The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

How to Make Bone Broth

This article shares both basic and in-depth information for the How and Why of making traditional bone broth. 

Broth is best prepared at home. One issue I have seen is the tendency in our hurried modern life is to “instant-ify” everything. I have recently come across bone broth that was processed into a powder and marketed as protein powder and came in either vanilla or chocolate flavors. This is most definitely not what is being recommended in this article.

What if I Ruin It?
Another issue I have encountered is that some people are intimidated with making this dish the first time. They find it complicated and different enough that they are worried about making a mistake so they never do anything. To these folks I say that bone broth recipes are very general in their proportions and it is near to impossible to ruin this dish. Jump in, give it a go and tweak the recipe as experience dictates.

Making this broth is a delicious and efficient way to increase the minerals and other nutrients in our diet. This is not a new idea. Many of our grandparents commonly did this not so long ago. There are many options for making this. Use your imagination. The key is to use quality ingredients.

How Long Do I Cook It?
Simmering these ingredients for several hours will thoroughly extract the minerals into the liquid. The time varies between 12 and 24 hours. This broth can then be used in other cooking dishes or drunk as a hot beverage.

Step by Step
The first step is to roast the bones in a 425F oven for 20 minutes. This improves the flavor of the final broth.

Next, place the bones and other ingredients in a large stew pot or crock pot. It can be simmered on a wood stove or the lowest heat on the kitchen stove. In the past few years, the Instant Pot has become all the rage in kitchens. It works well on the Soup/Broth setting.

Animal Products
It is best to use organic products from free range chickens, grass-fed beef or wild game. Bones, meat and organs can all be used. The bone marrow is especially nutritious and is a prized ingredient in China. Some people eat the meat in other recipes and use just the leftover bones in the broth. Others put an entire chicken or beef roast in the pot.

Meat that is tough, often called stew meat, is high in collagen. The broth benefits from cooking this meat for a long time along with the other ingredients.

Apple Cider Vinegar
This ingredient is useful for extracting minerals from the food into the broth. I add 1/4 C of vinegar to the broth before cooking.

Sea Vegetables
I prefer this term to ‘seaweed’ as it gives a different meaning to the plant. While there a several types of sea vegetables, the one most often used in this dish is Saccharina japonica (Laminariaceae). The common name is kelp in English, and is usually known by its Japanese name, kombu, in health food stores.

This plant has a thick, leathery texture and does not appear to be appetizing, especially if one is unsure how it is prepared. Add a six inch strip to the pot at the beginning. Let it simmer and strain it out with the bones. It is not meant to be eaten.

Sea vegetables are one of the very richest sources of minerals available to us. Adding these to the broth ups the mineral content significantly.

Inulin Roots
Burdock and Jerusalem Artichokes are two roots that get overlooked because people don’t know how to prepare them. They are both high in a variety of minerals and inulin. Inulin (not insulin) is a pre-biotic. Pre-biotics provide food for the probiotics (miso, yogurt, etc) in our diet and help to strengthen the gut flora. They can be easily sliced for this recipe or grated and added to stir fries and soups in other recipes.

Once the broth is finished cooking strain out the bones and kombu. The remaining broth will be thick with chunks of meat, fat, marrow and perhaps some roots vegetables that have been added. At this stage, place the entire broth mixture into a blender and turn it into a smoothie-like consistency.

The broth is now extremely, rich, thick and loaded with nourishment. Our family uses 16 oz canning jars for freezing the broth and then thawing one as needed. Because the broth is so concentrated, small amounts are diluted in water and added to a variety of cooking dishes. Of course it is especially tasty added to a pot of soup but it also works well added in small amounts to stir fries and cooked egg dishes.

Once you become familiar with the recipe, this is not only easy to make but also a delicious and highly nutritious addition to the diet.

The following links are provided to give in-depth information on the nutritional values of broth along with various ways it can be prepared. With any dish, it is important to begin with the freshest and best quality ingredients. For broth, find a local source for grass fed beef, free range chickens or wild game.
This site provides extensive information on the nutrient values in broth.
This site provides historical background, nutrition information and recipes for different animals.
This site looks at the issue of glutamic acid and the role of nutrient-rich broths in the Ayurvedic tradition.
This site explains the role of bone broth in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


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