The coming of winter usually means closed windows and central heating. The perfect incubator for all of those pesky germs that can cause you and your loved ones to feel under the weather.
As we speak there is a pot of bone broth happily simmering away on my stove top. Bone broth is by far the perfect elixir to prevent colds or in the unfortunate circumstance that you get a cold – to cure it. It not only makes your house smell warm and feel cozy, but it uses odds and ends that you would otherwise throw away – making it an inexpensive yet highly nutritious cure all.
Fun Facts: Bone broth is high in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which promotes healthy teeth and bones. The high collagen and fat also supports healthy joints, hair, skin, and nails.
HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH
Step 1. Collect your ingredients
As I prepare meals throughout the week, I keep a bowl in the fridge for the raw scraps. Now keep in mind, these are good scraps not compost. “Garbage in is garbage out” so take care not to put anything that is rotten or dirty into your stock pot. It will be very difficult to remove the taste or grit once it is finished. When making stock, I wash my produce, but I do not peel it – and this goes for onions and garlic as well. They get tossed into the pot, skin and all! Here are a few of my favorite odds and ends to use in stock:
- onion ends
- garlic cloves
- broccoli stalks
- corn cobs
- leek tops
- scallion tops
- mushroom stems
Step 2: Chose your meat
You can use any bones of your choice: lamb, beef, pork, game – you name it. When possible, use high quality meat such as local, organic, or grassfed. Boiling the bones for an extended period of time extracts all of the good nutrients but also all of the bad impurities. A higher quality cut of meat tips the scale of good nutrients vs bad impurities in your favor.
Not sure what meat to buy? Head to the butcher counter at your local market – they will point you in the right direction.
Step 3: Pick your herbs
You can bring depth and dimension to the stock as well as increase the nutritional value with a few herbs. My favorites: dried chili pepper, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary.
Try other herbs such as parsley or bay leaves.
Step 4: Bringing it all together
In a large stock pot, toss in the bone and add your vegetables and herbs. Cover with water. Place over low heat – as low as you can go. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, 1/2 tablespoon of fresh cracked pepper, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. The salt and pepper will round out the flavors, while the vinegar will help extract nutrients from the bones.
Let the pot simmer covered for at least 24 hours. I usually let mine go for 48 hours.*
After the broth is finished cooking, strain it using a fine mesh colander. Store it in your fridge for up to 3 days or in your freezer for up to 6 months.
*Know your stove. It is essential that you know how powerful your stove top is when making stock. The low setting on my stove top is probably a medium-low on an average stove top. Because of this, I have to place my pot on top of a heat diffuser, check the liquid volume regularly, and I do not let it simmer when I am not home.
HOW TO USE BONE BROTH
If I am feeling a little under the weather, my favorite way to enjoy this dish is simply by itself. Maybe I will cook up some rice or pasta. Maybe I will saute some carrots and parsnips and throw them in, but most likely I will simply ladled it into a mug and sip it like tea. It is that good.
Your broth can also become the base for an extraordinarily easy soup such as chicken noodle, french onion, or minestrone. I also substitute broth in for water when cooking rice or other grains such as quinoa and faro. The fats and minerals give the grains a silky texture and incredible flavor.