4 Reasons You've Got to Try Bone Broth
See you later, fresh pressed juice:Â The new hot drink in town is bone broth. Gwenyth Paltrow recommended it on Goop.Â Quartz called it a â€œmiracle drink.â€ And now, at least in New York City, thereâ€™s a take-out window called Brodo where you can get aÂ piping hot cup of bone broth to go.
Yes, bone broth. As in theÂ liquidÂ you get from simmering the bones of a healthy animal with spices and herbs.Â As with other food trends (weâ€™re looking at you, ancient grainsÂ and fermented foods), bone broths are certainly nothing new. A broth is a just seasoned stock, and chefs make stocks from bones all the time as a base for soups and sauces. But even before there were chefs, we were making broth; in fact, itâ€™s likely that humans have been boiling bones to make the nourishing liquid for up to 20,000 years.
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Whatâ€™s so great about it? You've probably already heard that science now backs up your grandma's favorite cold remedyâ€”chicken noodle soup.Â Well the base of chicken soup is yep, mineral-rich bone broth. So itâ€™s not surprising that other broths have similar healing powers. Here are a few, according to Amy Myers, MD, an Austin-based functional medicine physician and author of the forthcoming bookÂ The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and DiseasesÂ ($20, amazon.com).
It aids digestion
The gelatin extracted from the bones can help heal and protect the lining of the digestive tract, which means you absorb more nutrients from foods.
It's good for your bones
Calcium and other minerals in bone broth help repair bones.
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It may help joint pain
Glucosamine, found in the fluid that lubricates our joints, is also in bone broth. This substance (also made synthetically and sold in supplement form) can help alleviate inflammation and relieve joint pain.
It boostsÂ hair and nails
Bone broth contains collagen and gelatin, both of which help strengthen nails and hair.
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How to make it
Making bone broth is easy really: you just have to simmer the bones in water, using spices and aromatics (like onions and garlic) to flavor it. Here are some tips for making flavorful bone broth youâ€™ll love to sip or add to soups and sauces, from Alexandra Borgia, chef-instructor at the Natural Gourmet Institute, a culinary schoolÂ in New York.
Get organic bones. Source them as best you can from a butcher or a high-end grocery store. The best bones will make the best broth. Best doesn't necessarily mean "expensive."Â For example, with chicken, you can save the carcass from a roasted chicken or buy wing tips, necks, and backs from a butcher, all of which won't cost much.
Roast the bones. This is optional, but it will give your broth more flavor. Spread the bones on a baking sheet and roast at 400ÂºF for about 45 minutes, or until browned. Alternatively, you can blanch the bones quickly in boiling water to get rid of excess blood.
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Flavor your broth. Start with cold, filtered water. Along with the bones, add mirepoix (a mix of 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery, by weight, all evenly chopped), plus herbs and spices. For example, add a head of garlic, cut in half crosswise. Toss in bay leaves, fresh thyme and peppercorns. (Avoid parsley, which will get slimy.) These items will be strained out, so you donâ€™t have to worry about how they look. Roast the mirepoix with the bones for added depth of flavor, if you like.
Add vinegar. The acidic environment created by adding vinegar will pull more nutrients out of the bones. The best one to use is apple cider vinegar; buy one that is unpasteurized, preferably with some sediment in it. That floaty stuff in the bottle, called the â€œmother,â€ contains good bacteria that is beneficial for your gut.
Cook at a simmer. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Skim off any scum that collects on the surface (a slotted spoon is best for this). Let it simmer for as long as you can, several hours at least. The longer it simmers, the more the flavor develops and the more nutrients you will get out of the bones.
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Cool off and store it. To cool the broth, put the pot in the kitchen sink and surround it with ice and water. Stir the broth often. This will help to cool it down quickly, before bacteria can develop. (Putting a big pot of hot broth in the fridge can actually bring up the temperature inside your fridge, which is also not safe.) Skim the fat that collects at the top. To store, put the broth in ziplock bags or ice cube trays and freeze.
Hereâ€™s a tip: You can make bone broth just as easily in a slow cooker. Add all the ingredients to the cooker, cover and cook on low for several hours, up to a full day.
Or, if you're short on time, use a pressure cooker.
Want to read more? Pick up Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morell ($17, amazon.com), which is both a reference book and a cookbook about bone broth.