Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bone Broth

Great color!
This weekend's grey and rainy tone made my bone broth seem even more important. A warming, nourishing antidote to the blustery weather.

There are many description of making bone broth on the internet, and no one way to do it. The only thing that's really consistent is that you need to add an acidic element to help pull the minerals out of the bones, and that you need to cook the bones a long time to get the most nutrients out of them.

It will fit! A hodgepodge of saved bones
Always add vinegar!
 I save up bones in the freezer. Turkey legs are good because they roast up well for us humans to use, and they have joint cartilage that is so rich in collagen. Vida can't eat chicken, so I avoid the obvious chicken carcass choice (in my last batch I did manage to fit the bones of a whole turkey in this crockpot!). 

You'll see in these photos that there is a random collection. I decided not to use the buffalo bone you see in the bag because, as you can see in the crock, I had no room (I just pulled apart that leg that's jutting out when it had thawed a bit).

Decided to add extras a couple hours into the process.
I cover the bones with water and add a few tablespoons ( a glug or two) of raw apple cider vinegar. The vinegar will help draw the nutrients out of the bones.

You can add anything else you like. In this batch I added astragalus root, reishi mushroom, two kinds of seaweed, a clove of garlic, and a chunk of fresh ginger. I tend to think of this as a base to which I can add veggies for human soup later. I've made it plain, and I've made it with highly nutritious foods like this batch, whatever suits your fancy.

Large slices=reishi, small slices=astragalus, dark=seaweed
You should cook this for a long time; try to do 24 hours for poultry bones, 48 hours for big bones like beef if you can. I prefer using a crockpot because it makes it easier and safer, but if your stove has a good low setting you can use a regular pot (some folks will turn it off overnight for safety and turn it back on in the morning.. you can see why I use a crockpot). 

24 hours later... done.
I really don't think 4-8 hours of simmering is enough, even for chicken bones. You'll get something, but not as much. Medicinal mushrooms and roots can handle this amount of time too, though adding other types of herbs at the end of the cooking for simple infusion is fine.

After straining it and storing it in your fridge it should have a jelly-like consistency. That's what you want! Skim the excess fat off the top and use the broth as needed: make yourself some soup, add to your dog's regular food or use it as a base for a cooked meal. 

Strain with care
Bone broth is a nourishing convalescence food, and can be given along with slippery elm bark to sustain dogs that refuse to eat during illness. 

If you enjoyed this post and want to buy herbs to use in your bone broth, please click through on the ad in this blog for Mountain Rose Herbs. They offer high quality products at great prices, and by clicking from this blog you'll be "kicking back" a percentage of your purchase to me as a "thank you."

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