There’s a been a lot of buzz lately about bone broth… and I’m not talking about store-bought bouillon or stock, but honest-to-goodness broth that is made from the bone and marrow of beef or poultry and boiled and then simmered for days. Maybe you have childhood memories of your mom or grandma slowly simmering the bones from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey, turning it into rich, nutrient-dense and delicious stock that was used to make soup. It turns out they had the right idea. Bone broth is rich in immune-boosting minerals and also contains collagen, which helps reduce inflammation and promotes healthy skin and possibly the reduction of cellulite. Plus, bone broth contains the amino acids glutamine, glycine and proline. They are considered conditional amino acids—nonessential amino acids that are essential under some conditions. In other words, your body doesn’t product them very well if you are sick or stressed or have been subsisting on processed foods devoid of nutrients. These powerful amino acids can help improve joint health, support healthy digestion and boost your immune system. Even better? Bone broth is naturally low in carbs. And, if you’re doing Atkins, we’ve always suggested a cup or two of broth a day when first transitioning to a low-carb way of eating—it helps to maintain sodium levels and balance your electrolytes.
Make your own, and use it as a base for soups or sip on a hot, steamy cup when you need a satisfying low-carb boost of nutrients. There are also many health food stores and restaurants that are now making and selling their own bone broth. If you’d like to make your own bone broth, you can use a rotisserie chicken (after you’ve eaten the chicken) and any other leftover bones, or you can get bones from your local butcher. Add them to your crock pot, add any other vegetables and herbs you have on hand, cover with water and cook on low for 24 to 72 hours. If you do a little research, you will find many variations of this very basic recipe.
Here is a sample of a simple recipe you can try at home.
Take a whole frying chicken (3-4 lbs), wash and remove giblets, put in a large covered pot with 1 quart of water per pound of chicken, add half a small onion and 10-15 black peppercorns, and (most important) add 1 level measuring teaspoon of salt per quart of water. Simmer on low heat for 2 hrs, break up meat and bones with a spoon, top up with water back to starting level, simmer for another 2 hrs, take off heat and again top up with water to starting level. Pour the broth thru a large sieve, discard all of the solids, skim and discard the fat off the top, divide into 2 cup units (makes 6-8 cups of broth). Units can be stored for 2-3 days in the fridge or frozen for later use. Note that when this broth is chilled in the fridge, if forms a gel (like soft jello), which means that it has at least 2.5 grams of protein per 100 ml, or 6 grams per cup. In a pinch, this can also be used at up to 4 cups per day if someone is fasting or sick and can’t keep solids down.