Food trends are funny stuff. Whoopie pies and cronuts popping up on every street corner, at least until the the novelty value wears off and they become eye-roll worthy... But for those of us in the know, bone broth is one of these recent trends that we hope is here to stay.
Bone broth is made by slowly cooking down over a very long period of time the bones from an animal carcass like beef, chicken, or fish. Exactly how long this takes--anywhere from 6 to 24 hours--depends on the thickness of the bones because the point of bone broth is to break down the natural collagen, gelatin, bone marrow, and minerals found in the bones, tendons, and ligaments so that they are dissolved into an incredibly nourishing and tasty liquid.
Some of the main documented benefits of bone broth are:
So, while bone broth is amazing if you're ill with the flu, it's also brilliant as a normal part of your diet. No joke--your skin really will look younger and firmer, your cellulite might decrease, your joints will feel great, and your iffy digestive tract symptoms will improve. And the reason that bone broth is so critical is that it's the only practical method for converting all of the goodness found in animal carcasses into a form we can eat and digest. The simmering process causes the bones, ligaments, and tendons to release the healing compounds like collagen, gelatin, proline, glycine, and glutamine. And the minerals that leech from from bones are in an ideal bio-available, absorbable form that our bodies recognise. This includes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and silicon along with chondroitin and glucosamine, which are otherwise only found in very expensive supplement form but are known for reducing joint pain and rebuilding joints. (DrAxe.com)
But here's where it gets top secret and what you won't find in other bone broth recipes: mushrooms, especially of the medicinal variety. One of the amazing hot topics in medical research right now is the beta-glucan molecule contained in mushrooms. Not so much your average button mushroom, but exotic mushrooms like reishi, turkey tail, or chaga. We're learning that mushrooms interact with many of the receptors in our body in a very special way and are incredibly beneficial to the immune system. The best way to take these mushrooms is by drinking them as a tea. Probably not something most people will do regularly. But it is incredibly simple to incorporate mushrooms into bone broth and ensure regular consumption via this method.
You can drink bone broth all on it's own, but my favourite way to use it is as an ingredient in other recipes. It adds a richness and depth that is incredible and that I never experience with store-bought stocks and bullion cubes. (No wonder, since store-bought stocks and broths don't contain any of the health-boosting compounds found in homemade bone broth!) I like to make a concentrated form of bone broth that I freeze into 1/4-cup portions and then use in soups, sauces, and different veggie dishes (like Cauliflower & Cheese). It's in a concentrated form, so if making soup, dilute each cup of broth with 1-2 cups of water (depending on taste).
Making bone broth is also great if you have a bit of frustration or aggression to get out of your system. It's essential to break the bones and joints before putting them on to simmer, which you can do with either a meat cleaver or a mallet. Bam, bam, bam! Whack, whack, whack!
I use only organic, naturally-fed animal carcasses in order to ensure that the broth has anti-inflammatory rather than pro-inflammatory properties. You can try roasting a chicken and using the carcass afterwards, but I like to order fresh carcasses for £1 each along with my weekly vegetable box from Abel & Cole. Bonus: they come with giblets, which you can use for making Italian Meatballs!