A MAGIC SUPERFOOD FOR POWERFUL HEALING
So first of all, this isn't the same thing as the can or tetra box of broth you might have grabbed from your local grocer. No, not even Whole Foods. The off-the-shelf broth or stock is usually a watered down version that has been cooked at high temperatures, as opposed to the gelatin-loaded version we'll be concocting. One of the best parts of good bone broth is the collagen we'll be extracting from the bones. This includes glycosaminoglycans of which glucosamine is a precursor of. No doubt you've seen this stuff marketed on vitamin store shelves as a cure-all for joint problems. It's also loaded with minerals, calcium, chondroitin sulfite, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Here's a list of just some of the purported benefits of this elixir:
- Reduced overall inflammation, especially for joints or those with inflammatory or autoimmune disorders
- Keeps your skin, hair and nails healthy and beautiful
- Aids digestion and helps prevent and heal ailments such as leaky guy syndrome
- Provides the liver with glycine to help with the detoxification process
- More potent that most multivitamins you can buy
- Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses
So to really do this right, it's a bit of a pain in the ass in regards to time and overall messiness. That's why I make it in bulk and freeze anything that I don't plan on drinking that coming week. Here are the ingredients (all links are for your convenience, I'm not an affiliate).
- 5 gallons of filtered water
- 6 pounds of organic, grass-fed beef knuckles
- 2 pounds of organic grass-fed marrow or meaty rib or bones
- 1-2 organic, pasture-raised chicken carcasses (the leftovers of a roasted chicken dinner)
- 8 organic, pasture-raised chicken feet
- 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 organic onions
- 8 cloves of organic garlic
- 8 large organic carrots
- 1 bunch of organic celery
- 2 bunches of organic parsley
- Some herbs, like sage, marjoram, oregano, thyme, etc.
- 3 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp of Hungarian paprika
TOOLS TO GET THE JOB DONE EASIER
- Big-ass 24 quart stock pot
- Saucepan with pour spout
- Smaller pot (around 4 quarts)
- 2 Gallon mason jar with dispenser
- Gallon freezer storage bags
- This is the water filtration system I use
HOW WE DO THIS
- Pre-heat your oven to 350F, take your bovine knuckles and rib bones and throw them on a baking tray lined with foil. Leave them in there for 30 minutes. You can skip this step, but it really brings out the flavor of the bones. Yum. Smells like pot roast.
- Take those knuckles and bones out of the oven and toss them into your big 24 quart stock pot. Put in the 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and add filtered water until the pile of bones are about covered. Let sit for one hour. You can skip this as well, but the ACV leaches the minerals out of the bones to make this even more potent before cooking it.
- While the bones are soaking in the ACV, chop up all your veggies. Just rough cuts like quartering the onions and chopping carrots into four or so pieces. If you have other stuff hanging out in your fridge to get rid of, now's a good time to search. I've thrown in a couple zucchini, chard, leeks and other veggies destined for the compost.
- Leaving in the bones and apple cider vinegar, start filling the 24 quart stockpot with the filtered water and dump in your chopped onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsley and herbs. Some people like to wait until the final couple hours of cooking to add their garlic, parsley and herbs. I figure I'll forget, so I just put them in now. Also add the chicken feet and get that water filled to as close to the top of the pot as you can while still being able to transport it to the stove. You can also start this on the stove and just pour the filtered water in from another container. This thing will get heavy.
- Bring that bad boy to a low boil. This takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Add your salt, pepper and paprika. At this point, you can skim off any foam and impurities that are floating on the top that might affect the flavor. Turn it down to a simmer and cover. You want to slow cook this or you'll break down all the collagen and it won't gel up later. Put a lid on it and let it simmer for about 48 hours. I usually start this at night, so after 48 hours, I'll turn it off before going to bed two days later and then by the morning, it's cooled enough to package up and put in the fridge/freezer.
- Pull that beast off the stove, if possible. If you can, put the 24 quart stock pot in the sink and your smaller stock pot nearby (or in second sink if you have one), with the strainer resting over it .
- Give the filled pot a good stirring with a big wooden spoon, and then using the small saucepan with the pour spout (or a small pot or measuring cup), start scooping out broth and pouring it through the strainer and into the smaller pot.
- When the strainer gets filled, just dump the contents back into the 24 quart stockpot with rest of broth -we'll deal with that later. When the smaller pot starts getting filled with the strained broth, pour it into your 2 gallon mason jar with the tap, or other container that you plan on storing in the fridge and repeat this process until your container(s) is about filled.
- Take one of the gallon freezer bags and fill it with broth using the tap on your mason jar. Don't fill it all the way so that you can easily zip it closed while pushing the air out. Make sure it's totally secure before laying it down.
- Repeat this process until you can no longer effectively scoop broth out of the 24 quart stock pot. Reach in and grab any of the big knuckles and whole bones that you can, throwing them away.
- Pick up the 24 quart stock pot and slowly pour the contents through the strainer. When the strainer becomes full, reach in and give that gunk a good squeeze and stir to force and remaining broth through the strainer. Dump the veggie pulp and smaller, soft bones in the garbage or garbage disposal. Repeat this process until the 24 quart stock pot is empty. It's best to keep this moving. If you start/stop, the gelatin will start to separate and stick in the pot and your and the fats won't be very evenly distributed in your various containers.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
After removing the bones and veggie pulp, this should yield you between 4 and 5 gallons of broth.
- When the broth cools, even at room temperature, fat and gelatin will create a thick top layer and stick to the side of the container. Some people feel inclined to skim this off, but these are good, healthy fats. I give the container a good shake before dispensing a cup, and even spoon out a scoop of gelatin from the top to add to my serving.
- Don't microwave this stuff. We worked hard to make this very nutrient-rich, so let's not nuke that away. If you put a cup in a small saucepan, it only takes 2 minutes to heat on your stove.
- There's a chance you might get a lot of gelatin in your broth, to where it doesn't even come out the spout of the mason jar. Good for you! In that case, just use a soup ladle to get it out.
- To defrost the frozen storage bags, I usually let the whole thing sit in a big pot for the afternoon or until it's slushy enough to get out of the bag and refill my tapped mason jar.
- A hot cup of bone broth is a great way to start your day. I have it upon awakening, only after drinking some water. If the acidity of coffee bothers your empty stomach, try having this first. A pinch of sea or truffle salt for extra flavor is also really nice and it makes a great workout recovery drink. My daughter drinks it with her breakfast every morning, but tell the kids it's chicken soup unless they're into monikers that sound a bit medieval.
For those of you who are more visual, here's the start-to-finish process. It's long. Like the length-of-an-actual-cooking-show-long. However, my very cute daughter makes a cameo, gets disgusted by the chicken feet and I do a shot of apple cider vinegar. Enjoy.
Elijah Szasz runs SPARK6, a digital creative agency for good and can be found here.