I hope this newsletter finds you in good health as we move into cooler weather. I always get really into soups this time of year. Purees with seasonal squashes are amazing, and I love making my own homemade bone broth as the base for all my soups.
If you've never tried making your own bone broth, I highly recommend it! The flavor is incredible and you can easily make an incredibly gelatinous, nutritious, healing broth.
Bone broth has been around for thousands of years, but it's not as common to find people making it at home these days. I'm glad it's becoming more popular again, because the nutrient density is pretty incredible. As Chris Kresser says, it's a "nutrient gold mine". Check out his article about the benefits of bone broth. Some of my favorite nutrients in bone broth are collagen and glutamine. Collagen is important in our bodies as it is the main component of our connective tissues. It gets a lot of credit for how nice (or not so nice) our skin looks since it plays an important role in cell development and regulation. Glutamine is an important amino acid, especially for healing the lining of our gut. A lot of my clients suffer from leaky gut, and bone broth is one of my top healing recommendations for gut issues.
When I started making bone broth a few years ago, I'd pick up whatever beef bones were in the frozen case at Whole Foods and throw them in my slow cooker. The broth was always great, and definitely nutritious, but I'd see people online making gelatinous broths and wonder how they were getting it to be like that! Mine always stayed pretty thin and watery. I wanted the jiggle! The more it jiggles, the more collagen-rich it is. (Don't worry, it only jiggles when it's cold. It turns back into soup when warmed.)
I quickly found out that certain types of bones were a lot richer in collagen. These bones include chicken feet, which creeped me out for a long time. Okay, they still do. But sometimes I take one for the team (the team being my health) and use them in my broth. Since I've started braving the chicken feet (with tongs, of course), my broth has been incredible!
Bone broth has to cook for a while in a slow cooker or on the stove top, but the effort is really minimal. Some of my clients use their Instant Pot, which is a pressure cooker that takes 2-4 hours instead of 24 hours. It's definitely a game changer.
A simple bone broth recipe
- Beef or chicken bones (2+ lbs. - fill roughly half full)
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- Water - fill about an inch from the top (or a little below the max fill line)
- Optional: Add an onion, celery, carrots, garlic, or herbs to add flavor
- Slow cooker or stovetop: Cook on low for 24 hours
- Instant Pot: Press "Soup" and set the time for 120 minutes
- Let cool a bit before straining through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Store in large mason jars for easy access in the fridge or freezer.
Tips & Tricks
- You can usually find “soup” bones in the fresh or frozen section of a co-op or Whole Foods-type store. Ask at the meat counter and they can point you in the right direction.
- Cook a whole chicken, and use the chicken carcass for broth + a few chicken feet for extra collagen.
- Purchase soup bones + a package of chicken feet, then use half of each and freeze the other half for your next broth.
- If you're using an Instant Pot, fill it 1-2 notches below the max fill line. You could have issues with pressurizing when filled too far.
- Freeze half to use another day if you don't need it all. You can pre-measure common amounts your recipes call for to make it super easy on yourself.
- You can reference this article if you need help troubleshooting your bone broth consistency.
- There's really no perfect way to make broth, and you'll figure out what you like best over time. Don't over think it!
When you're in a pinch, you can even buy bone broth pre-made. You can often get it hot at a co-op, or find it refrigerated or packaged as well either in store or online. Here are a few brands I recommend:
Happy soup season! Hope your broth turns out fabulous!
If you need help with any of your health goals, set up your free consultation so we can discuss how Thrive Nutrition can help.