When injury strikes, I look immediately to my diet to help heal ligaments, tendons and bones. Bone broth has been, and is consistently recommended to me by trainers, nutritionists and other athletes as something to consider adding to my diet to promote faster healing. It also has many other health benefits.
So what is bone broth?
Essentially, bone broth is a stock made from animal bones. The difference is, the bones are boiled for much longer than traditional stock, anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. When boiled for long periods, the bones start to disintegrate, releasing all the nutrients and proteins in higher quantities then seen in traditional broths. Think of it as concentrated goodness.
Why is bone broth good for you?
Inside animal bones are nutrients such as collagen (needed to rebuild tissues), calcium phosphate, magnesium, silicon and amino acids. These are minerals you probably recognise from expensive fitness supplements or joint care medicines prescribed for athletes such as glucosamine and chondroitin. It is these amino acids that are particularly useful to athletes as they help rebuild the connective tissues of ligaments and tendons. By introducing bone broth recipes to your diet, you increase the intake of these vitamins and minerals in their natural state. Also saving you a pretty penny on supplements! Bone broth also supports joints, hair, skin, and nails due to the high collagen content. It can also help with digestion and boost your immune system.
Remember that bone broth is nothing new. Your grandma probably made you delicious chicken soup recipe when you were sick. People have been making bone broth for centuries. Recently it has become trendy much like cooking with kale and chia seeds. A café in New York City even opened up marking the epicentre of the trend, selling individual cups for $4.50 a pop.
Choosing the right bones for bone broth?
First off, you are going to want the finest bones you can get your hands on. Since you are extracting the minerals from the bones and drinking them in a concentrated form, you are going to want the healthiest animal possible. Go to a local butcher, preferably somewhere they cut the whole animal. Ask your butcher for organic and/or grass-fed bones. For beef bones, the chin bones, knuckles and/or neck bones are the best as they contain lots of marrow that you will want in your broth. Try to use different types of beef bones to make your bone broth.
Tips for making bones broth
- I like to roast my bones as I think it gives the broth a better flavour. This is an important step. Brown both sides of your bones.
- If there is some meat still stuck to the bones, this will only add to the great flavour.
- Do NOT skip the vinegar step of a recipe. It helps draw the minerals out of the bones.
- Use a slow cooker or a crock pot and use the biggest pot you have.
- Freeze meat cut offs and add this to your bone broth for extra flavour.
- Freeze vegetable cut offs like carrot, garlic, onion and celery and add these to your pot.
- You can leave your bone broth to simmer for longer then 48 hours.
- In the first few hours of simmering, check the pot and remove the froth residue on the top of the water. Throw this away (impurities).
- After removing impurities, don’t lift the lid and keep it simmering away and reducing.
- If you don’t like the flavour, add some Himalayan sea salt or a sprinkle spring onion to bring out the flavours.
- Freeze bone broth in an ice cube tray so you can use later as stock in soups.
Beef Bone Broth Recipe:
- 2-3kg of beef marrow, knuckle bones, chin bones, neck bones and bits of leftover beef – whatever the butcher will give (remember to get grass-fed bones)
- 3-4 litres of cold filtered water
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- 2-3 onions, coarsely chopped (try to get organic)
- 3 carrots, coarsely chopped (try to get organic)
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped (try to get organic)
- 6 cloves of garlic
- Parsley or thyme
- Place your bones on a large roasting tray and roast for about 30 minutes (on both sides) at 180C.
- Place the bones in the crock pot(s) or slow cooker and cover with the cold filtered water.
- Add the vinegar.
- Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cold water to let the acid eat into the bones.
- Add the chopped vegetables (and any meat off cuts you may have) and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for 48 hours with the lid on.
- During the first few hours you should skim the top of the water and throw this residue away. This is the impurities (a froth like scum on the top of the water).
- During the last 30 minutes add the garlic and any herbs (parsley or thyme).
- Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Strain the bones, vegetables etc, to just leave the liquid bone broth.
- Separate the bone broth liquid for freezing or storing in the fridge.
Here is a great chicken soup recipe we wrote about in another post.