrients will deliver many of the same benefits of bone broth.
If this is a veggies-only broth, roast your veggies first in olive oil at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, or until tender. Also add in veggie scraps, personalize with the tips below, and consider adding in dark leafy greens such as spinach or seaweed.
When you are ready to drink, consider stirring in a bit of miso for gut health or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to brighten it up a bit.
How To Personalize Your Bone Broth?
The recipe above is for a basic and flavorful broth. However, if you skip the blanching and roasting of your uncooked bones, you will taste the difference. To further personalize and enhance the flavor profile, consider the tips below:
- Switch from a stove pot to a crockpot for a more intense flavor
- Consider a mix of bones (both meat and poultry) or try a different type of bones
- Try different onion, such as shallots or leek tops
- If you love garlic, double the garlic
- Add in 1 or 2 additional vegetables, such as cabbage, mushrooms, or tomato
- Boost flavor and nutrients by adding in fresh herbs or your favorite spices, such as basil, oregano, or turmeric
- Increase your simmer time to a full 24 hours, which is easy in a crockpot
How Do I Use My Bone Broth?
Now that you have your delicious broth, it’s time to add it to your weekly routine. Ideally, you want to drink one or two 8 ounce cups per day, either first thing in the morning or before bed. Yes, you can drink more if you want, but begin with one or two cups per day. Your broth contributes to your daily hydration intake, but drinking it is not your only option. Use it as the base for either a hot or cold soup or cook your grains in your homemade broth.
It’s easy to forget, but nature provides us with much of what our body requires to thrive. For many, drinking bone broth is both a proactive and reactive approach to health. It supports your body’s natural healing abilities by delivering essential vitamins and nutrients. Additional ways to support and soothe your body include drinking herbal teas, yoga, meditation, and incorporating CBD oil into your daily routine.