Down to the Bone

Claims of younger-looking skin, enhanced energy, and improved health make bone broth a health food trend worth trying.

Move over kale and quinoa. The latest superfood is a recipe that has been praised since the Stone Age for its healing powers. Bone broth has recently been making waves as a nutrient powerhouse. Fans of the savory stock claim that it improves their immune system, aids in digestion, boosts energy, and can even reduce the appearance of cellulite. The endless amount of testimonials raises the question: What’s in bone broth, and is it really a magical elixir?

Different from soup stock bought at a grocery store, bone broth is made by simmering animal bones, water, vegetables, and herbs in a large pot or crockpot for several hours depending on the type of bones being used. The slow simmering process allows nutrients to be extracted from the bones and released into the broth. 

“The amino acids in bone broth, like glucosamine, help reduce joint pain and fight inflammation,” says Dr. Jason Nitzsche, upper cervical chiropractor at Orlando Spine Center and co-owner of J Bone’s Traditional Bone Broth. “While I recommend that all of my patients drink 8 ounces of bone broth a day to improve digestion and overall health, I especially recommend it to anyone with joint pain or arthritis.” Bone broth also contains a number of essential minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.  

Even celebrities are praising bone broth for its high amounts of collagen and protein. Actress Salma Hayek credits her youthful skin to incorporating bone broth into her diet, and NBA star Kobe Bryant has been known to drink it for energy and muscle recovery.

The benefits of bone broth are still debated among medical and health professionals, but there’s one thing that almost everyone agrees on: It can’t hurt. Dr. Jason Pirozzolo, sports medicine physician at Orlando Hand Surgery Associates, says that the scientific evidence behind bone broth being superior to any other broth is lacking, but finds “no problem with patients supplementing a well-balanced and nutritionally complete diet with bone broth.” Similarly, Orlando dietitian and nutritionist Dr. Kaye-Ann Taylor explains that while “there is not enough support around most of the alleged benefits of bone broth,” it could assist in weight management when consumed before a meal. 

The South American proverb, “Good broth will resurrect the dead” may not be true, but the minerals and nutrients provided in bone broth could have positive effects on your health. Try swapping your afternoon coffee for a cup of bone broth, or incorporate it into recipes as a nutrient-filled, protein-packed ingredient. 

“Dedicated” Bone Broth (named for the length of time needed to make it—4.5 days.) You have to be all in on this one. 

This recipe is from Rhys Gawlak of Swine & Sons Provisions in Winter Park.

Day 1:
Roast 4 lbs. of beef femur bones in a 400-degree oven until brown. Remove and add to slow cooker. Add 1 gallon of filtered water and 2 Tbsps. apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 24 hours. Ideal temp is 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Day 2:
Roast 2 lbs. of pork neck bones in a 400-degree oven until brown. Add to the slow cooker with the beef bones. Replenish slow cooker with filtered water. Keep simmering at 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for 12 hours.

Day 2.5:
Roast 1 lb. of chicken bones in a 400-degree oven until brown. Add to slow cooker with the other bones. Replenish slow cooker with filtered water. Keep simmering at 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for 12 hours. 

Day 3:
Roast in 350-degree oven until just turning brown on the edges: 3 large yellow onions, 1 bulb fennel, 3  carrots, 4 stalks celery, 4 cloves garlic, 12 shiitake mushrooms, 4 bay leaves, 3 sprigs of thyme. Chop all of the vegetables and smash the garlic. Add to slow cooker. Replenish slow cooker with filtered water. Keep simmering at 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook 24 hours.

Day 4:
Carefully strain broth through fine mesh strainer with coffee filter. 
Cool broth in refrigerator for 12 hours.

Day 4.5:
Remove solidified fat from top of broth. Portion as needed—some for now and freeze some for later.

To reheat…
Put broth in pot, bring to boil and season with salt and a touch of lemon juice.
Have your favorite soup cup ready. In the bottom of the cup place ½ clove roasted garlic and 1 Tbsp. diced stewed tomato. Fill the cup halfway and muddle with the back of the spoon. Finally fill cup to the top, add a little fresh parsley, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Simple Bone Broth

This recipe is from cookbook author and writer Belinda Hulin,

5 lbs. beef bones, including marrow bones
3 carrots, well-scrubbed
2 medium onions, quartered
3 green onions, trimmed
8 garlic cloves
2 ribs of celery, leaves removed
3 washed, whole mushrooms
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbsps. lemon juice
2 tsps. black peppercorns
12-14 cups water 
1/4 cup washed and minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 orange, washed and thinly sliced, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bones, carrots, onion quarters, green onions and garlic in a roasting pan. Roast, turning mixture occasionally, for 45 minutes or until bones are nicely browned. 

Carefully scrape the roasted bones and vegetables into a six quart soup pot or Dutch oven and add celery, mushrooms, bay leaves, thyme, lemon juice and peppercorns. Pour 12 cups of water over the mixture and bring to a boil. Add more water, if needed, to cover ingredients and reduce heat.

Simmer for 12-14 hours, adding more water as needed. 

Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Then strain the broth through a very fine strainer (or a regular strainer lined with cheesecloth or coffee filters) into another pot or a large bowl.  Press as much liquid from the vegetables and bones as possible. 

Let stand until warm and ladle broth into a few smaller containers. Refrigerate until cold.  Fat will rise to the top and congeal, making it easy to remove. 

To serve the broth, heat to desired temperature and add minced parsley, plus salt and pepper to taste. Float a thin orange slice in each bowl or cup, if desired. 

Makes 8 servings.

Note: This recipe can be made in a large slow cooker. And the cooking time can be increased by a few hours. Other vegetables can be added to the mix, but use caution—peppers, celery leaves  and cruciferous vegetables tend to get bitter as they cook.

Categories: Health & Beauty