There’s a South American Proverb that says, “A good broth can raise the dead.”
But what is it about “soup” that makes it good for us when we’re sick?
Homemade bone broth is one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet. It’s made by simmering the bones of a (preferably pasture-raised) animal for 10 – 24 hours in a slow-cooker, or 24 – 48 hours for beef bones. This low, slow cooking draws out the collagen, marrow, and other healing elements from the bones, including amino acids, minerals, glycine, and gelatin—which helps heal the gut and reduce inflammation.
My wife and I pretty much always have a batch of bone broth simmering on the counter. I’ll drink a cup of it in the late morning with a bit of sea salt, or we’ll use it to make soups and stews. Broth can be a powerful weight-management tool, it keeps your joints lubricated, provides your bones with necessary nutrients, and makes your skin soft and elastic.
Broths are rich in nutrients that are difficult to source elsewhere—incredibly high in vital minerals like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium.
You can use the bones (and legs from poultry, which are rich in restorative collagen) from pastured chicken, grass-fed cattle, fish, crustaceans, or anything else that was Recently Alive and Well (R.A.W.). Leftovers work well, too—take the picked-over carcass of a roasted fowl or the leftover bones from a roast or seafood meal. If you’re in a hurry, you can even throw in a whole fish.
Not only are bone broths packed with nutrition, they’re an excellent way to save money on your grocery bill because you’re skipping prepared soups and broth. Plus, you’re doing your part to use the whole animal and reduce waste.
Unlike real bone broth, processed soup from a can like Campbell’s or Hormel is packed with sodium, preservatives, corn starch, wheat, artificial flavors, MSG, sugar, and none of the things that make real homemade soup nourishing.
Traditionally, chicken broth is made from slowly simmering a whole chicken for hours along with vegetables and seasonings. Finally, the bones are removed, the chicken stripped off, and chopped vegetables are added.
Alyson, bless her heart, always whips me up bone broth soup when I’m under the weather. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, but it can cut the duration of your cold in half. It has plenty of bug-fighting goodness that will fix you right up in no time.
WHERE TO FIND GRASS-FED BONES
LocalHarvest.org is a free online resource for finding farms, farmers markets, CSAs and more near you. Just type your zip code into the field at the top of the page, and do a search to see what’s close by.
If you can’t find grass-fed, pasture-raised bones at your local farm or farmer’s market, here are a few of our favorite places to order them online:
- Place bones into a large crockpot. You only need a few bones to make broth, but the more you can fit in the crockpot the better.
- Fill with filtered water to cover all the bones completely (it’s okay if there are a few bones poking out of the water a little).
- Add a splash (about 1 tablespoon) of vinegar.
- Set your crockpot on low, and cook for at least 6 hours, preferably longer. Poultry bones can go as long as 24 hours, and beef bones can simmer for up to 48 hours.
- When the crockpot is cool enough to handle, pour the broth through a sieve into a storage container or use tongs to pick the bones out.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use within 5 - 7 days or freeze for later.
If you’re using marrow bones in your broth, here’s a little tip for getting to eat the marrow, too…
Make sure any marrow bones are turned sideways in the crockpot, and are near the top so they’re easy to find. You don’t want the marrow to fall out into the broth when you pick them out.
Allow the bone broth to cook like normal (per the recipe above), but check on the bones in about 4-5 hours. Use tongs to pull the marrow bones out of the water, salt, and eat the marrow straight from the bone. The longer you wait to check on them, the more likely the marrow may have melted away–but, we’ve been able to get the marrow after about 8 hours in the crockpot.
Return the bones to the crockpot to continue cooking to make broth.
Alternatively, you can make Roasted Bone Marrow (page 278 of The Wild Diet), and then use the leftover bones in your bone broth.
BONE BROTH BUTTER
After cooling your bone broth in the refrigerator overnight, you’ll usually get a thick layer of fat on top. If you’re using healthy bones from wild or pasture-raised animals, this fat is pure gold.
Scoop it into a separate storage container and store it in the refrigerator. Use it for stir-frying veggies, caramelizing onions, cooking eggs, or pan-frying burgers.
BONE BROTH SOUP
A few hours before serving, add your bone broth back into the crockpot along with a bunch of chopped veggies and spices.
Try adding 1 bunch chopped kale, 1 chopped onion, 4 minced garlic cloves, 3 chopped carrots, 3 chopped celery sticks, 1 cubed sweet potato, along with salt, pepper, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne. Chopped bacon can be a tasty add-in, and kelp is great for adding more nutrients.
Simmer on low until veggies have softened, about 3 hours.
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HOW TO GET 20% OFF DONE-FOR-YOU BONE BROTH
Don’t have time to make bone broth at home? We like to keep backup broth in the cupboard just in case.
Kettle & Fire Bone Broth is made from 100% grass-fed, organically raised cattle and organic vegetables and spices… and it tastes great right out of the box.
And as a special hookup for Fat-Burning Man readers, you can try Kettle and Fire’s broth for 20% off! Bottoms up!
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH THE WILD DIET
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Did you notice a difference in the way you felt after drinking Bone Broth for a while? Comment below to share your experience making and drinking homemade Bone Broth.