What exactly is bone broth and why is it so good for you?

What exactly is bone broth and why is it so good for you?

The bone broth trend hit New York and California early last year, so much so that Epicurious wrote an article entitled Bone Broth Is the New Coffee. However, Vancouver was actually home to the first official bone broth bar in North America, Home on the Range Organics at 235 East Broadway, and it's recently been named among the top bone broth bars in North America by The Daily Meal.

So what exactly is bone broth and why is it so good for you? Bone broth is like a stock as it is usually made from roasted bones, but sometimes some meat is still attached (for instance with chicken, the wings are often used). It’s cooked for a long period of time, 12 hours or more to extract the gelatin from the bones and to release all the nutritious minerals. The broth is then strained to be served up on its own or as a base for many recipes.

Bone broth is nothing new, as it’s been a base for everything from Italian wedding soups to Japanese ramen, but serving it up coffee-style with the addition of seasonings is what makes bone broth bars, like Home on The Range Organics, so popular with everyone from athletes to hipsters, and for good reason.

Bone broth is rich in gelatin and collagen as well as glucosamine magnesium, boron, phosphorus, and calcium, all minerals that contribute to the regrowth of the body’s collagen, hair, skin and nails. It’s full of protein and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ability to heal joints, tissue and cartilage faster and tighten up skin, so much so it’s been lauded as the new Botox.

At Home on The Range Organic, the shop rotates through a variety of broths, all made with grass-fed and pasture-raised meat and bones and organic vegetables. Duck broth with star anise was featured when I last popped in, and there’s a Japanese dashi made with pork and seaweed, as well as beef, veal and chicken.

Garnishes include herbed butter, fermented egg yolk cured in Tamari, chili-lime oil or a topping of Moroccan spice mix, ras el hanout.

Click through for more local spots to find bone broth...

Where to find bone broth in B.C.

Where to find bone broth in B.C.

In the city, Jackson’s Meats on West 4th carries a variety of stock. Kits Kitchen, which specializes in healthy soups, also makes a bone broth and their products are available at Urban Fare and many local juiceries. Another source of bone broth is Granville Island’s The Stock Market. They have organic beef bone broth made with water, grass-fed beef bones, beef chuck, organic vegetables, white wine vinegar, and spices.

If you're out in the valley, Pitt Meadow’s Hopcott Farms takes nose-to-tail butchery very seriously. They first roast their grass-fed, non-GMO beef bones and then add water, carrots, celery, onion, rosemary and black peppercorns, and simmer for more than 24 hours. They freeze the bone broth by the litre for you to take home.

Around famers' markets in the Okanagan, you can find Wild Moon Organic Bone Broth, made from bones from the family pork farm in Armstrong and other local organic farms nearby. Broth brewer Joleah Quiring then adds carrots, celery, onions, garlic, herbs, mushrooms and dried organic matters such as kelp, nettles, and schisandra berry for added nutrition, and slow simmers the bone broth in a sealed pot for 42 hours. Boned Broth out of Kelowna can be found at Loblaws and Whole Foods, and in downtown Penticton a delicious bowl can be sipped at Chef Cecconi’s restaurant, Brodo.

Click through for a bone broth recipe...

Bone broth is not difficult to make at home, but you do have to have a big pot and some patience

Bone broth is not difficult to make at home, but you do have to have a big pot and some patience

Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth Recipe

by Chef Allen Ingram, Home on the Range Organics

"We have all now heard the banging of the drum for the excellent benefits provided by drinking bone broth. I drink one to two cups a day and have done so for the last 3 to 4 years; I haven’t had a cold or flu during that time. I generally work 6 to 7 days a week and find my energy levels are still great with the addition of bone broth to my diet. So if you want to feel great, and have wonderfully rich and satisfying kitchen smells permeate throughout your house, then try making your own bone broth at home. It's addictive so beware; you may end up with a pot on at all times to satisfy those bone broth cravings.

"If you have a slow cooker, I suggest using it as your results will be tastier. For best results, use an 8L pot. I like to make my bone broth dense and very nutritious so you don’t have to use as many pounds of bones as I do, but try not to use less than 3 lbs.

"Also, be sure not to overfill your pot, as it can bubble over and get messy and won’t evaporate as quickly as it would in a regular pot without a lid. If you don’t have a slow cooker, then try to use a stainless steel pot and stay away from aluminium. Using tomatoes in the recipe releases minerals in the bones through the introduction of the acid present in the tomatoes."

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs grass-fed organic beef bones (have them cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces if you can)
  • 2 medium sized organic leeks (chopped into 2-inch pieces)
  • 2 medium organic carrots (chopped into 2-inch pieces)
  • 3 stalks organic celery (chopped into 2-inch pieces)
  • 1 organic red onion (halved)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns (whole)
  • 6 cloves (whole)
  • 1 tin diced organic tomatoes (796 ml)
  • 1 tin tomato paste (156 ml)

method

  1. If you have a slow cooker or crock pot, it doesn’t really matter what time of day you start. You will want to give the bone broth at least 8 hours cooking time, and as much as a full 48 hours if you can stand the wait. Be sure to factor that into what time you want to start making your bone broth.
  2. Roast your bones on a flat baking tray for an hour at 375° F.
  3. Put the bones into your pot of choice, and be sure to scrape all the bits from your pan. This is where much of the flavour comes from so try to get it all into your pot.
  4. Add your chopped vegetables and then add cold water gradually. Leave a couple of inches gap at the top of the pot to stop it from bubbling over.
  5. Bring the bone broth to a boil then reduce the heat and slow cook it for up to 48 hours, and a minimum of 8 hours.
  6. Once you have, let it slowly cook for as long as you want, take it off the stove and strain it quickly. You can discard everything into your organics bin.
  7. Then strain the broth a second time. You should have a great looking fat layer on top of the broth. I highly recommend having this in your daily cup of bone broth. We need (animal) fat in our diet and it doesn’t get much better than fat from grass fed cows.
  8. Cool your bone broth down in the fridge and I recommend having a cup a day.
  9. It should last a few days in your fridge, so freeze what you don’t need. It’ll keep for months in your freezer.
  10. That’s it! You are now an official bone broth maker. Eat, sleep, repeat.

Tip

  • Save scraps of meat and bones in your freezer, labeling as you go. You’ll be surprised how quickly they add up and before you know it you’ll have enough for a restorative pot of bone broth.