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Bone broth for bounce

February 25, 2012

Golden elixir

My grandmother was famous for her pot of beans. She would take a big fat ham bone with lots of meat on it and simmer it all night long. The next morning she would add the beans and onions then cook all day long. The scent would snake its way all over the neighborhood. She would simply seasoned it with salt and pepper and serve it up in large steaming bowls with freshly baked cornbread. I will never forget that humble yet soul satisfying meal that so conjures up her essence. Grandma lived to be 98 years old, active and witty till the very end. We all considered the beans as her fountain of youth but now I understand it was the ham bone.

Science validates what our grandmother’s knew; rich homemade broth from bones cures whatever ails you. Bone broth contains minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sulfur that are hard to get in a form that the body can easily absorb (which is also hard to get). And that is just the thing that is so amazing about bone stocks is that everything is broken down where the body can easily absorb all the lovely things contained in it. Of course, your bones will love this stuff.

Stock made from bones also contains the stuff joints are made of like cartilage and tendons which break down into very valuable chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine. We pay a lot of money to buy these supplements in tablet form where our elders just got them from those magical bone broths. There is insult to injury here; those expensive tablets are not very absorbable so we aren’t even getting the good stuff that we paid for. If you want your joints to be healthier and pain free toss the pills and build a broth. One cup a day will keep the doctor away.

Homemade broths are so much different than the store-bought ones. The most profound difference you will notice is that the store-bought broth is easy to pour out of those neat little containers. Homemade broths take on an interesting metamorphous and are jelly like, no pouring these broths! (I’m not sure how they get the gelatin out of the store bought broth. Another great processed food mystery!) That is because they are chocked full of gelatin that was extracted from the bones. Gelatin is another super-food that has been found to help treat many health problems such as peptic ulcers, diabetes, digestive issues, muscle and infectious diseases. Yes! Granny was right on serving you chicken soup to cure that dreadful cold.

Not only is broth nutritionally dense, it is also a magic elixir for cooks and chefs alike to add deeper flavor to all their dishes. Sauté your veggies in it or add a dab of broth to any dish and you will be amazed at the complexities of flavor it will add. Most cultures have a stock pot simmering on the stove all the time, making the most out of the nutrition of all animal or vegetable scraps. Today we buy individual filets and boneless chicken breasts, or grab fast food on the run, and stock with its many benefits has practically disappeared from our culture.

Reverse this trend in your home by bringing back an old tradition and make your own bone broth. It is easy to get soup bones from our local meat growers or from your butcher. Soup bones are also very easy on the budget. It is a win win scenario, great nutrition and fantastic flavor for pennies on the dollar. Here is one of favorite stew recipes you can cook with broth.

Elk stew made with bone broth

Basic Beef or Venison broth
This recipe is great with poultry too. To make poultry stock, first roast the bird, eat and then make the stock from the carcass. The apple cider vinegar helps to extract more nutrients form the bones and cartilage. Instead of using whole veggies you can just toss in scraps. I have a friend that keeps a bag of bones and veggie scraps in the freezer, then when it gets full she makes a luscious broth.

About 4-5 pounds of bones with marrow and joints
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
A few sprigs of rosemary or other herbs
4 or more quarts of cold filtered water

If you have a big crock pot you are set. Add everything to the pot of the slow cooker and cover the bones with the cold water. Turn your slow cooker on low, cover and walk away for 12-24 hours checking in occasionally to make sure there is enough water to keep the bones covered. (If you are using a cooking pot on the stove, toss everything in a large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, then cover and let simmer for 12-24 hours checking occasionally to make sure there is still plenty of water in there.)
Let the magic elixir cool for an hour or two then remove the bones with tongs or a large slotted spoon. Now you will have a pot full of a rather repulsive looking brown liquid that has globs of fat floating around in it. Do not despair! It will be amazing, have faith! Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into heat proof bowl and let cool a few more hours. Pour into wide mouth quart jars and place in the fridge overnight. Remove the fat that will congeal on the top and give that and the bones to your or your neighbor’s dog. Use the bone broth liberally in soups and cooking. Freeze any broth that you aren’t going to use soon in plastic containers. Some people re-use the bones for two to three broths in a constantly simmering crock pot.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2012 3:49 pm

    I thought cooked bones were not good for dogs…is that not true?

    • ziabaki permalink*
      February 25, 2012 10:39 pm

      I do not understand where that logic would stand. Bone that have been cooked have been given to dogs for thousands of years I’m sure. Maybe they have a little less nutrients in them but definitely not bad for them. Enjoy!

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