In the Beginning: Broth
Acai berries, perhaps?
I consider bone broth to be among the top 10 super-foods.
No other prepared food can boast of easily-assimilated vital minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and ideal substances for structural (bone) health like gelatin and collagen.
But, bone broth offers even more!
Medicinal herbs such as elecampane, which is also rich in calcium and is immune-boosting, can be an excellent addition as well, but be aware of possible side effects.
This easy-to-make broth allows us to serve our family a tasty nutritional whole food that’s versatile and provides substances that otherwise might be difficult to obtain.
Take calcium for instance.
Dairy products are often our greatest source of calcium but with the many dairy allergies out there the only other calcium-rich food group tends to be leafy greens and broccoli. Last time we checked, that food group isn’t always the most popular with little ones.
As for gelatin… well, a box of Jell-O could arguably offer similar benefits but when the sugar, artificial flavoring and food coloring is factored in it winds up with a big fat zero in the real food category.
However, what if I told you that this incredible broth is just as easy to make as Jell-O?
Are you interested?
You’ll find a wide-variety of my recipes use bone broth so I’ll refer back to this recipe often. Feel free to experiment with different flavor combinations based on the herbs and vegetables you choose to use.
Frugal tip: Keep a container in your freezer for leftover raw vegetable pieces discarded from other uses — vegetable peelings, carrot tops, flawed celery sticks, celery bottoms, stems, skins, etc. Instead of tossing these pieces into the trash, collect them in your freezer container and use them at a later time in your broth.
Why the vinegar?
In conclusion, one question often asked that’s worth addressing here is why the cold water soak and the addition of vinegar?
The reason you begin with a cold water soak is to dissolve some proteins in the bones, albumin specifically, which only dissolve in cold water. The addition of vinegar is to assist in breaking down bone cartilage (so as to get better gelatin in your broth) and also to facilitate the release of the vitamins and minerals stored in the bones.
Also, vinegar can help preserve the broth to some extent.
It’s important to use raw apple cider vinegar as it contains the cultures (bacteria) that are helpful to these processes. The good news is the ratio of vinegar to broth is great enough that you won’t even notice it’s presence in the broth.
Ask me how I know. (Vinegar just happens to be a husband-repellent in my home — he won’t come within 50 feet of the kitchen if he notices I’m using it — but he will eat the broth with no problem.)
So with no further ado, I give you…
- 2-5lbs of grass-fed beef marrow bones or pastured chicken bones
- cold water to fill your crockpot
- 2 T. raw apple cider vinegar
- veggies (carrots, celery, onions, etc.)
- herbs (astragalus, garlic, etc.)
- Place bones in a large crock pot.
- Cover bones with cold water and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 1 hour.
- Then, add veggies and desired herbs and turn crockpot to low and cook for 12-24 hours.
- (If using more delicate herbs like parsley, nettle, etc. add them after the cooking period, while the broth is still hot.)
- Allow broth to cool and then strain into desired storage containers.
- Optional: skim fat off the top and use separately or discard. Strain broth.
- If you attempt to make the broth and find your final product lacks the gelatinous texture, take a peek at Stephanie's article for more information.