These days, you can buy many different types of stocks and broths at your local supermarket. But it’s just as easy to make your own, and even tastier too. If you’ve ever tasted a bone broth, the flavour is even richer and fuller, and packed with nutrients. Once the ingredients are in the pot, the stove and bones really do the hard work simmering away – you can sit back and enjoy a cuppa. And you can make a large batch that you can freeze for up to three months.
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What is bone broth?
Bone broth has come back into flavour as a new 'fad' along with others such as Paleo eating. It is in fact just a traditional way of cooking soups using the whole animal. Bone broth is a liquid made from cooking bones, meat and connective tissue and vegetables at low temperatures, over a long period of time. The slow cooking process extracts not just flavour but nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the meat, bones and connective tissues as well.
Any type of animal and fish bones can be used to make bone broth. Popular bone broths include chicken, pork, beef and fish.
Any cuts of bone/meat can be used including those with marrow or connective tissue like feet/hooves, necks, fish fins and carcasses.
Bone broth can be used as a flavour packed base in soups, casseroles, sauces, and anything else that you would use stock for.
What nutrients are contained in bone broth?
There is much hype about bone broth being a ‘cure-all’ drink for many conditions like leaky gut, arthritis and joint pain, colds and flu's; and having other health benefits like boosting the immune system. But there is limited research in the area.
Bone broth shouldn’t be eaten as the main part of your diet, but, it can be a part of a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, lean meats and healthy fats.
Bone broth contains traces of many nutrients, and when used in soups and casseroles full of veggies, it can be a great way to boost your veggie intake.
Marrow is rich in nutrients, including fats, therefor the small amount in a soup can provide some nutrients such as vitamin A, E, K and B’s and minerals like iron, zinc, selenium and manganese.
Connective tissue is rich in collagen. When cooked, the collagen turns into gelatin which contains amino acids like proline, glycine, arginine, valine, lysine and alanine, which can help our body cells work, reproduce and repair themselves. So, using cuts of bone/meat that are high in cartilage, ligaments and tendons help add gelatin (and flavour too). Examples include chicken feet, necks and wings, oxtail and beef cheeks.
Ingredients for a bone broth
- 1 – 1.5 kg bones. Try to include bones with lots of marrow and connective tissues like feet, necks, knuckles and wings. Use only chicken bones for a chicken broth; use only beef bones for a beef bone broth.
- 3 litres of water.
- 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
- 1 teaspoon of salt.
The optional aromatics for a bit more flavour (and health benefits) to your broth:
- 1 onion, cut in half
- 1 garlic bulb, cut in half
- 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
How to make a bone broth
1. Blanch the bones
• This step helps remove impurities (like the foamy grey bits that float to the top of the broth), and means your broth won't turn a murky grey colour.
• Place the bones in a large pot. Fill it with water until it covers the bones. Bring the bones to the boil and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the bones.
• If you don’t have time to blanch the bones first, make sure you skim off and remove the impurities when you are cooking the broth.
2. Roast the bones (optional)
• Some people like to roast their bones first for a couple of hours to brown and caramelize them and bring out more flavour.
• Put your bones in a roasting tray and roast in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius for one hour (chicken) to one and a half hours (other bones).
3. Simmer the bones for 4 - 24 hours
• Put the bones in a large pot
• Add the vinegar, salt, veggies and aromatics (if you are using aromatics).
• Fill it with water until it covers the bones and veggies.
• Bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
• Simmer for at least 4 – 24 hours. The longer you simmer it, the tastier it will be and the more nutrients. If you didn’t blanch the bones first, remember to skim off and remove the impurities every so often. You’ll likely find that the impurities tend to come out most in the first hour.
• Let the broth cool. Remove the fat from the top and then strain it to separate the solids from the liquid.
You can store the broth in an airtight container in the fridge for use within 5 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Cooking with your bone broth
Once you have made your bone broth, you can have it on its own or try using it in one of these delicious, healthy recipes from our dietitians and nutritionists.
• Dom’s leek and potato soup
• Dom’s chicken noodle soup
• Hearty tomato and vegetable soup
For more recipes approved by our dietitian, click here.
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