The Buzz About Bone Broth

If you are trying to eat a more ancestral diet or just add some healthy options, bone broth is an easy and inexpensive way to do so.  I drink a hot mug for a mid-day pick me up and an evening wind-down. Drinking bone broth makes me feel full and discourages any unnecessary binging on treats that I think I may be craving.  Making it yourself is easy and ensures that there are no additives, preservatives or harsh cooking methods that will affect the natural goodness.  A good stock is excellent to have on hand in the freezer for stir-fry or soups and it is very healing to the tummy!  You can read more about the goodness of traditional foods in Nourishing Traditions, a must-read book for simple and healthy recipes.

FAQ’s

What are the best bones and where do I find them?

The best bones are from grass-fed, humanely treated animals.  You can use whichever bones you like.  Typically bones left over from a whole roasted chicken (don’t forget the feet!) make a wonderful healing broth when you are feeling under the weather.  Various marrow bones from pastured cattle (knuckle bones, long marrow bones and meaty chunks like the neck are great) work the best for a good beef stock.  The more bones you add, the more flavorful your stock will be.  Fish and lamb stock is wonderful as well if you have access to free pastured lamb and wild caught fish.

You can find bones at the local butcher as well as online.  Bones from the grocer unless it’s your local co-op are likely going to be from conventionally farmed animals fed a gmo grain diet; you can read more about the dangers of gm foods here.  I have had the best luck at my local farmers market.  The cost is far less than ordering online and you have the benefit of talking with the farmer and asking questions.  I picked up 12 pounds of wonderful mixed bones for $20 at my local farmers market a few weeks ago.  I was able to speak with the owner of the farm, ask questions and was even invited to see the farm for myself.

How much do I need?

Well, that really depends on how many people are drinking broth and how much you want to make to freeze.  For me and my son, 3 pounds of bones yields approximately 6 pint-sized canning jars.  I drink about 6 ounces per day, more when I am feeling under the weather.  My son eats it cold in ketchup and other dips.  If you want to freeze stock, then by all means make it in bigger batches.  I have a smaller basic crock pot that suits just fine for a small family.  FYI – you can use your bones again!  Just freeze them for next time.  The second go-round will not yield as strong of a flavor but you can certainly get a great stock just my adding extra vegetables and spices.  So, each batch of bones has a double yield.  3 pounds = 12 pints!  This is far less expensive than any organic “broth” that you will get at Whole Foods or even your local co-op.

Do I need to cook the bones first?

Although it is not necessary to roast the bones first, I have found that it gives the broth a much deeper and appealing flavor.  If you are a fan of soup, then roasting is going to be the best for you.  If you are just going to chug it every day to get the benefits without too much concern for taste then by all means just toss the bones in the crockpot with some water and a dash of apple cider vinegar, simmer for 8 to 12 hours and you are good to go.

How long should I cook my broth?

Really it’s all about personal preference.  If you have a pressure cooker your broth is obviously going to cook much faster.  Nom Nom Paleo has a great post about quick bone broth.  I generally cook mine for 10 hours. I have read that that some folks keep their pot going all week and just add water as they remove broth.  You will ultimately find something that works for your personal needs.

Equipment Needed:

Crockpot, pressure cooker or large stock pan and your stove top

Unbleached organic cotton cloth (for straining)

Metal strainer

Canning jars & Lids (sterilized in boiling water)

Canning funnel (just makes for less messy broth transfer)

Ingredients:

Assorted grass-fed beef bones

Carrots

Scallions

Other vegetables or herbs of your choice

2 tbsp. melted ghee

Salt & Pepper

1 tbsp. organic raw apple cider vinegar or a squeeze or two of lemon

Prep:

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Place your bones, herbs and vegetables on a shallow jelly roll pan and drizzled with melted ghee.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for approximately 30 to 40 minutes making sure not to burn.  When the fats are dripping and sizzling, and the browns are browned then they are done.

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At this point, it would be tempting to scoop out some marrow and take a little taste, please do!  Marrow is a lovely treat and is so fantastic spread on crackers.  Once your bones are done roasting, transfer them to your crockpot and cover them with filtered water.  Add vinegar or lemon juice to draw out the minerals.  Cook on low heat for 10 hours.

