Bone broth is a flavored liquid that is made by simmering bones, cartilages, and fleshes of meat for long hours. Among the commonly used lean meats are beef, lamb, pork, veal, and kangaroo. Poultry can also be used, especially if you have less time to cook. Unlike stocks which predominantly contain bones, broths can be eaten alone. But, it can be used as a base for soups, stews, sauces, and gravies as well. It was started by our primitive hunters who made broths out of necessity. Successful hunts were very rare that every animal parts were so precious – including bones. Thus, to maximize their resources, they started concocting a real food that is not only comforting, but also nutritious and healing.
Bone Broth Trivia
- Chinese people have been using bone broth to strengthen kidneys and joints, improve blood circulation, and to support the overall digestive system for over 25 centuries now.
- Bone broths also help in fighting osteoarthritis, healing our guts, and reducing any kind of inflammation; it aids any sleeping problems and supports weight loss too.
- Bone broths contain collagen which is good for hair, skin, and nails.
- Bone broths are used in bathing. It has been linked to hydrotherapy and broth baths are still practiced in some parts of Asia and Europe. Various men were once reported to be kept alive for several days just by steeping them in broth baths.
- Ramen baths are currently trending in Japan; it promises to increase metabolism and boost collagen.
Bone Broth Buying Guide
Bone broths are best-made at home; but, if you don’t have time to make them, which is completely understandable, here are some things to look out for when you opt to buy in stores instead:
- Go to the frozen aisle section of the store. Frozen bone broths usually mean that there are no additives, preservatives, and shelf-stabilizing agents involved in the product. In addition, rest assured that all the flavor and nutrients are locked in when you buy broths frozen.
- Look for no-salt-added, reduced-sodium, or low-sodium. Typically, one serving is equivalent to 1 cup or 250 ml; search for 140mg to 500mg of sodium per serving.
- Check out the ingredients list. Since bone broths have yet to be regulated, any product can be labeled as bone broth even if it’s just made with flavored powder and water. So, make sure you’re reading “bones” in the ingredient list.
- Check out if the bones are grass-fed bones. This indicates that the product used top-notch quality bones and is free from environmental toxins.
- The bone broths have to be clear yet gelatinous when refrigerated; this is a good indication that your store-bought bone broths are made properly and are filled with collagen.
Bone Broth Production & Farming in Texas
While it is possible to find good quality bones and broths in large supermarkets such as H-E-B and Natural Grocers, the state of Texas also features countless numbers of farms and ranches that raise grass-fed animals and free-range poultries. Not only that you can skip the middlemen when you buy straight from the farm or ranch, but you can also be assured that you get the best quality bones for your broths.
If you don’t have the time to visit local farms and ranches, you can go check out our website and look for nearby farmers and/or ranchers who will happily deliver the products right in your doorstep. And if you didn’t find any, visit your local farmers’ market where they showcase local and good quality products.
Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:
As we now know, store-bought bone broths will never be our best choice. Not only that these commercially-produced products are usually watered-down and taste bland, but they most likely contain additives and chemicals for a lower cost yet fast-producing and shelf-stable products. Here are some additives that we found on best-selling bone broth brands.
- Sodium – Although sodium is a natural food that balances our body fluids, it can cause harm when consumed past its RDA.
- MSG – Monosodium Glutamate is used to enhance the flavor of almost any product. It is the one responsible for creating that umami flavor. Although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it can cause headaches, flushing, palpitations, sweating, nausea, numbness, and weakness to some people. It allegedly can cause asthma, brain damages, and even cancer; however, these allegations remained controversial.
- Yeast extracts – These are added as a flavor enhancer and possesses the same side effects just like MSG. You may want to avoid products with these ingredients especially if you have blood pressure problems or sodium-related concerns.
- Dextrose – It is a type of sugar that acts as an artificial sweetener, food neutralizer, and a preservative. Too much consumption of this ingredient can lead to body fluid build-up and high blood sugar.
- Artificial flavorings – These are chemical products that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. Although they are labeled as such due to its very small quantitative participation in bone broths, it is not advisable to consume something that is completely unspecified.
Bone broths come in various packages. For commercially-produced ones, it usually comes in cartons and pouches. Some pouches even have a small window where you can take a peek of how gelatinous the broth is. Some also have spouts for easy pouring. Bone broths also come in powders and cubes; it is most commonly addressed as bouillon powder or bouillon cubes. For local artisan producers, their broths are packaged in mason jars.
Enjoying Bone Broth
Although bone broths can be eaten by itself as a soup, it can also be turned into numerous meals. You can make stuffing, sauces, dips, marinades, and stews out of it. You can even use it to cook your starches: rice, cauliflower rice, pastas, mashed potatoes, and alike.
Bone Broth, if it isn’t in powder or cube form, should be stored in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. It could last a year there. It should be then kept in the refrigerator and it is advisable to consume it within 5-7 days upon opening. If your broths are packaged in mason jars, make sure they are freezer safe before you put them in. It also helps if you read on hacks on how to keep them from breaking in the freezer.
Make your own bone broth:
Now here comes the moment of the dreaded truth. Bone broths are cooked for at least 12 hours to a maximum of 48 hours. But if you’re in for a slowly but surely journey, here is my simple yet standardized recipe of beef broth:
- 2 lbs beef (bones with ligaments and small amount of meat, cut in the size of your fist)
- Mirepoix (2 large onions, 1 large carrot, 1 celery stalk, all cut in 2-inch sizes) Note: If you are to alter the recipe, just remember that Mirepoix is 50% onion, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.
- Sachet d’épices (10-16 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbsp peppercorns, tsp of thyme, and tsp parsley stem that are placed in a tied cheesecloth or sachet)
- 1 tbsp of acid (apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, etc)
- Roast or pan-sear the beef over high heat until it is brown. Add the mirepoix until it is caramelized.
- Transfer the beef and mirepoix to a stockpot, including the fond.
- Add cold water until it covers the meat and vegetables. Toss in the sachet d’épices and acid.
- Cover and let it simmer for 12 hours or so. The longer time you cook it the more flavorful your broth will be.
- Keep removing the scums (the froth that floats on top) from time to time and keep adding cold water to make sure that the bones and meat are fully submerged.
- When done, let it cool slightly and strain the broth using a cheesecloth. Discard bones and vegetables. Cool it down to room temperature before you store or package it.