Bone broth has been with us in recorded history, back to ancient China, 2,500 years ago. As a medicinal remedy it is mentioned in almost all cultures. Bone broth is the result of the break down of collagen fibers, remnant meat and bones of an animal carcass or parts. The process of cooking down a potent broth takes two days for meats such as beef, pork, or wild game and 8 hours or so for chicken and other fowl. Anytime there was left over meat in my house growing up, it went into the pot to simmer into broth. Bless my mother for knowing that and feeding us lots of fresh veggies.
The result is a broth rich in minerals, collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. The collagen in particular heals the gut lining, reducing inflammation and contributes to healthy intestinal flora.
Although I am primarily a vegetarian I have always used bone broths in my soups and alone with spices and herbs whenever any of my family were sick. Jewish mothers are right, chicken soup is good for body and soul!
Here's a pictorial essay on making beef bone broth, which is my favorite and the most potent healer because of the marrow. It's hard to find meat with tendons although some specialty meat markets will save their connective tissue scraps for you. Adding those in with the bones is a bonus! You can also add some stew meat which tends to have lots of connective tissues in it.
Start by searing off the bones in a large dutch oven, cast iron is best, but a heavy soup pot is also good.
Once the bones are all seared, add water (not tap), RO water, spring or well water, nothing with chemicals in it. Fill to the top of the pan so the bones are covered. Allow to simmer, keep adding water for 24 hours. Now this means, start it in the AM, let it cook all day, adding water as needed.
I prefer to make two pots worth at the same time.
When you're done for the day, turn the broth off at night and start again the next day.
It will start looking like the photo below, with the fat rising to the top.
After hours of simmering the marrow will begin to soften.
Using a chop stick or small knife work the marrow out of the bone, as seen in the photos below.
In the photos below, you will see that fat will begin accumulating. It floats on the top of the broth. Using a large spoon scoop off as much of the fat as you can. You can use this fat, proponents of Paleo eating recommend using animal fats which are good for the body. However, it has a somewhat acrid taste and as a primarily vegetarian, the small amount of fat that remains in the broth is good enough for me!
The above photo on the right is what you will have after most of the fat has been removed. From this stage you will continue to simmer it for another day. At this point the bones will begin to pink up and you will see along the edges where the calcium has begun to dissolve away, this is your indication that it's nearly ready. At this point I add organic vegetable broth and 1-2 boxes of beef broth instead of more water. This gives the broth a richness of flavor. You can also add salt (whole salt with color) spices and vegetables for flavor and medicinal value, such as garlic (whole head), onions, herbs which can go to any flavor profile you like.
* Use only Mason Freezer jars for this purpose. They will not crack with the freezing.
These jars are often available at grocery and hardware stores as well as on-line.
Passing on my experience with natural foods and sharing recipes from others as well.