What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a clear soup that is made by boiling bones that have a substantial amount of collagenous connective tissue attached, in water and seasoned with herbs. Unlike other broths, this process requires a significantly longer amount of time to cook. By allowing a maximum of twenty-four hours to simmer, this ensures the nutrients are extracted from the bones and the connective tissues release collagen. Bone broth made from land animals is full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, while fish bone broth is a great source of iodine.
Typically, cow (beef) bones are preferred as they provide ample amounts of minerals, proteins, and fats. Some of those proteins include glycine which has shown to reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and aid in detoxification. Glycine is an amino acid with a number of important functions in the body. It is a component of collagen and acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Glycine is an essential component of bile acid, which has a role in fat digestion in the small intestine, and assists in keeping your blood cholesterol levels normal.
When looking at bone broth through the lens of TCM we see that there is a balancing (yin & yang) effect. The minerals nourish the blood, while the gastric juices stimulated by the bone broth possess a yang tonifying effect. Yin tonification can be seen in the suppleness of the skin, the cooling of inflammation and rebuilding the epithelial lining of the digestive tract by nourishing mucous membranes.
Benefits of Bone Broth
Bone broth can boost your qi, blood, and yin making it the perfect medicine for those that experience conditions that are taxing to the body. Bone broth can be beneficial for individuals that are experiencing a lack of sleep, busy/stressful lifestyle, a common cold, or aid in the natural aging process.
Bone broth can help stop the migration of neutrophils–white blood cells that heal damaged tissues and defend against infections. This stops inflammation and alleviates symptoms of the common cold. With such high protein content, bone broth also supports weight loss. It assists in stabilizing blood sugar by supplying the body with glycine, while enhancing the feeling of fullness and curbs the appetite. Having stable blood sugar levels activates the region of the brain that controls impulses. Bone broth can also improve workout recovery as glycine helps the body produce creatinine, which contributes to the formation of muscle mass and improves exercise performance.
Ingestion of collagen increases the amount of functional collagen peptides in the blood, which are then transferred to the skin. Research shows that bioactive collagen peptides strengthen the health of your hair, nails, and skin. Collagen is a natural smoothing and plumping agent, keeping the skin firm and elastic.
Tested and certified organic collagen bone broths. These organic products are confirmed to be qualitatively superior as they lack the chemicals found in conventional formulas found in grocery stores.
Making Bone Broth
The longer you cook this nourishing broth, the more savory and concentrated it will become. Roasting the bones and vegetables beforehand will add even more flavor and richness to your broth. Bone broth is medicine.
Many of the benefits include:
Improves digestion and gut health
Builds blood & repairs cellular damage
Nourishes the kidneys and supports our vital essence (qi or energy)
Strengthens your immune system
Helps grow lustrous hair, skin and nails
Increases synovial fluid (fluid that lubricates joints)
Promotes better sleep
Can aid with weight loss
Improved memory function and attention
Decrease brain fog
Reduces cravings for sugar
Keeps skin firm and plump
How long does it take?
Prep time to make the bone broth will only take 45 minutes but the cook time is anywhere between 8-24 hours. The longer you cook this nourishing broth, the more savory and concentrated it will become.
Why do you blanch and/or skim the broth?
Blanching is a light boil of the bones in water to assist with removing excess impurities. This step is done prior to roasting the bones in the oven. This is not a mandatory step but highly recommended.
Skimming takes place during or after you simmer the bones with the seasonings. You will see a dividing line (like oil and water separation) between the broth and fat. Depending on how much fat you’d like to keep in your broth, remove accordingly.
If you are local to the central Florida area, you can purchase cow bones at Lake Meadows Farm in Ocoee, FL. Beef bones, as well as other meats come frozen, so it is perfect if you have a bit of a drive back to your home. They often have a buy one, get one sale on their cow bones (5lbs bag), so always check before going!
Lake Meadows Farm began as an egg farm in 2000 and has now expanded to a 100 acre farm. They offer self-pick eggs, poultry items and work with other local farms to bring humanely raised natural meats to their farm market. Their commercial kitchen also produces handcrafted pickled and fermented products, jams, and jellies all made from old fashioned small batches. It’s definitely a weekend adventure enjoyed solo or with your loved ones with opportunities to visit some of the friendly animals that surround the farm market.
Most grocery stores provide fresh or frozen beef bones. Contact your grocery store’s meat department to inquire what they have available. You can even request the bones to be cut to your liking.
6-quart (or larger) stockpot or a large slow cooker
Colander or fine mesh sieve
Tips & Tricks
Purchase plastic freezer safe containers, do not freeze glass containers - they will shatter!
I purchase cow bones at Lake Meadows Farm in Ocoee, FL; they often have a buy one, get one sale on their cow bones (5 lbs bag), always check before going
No need to peel vegetables in this recipe
Blanch bones for 20 mins (light boil of bones in water) before roasting to remove excess impurities
Make in large quantities, keep one container in fridge, the rest in the freezer
Make sure to let broth completely cool down before freezing
When reheating broth in the morning add:
Dark leafy greens like spinach or kale (iron boost)
Goji berries (anti-aging, improves eyesight)
Dried chrysanthemum flowers (happy liver)
Use bone broth when cooking grains or soups
5 lbs beef bones, preferably a mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them, such as oxtail, short ribs, or knuckle bones (cut in half by a butcher)
12 cups of water (filtered or spring water)
4 medium unpeeled carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium leek, end trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, quartered
½ cup of fresh ginger, sliced thick
1 garlic head, halved crosswise
4 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
4-5 pieces of turmeric, sliced thick
3-4 star of anise
3 cinnamon sticks
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
5 sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary, and/or oregano
Sea salt to taste
Topping to add when reheating
Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Fill a large pot with tap water, add beef bones, and bring to a boil.
After bones have boiled for 20 mins remove bones from pot and discard water.
Place beef bones, onion, ginger, garlic, and salt on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Be mindful to not overcrowd—you don’t want to steam your ingredients! Roast for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and toss the contents of the pan before continuing to roast for another 20 minutes, or until deeply browned.
Fill a large stockpot with 12 cups of water (preferably filtered).
Add celery, carrots, leeks, turmeric, star of anise, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, peppercorns, apple cider vinegar, fresh herbs, and salt. Scrape the roasted bones and vegetables into the pot along with any juices.
If necessary, add more water to cover bones and vegetables.
Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil.
Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally with a spoon, for at least 8 - 24 hours on the stovetop.
Do not leave on the stovetop unattended, simply cool and continue simmering the next day.
The longer you simmer it, the better your broth will be. Add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged while simmering. Salt to taste.
Alternatively, you can cook the broth in a slow cooker on low for the same amount of time.
Remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly.
Strain broth using a fine-mesh sieve and discard bones and vegetables.
Let the broth continue to cool until barely warm, then refrigerate in smaller containers overnight. Remove solidified fat from the top of the chilled broth.
Broth can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer.
Komorebi Center for Healing
Written by: Natasha Gaye