Friday, December 30, 2011

Bone Broth

A poet is someone
Who can pour Light into a cup
and raise it to nourish your
beautiful parched holy mouth

Tis the season folks to be preparing and using your bone broth.  Winter is a good time to give yourself some extra nutrition, building up your immunity while you're at it.  Found in many traditional cultures throughout the world as a mainstay of the diet and as a base for traditional dishes, bone broth or stock, is not only extremely healthy but also greatly enhances the flavor of your food.  Sally Fallon, the author of Nourishing Traditions writes in detail about the constituents and properties of bone broth which can be prepared from fish, poultry, beef, goat, venison, or any left over bones you have on hand.  The key is the gelatin that acts as an aid to digestion and can sooth and treat many disorders of the digestive tract.  So here are the basics of how it's done...

Bone Broth (see Nourishing Traditions specific recipes)
1)  Start out with the bones and any other leftover meat, or parts from the animal, several sorts of bones are best.  The feet, hooves, knuckles, gizzards, or shells (if using shrimp) all make a good hardy stock.  Remember you want the gelatin to be released into the stock so using those knuckles, marrow bones, and feet yields the richest broth.
2)  Place the bones in a very large pot with 1/2 cup of vinegar, cover with water and let stand for 1 hour.  Meanwhile if you have any meaty bones you can roast them in the oven until browned then add them to the pot. 
3)  Bring to a boil, remove all scum that comes to the top.  After skimming reduce heat and add any herbs you like, peppercorns, thyme, sage, etc. 
4)  Simmer stock for at least 12 hours or as long as 72 hours.  I have heard of some people making stock in their crock pots.  As the stock simmers all week long they dip in, here and there, for a mug full or to cook in their rice, then adding water again so the stock liquid does not diminish. 
5)  When you are ready to use your broth remove from heat, strain, cool, and store in glass jars.  Take a moment to notice the bones in the pot.  They should crumble easily showing the marrow.  (This is a great moment to share with children to show them what is inside their skeletal system!)  It is really convenient to freeze the stock for future use. 

As for you vegetarians out there, I know how very foreign this may all sound to you.  I was once in your shoes, but making bone broth gives me a sense of satisfaction that I am providing my family (mostly my growing children) with some essential components of nutrition they can not get elsewhere in their diet.  But if the idea of bone broth is just way too nauseating for you, here are my suggestions...

1)  Either have someone make it for you and use it in your cooking instead of water or,
2)  Make a vegi version which will not have the same constituents as the bone broth but is still full of healing properties ...

Nutrient Dense Vegi Broth
In a large pot of water add the following,
-lots of fresh ginger root
-one or two chopped onions
-fresh chopped garlic
-fresh sliced burdock root
-2-4 large strips of kombu seaweed

Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of hours making sure the water level doesn't drop too much, you can always add more water.  The stock will become a dark brownish-green color.  Strain and store in glass jars in the fridge or pour some in a mug and add a spoonful of miso to enjoy immediately.  This broth is very good with lots of vegis, mushrooms and udon added then cooked as a soup! 


  1. Great piece on making bone broth! Thanks! I just made a bone, kombu and nettle broth to build adrenals. Made in my slow cooker. Why the vinegar? It pulls the minerals out?
    thanks again,

  2. Salaams,

    I love the blog and I was wondering if you could help me with a question I have on a home project.

    I will be sanding some old wooden floors and I want to use a natural and eco-friendly finish/primer on the floor that is non-toxic and wont hurt the environment. Do you have any suggestions for this and the possible price range and where I can find such a product?

    Thank you.