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Once the broth is finished, allow it to cool a bit.  Strain any scum off of the top, scoop out the bones and set them to the side to put in the freezer.  Line your strainer with the cotton towel and place it over a clean bowl or large pot.  Slowly pour your broth into the cloth filtering out any chunks and making your broth nice and clear.

Now you are ready to strain the broth into your canning jars, you may want to put a metal spoon into the jar to draw some of the heat so that your glass doesn’t break.  Don’t forget to save a cup for yourself as a reward for all of your “hard” work.  You can freeze the broth in stainless steel ice cube trays for cooking as well.  The broth will be fine in your fridge for 2 weeks.  Once cool, you will notice that the broth has turned to a jelly-like substance.  This is a sign that your broth was a success!  You can now mix it into dips, add it to rice dishes and stir fry or just reheat in a pan on the stove to enjoy a quick pick-me up any time of the day.

I hope this post has helped take some of the mystery out of bone broth and that you will give this healthy and frugal staple a try! ~Carmen

The Best Thing Paleo Cupboard Ever Ate!

Popular Paleo

BTIEA General BannerI’m launching a new weekly feature on my blog inspired by The Food Network’s hit TV series The Best Thing I Ever Ate! Each week one of your favorite Paleo bloggers will share with you their favorite recipe from a Paleo blog or cookbook. In addition, they will let you in on a personal favorite from their own recipe archive.

I remember that when I was first looking into Paleo, some of the recipes I tried out had lost something in translation from webpage to dinner table. Many were a flop and I was discouraged to pursue the lifestyle change, despite knowing how much better I would feel. Have you been there?

Check in with us each week to get at least two recipes that you may or may not have seen before, hopefully from some up-and-coming bloggers who may be new to you as well. Take it from…

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Beyond Bacon’s Cracklin’ Pork Belly

Popular Paleo

Like many in the Paleo community, I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of the fabulous Beyond Bacon. Following their debut publication, Eat Like A Dinosaur, Matt & Stacy of Paleo Parents have outdone themselves creating a volume of research, instruction and original recipes dedicated to the humble swine. Beyond Bacon hits the shelves on July 2; make sure you get one. This book will sit on my kitchen counter smack between The Joy of Cooking and The Flavor Bible–my two favorite cookbooks–for years to come.

I sat down this morning with a cup of coffee and a stack of sticky notes, flagging recipe after recipe that perked my interest. All reviewers are pouring over which recipes speak to them and which they’d like to highlight first. After nearly running out of sticky notes, I definitely had my favorites picked out. For me, I wanted…

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Super Easy Crock-Pot Ghee

Ghee is a healthy, flavorful and delicious way to create many dishes.  I use it to make my home-made sandwich spread, frying and as a healthy oil in baking.  Many of the brands that are readily available have added ingredients or are not from pastured, grass-fed cows.  The last grass-fed ghee that I purchased was approximately $12.00 for 6 ounces!  Ouch!  I have read blog posts about making ghee but have always thought that it would be too complicated or that I would mess it up until I stumbled across this article  from Butter Believer on how to make ghee using a crock pot.   I wanted to give this method a try and see if it was really as simple as it sounded.  I have just finished up a batch and it was actually really simple, using tools that I already had at home and Kerrygold butter from Costco.  This yielded 3 times more than my store-bought ghee and cost 50% less! My ghee was ready in 3 ½ hours but if you want a darker amber color you could do the full 4 or a bit more.  It really is simple, if I can pull this off anyone can.  I’ve included pictures as a guide for what it should look like.  In addition, I think that many people have varying cook times due to differences in crock pots so you may want to check on yours from time to time just to be certain it’s not cooking faster than expected.

Tools: Crock-pot, Fine mesh strainer , Funnel, Jar

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs Kerrygold Butter

Prep:

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Unwrap your butter and toss it in the crock pot.  Set the crock on high for 4 hours.

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After about an hour this is what your butter will look like.

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Butter at 2 hours…

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And it’s ready!  You will notice brownish crispy pieces floating in your melted butter, this is what you will be straining out.

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Pour your melted mixture through a fine mesh strainer, cheese cloth or nut milk bag into a clean glass jar.

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That’s it!  You are done!  This is what will be left in the bottom of your pot.

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Now, just let your ghee cool, cap it and store it in your cupboard or fridge if you prefer.

Let me know if you try this simple and frugal method for making your own healthy ghee! ~Carmen

(This post can be found on the following blog carnivals: Real Food Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, )