Our hunter-gatherer ancestors made use of every part of the animals from their hunts as successful hunts where rare and nothing could afford to be wasted. Bones were used to make broth but were also ground up and made into pastes and flours to add to other foods to create a type of bread.
The first broths were made using the stomach lining of the animal where bones, meat and water were placed in the stomach. Hot stones from the fire were used to heat the broth, creating the first soups and stews. The invention of the cooking pot allowed our ancestors to put the pot over the fire making it easier and more effective to make broth.
The art of making bone broth is being rediscovered and is even considered a superfood by many wellness advocates. The nutrients contained in broth has a lot to do with its revival. Bone broth contains many minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium and potassium. There are also amino acids, omega 3 and 6, vitamins A and K2 as well as iron, zinc, selenium, glucosamine and manganese.
With such a variety of nutrition and in a form the body can easily digest the health benefits are many and impressive. From being anti-inflammatory, to supporting joint and bone health, improving sleep patterns, supporting gut health and brain function. Bone broth is also an internal beauty product due to collagen that strengthens and encourages growth in both hair and nails and it helps smooth out wrinkles and gives you glowing younger-looking skin.
- Beef bone
- 2 or 3 chicken feet (optional)
- 2 or 3 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 onion
- 1 bulb garlic
- Whatever vegetables you have to hand
- Enough water to cover bones
- Salt (optional)
- Pepper (optional)
- Herbs and spices (optional)
Place the beef bones in a slow cooker and pour over with the cider vinegar. The vinegar helps to release the nutrients from the bones. Leave the vinegar to soak into the bones for about 30 minutes. Before adding the vinegar, the bones can be roasted in the oven for 30 minutes, this adds flavour to the final broth but it is not necessary.
Place all the other ingredients into the pot and cover with water. Adding chicken feet at this point helps give the broth a more gel-like texture.
Put the slow cooker on low heat. Cook the bones for at least 24 hours although you can leave them cooking for up to 48 hours. I find leaving them for longer than 24 hours allows the marrow in the bones more time to dissolve its nutrients into the liquid.
Once the bones are cooked strain and discard them. I store my broth in two ways – in jars in the fridge for use in cooking and in the freezer. To freeze my broth, I pour it into ice cube trays and once frozen I decant into freezer bags. This makes a ready supply of bone broth cubes that can be popped into a mug and topped up with boiling water for a warming drink.