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Bone Broth: A Nourishing Ritual

 

Bone broth seems to be promoted as a cure all. In a way, it is. It has so much potential as a medicine. Being an herbalist, it only makes sense to me to add healing herbs, mushrooms and roots to the stockpot. Along with broth‘s base benefits, plants can help it become a powerful food medicine. Bone broth isn’t actually a miracle cure that will instantly heal your gut and joints. It’s more about the act of nourishing your body daily and getting those essential amino acids into your everyday diet. Healing amino acids protect us from disease, transport nutrients to where they need to go and can become an important aid in recovery. The body doesn’t naturally produce a lot of the essential amino acids so we NEED to get them from our diet. A deficiency can lead to poor immune response, digestive problems and even depression.

Bone broth is also an amazing source of gelatin which contains glutamic acid, a substance that can promote a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach. This helps the body absorb more nutrients from our food. When our intestines are constantly inflamed it can be a great environment for disease to grow. The broth, along with healing herbs, can help prevent this. The inulin in burdock roots is a great example as it promotes growth of beneficial bacteria and reduces inflammation. A lot of the herbs I work with are known as tonic herbs, which basically means they must be taken everyday to have an effect on the body. Adding them to a daily bone broth ritual helps with this practice. One of the main reasons I work with food medicine is because we’ve all become so detached from what we use to fuel our bodies we’ve forgotten it’s there to nourish and heal.



Even though cultures throughout the world have utilized broths for centuries claiming its healing benefits, unfortunately there aren’t a lot of studies on the subject. Science and history show us that it is nourishing, but modern science seems to only be interested in making money, while the tradition is lost. I’ve even seen websites claiming that bone broth is a complete lie. How can eating nutritiously be wrong? Even if it won’t magically cure your arthritis immediately, it is a healthy habit that will keep your body strong and disease free(depending on what else you put into it). The combination of garlic, leek and onion alone has so many gut healing properties.


A word on beef selection...

Grass fed beef has about 5 times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids as regular grain fed beef. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for preventing diseases and controlling inflammation. It is also leaner and has much less saturated fat. Grass fed beef is packed with more vitamins because the cows are out in the sunshine eating grass instead of in a feedlot eating unnatural soy and corn products. Grain-fed cows can also be given antibiotics and growth hormones which goes into your meat. This produces a meat that is high in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids.



 


I choose food with the sun in it. I choose living food. -Meredith Leigh


 



Alright let’s get to the process! You will need:

  • 4 pounds beef marrow bones

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 large carrots

  • 1 leek

  • 1 onion

  • 3 celery stalks

  • 8 garlic cloves

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 2 tbsp peppercorns

  • Salt to taste

  • Herbs + Roots + Mushrooms of choice

Healing + Nutritive Plant Medicine

  • Nettle

  • Dandelion root

  • Burdock root

  • Oatstraw

  • Reishi

  • Chaga

  • Birch Polypore

  • Garlic

  • Kelp

  • Ginger

  • Calendula

  • Rose

  • Chaga

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add bones + veg to a roasting pan, smear with tomato paste and roast for about 40 minutes or until aromatic and browned. After it’s done roasting, put the bones + veg into a large stockpot making sure to get all the juices that have accumulated in the pan. Add the bay leaves, vinegar, peppercorn and any other mushrooms, herbs or roots. The vinegar will help extract the minerals from the bones. You want to add the delicate flowers near the end so they don’t get destroyed by the long cooking time.


Fill the pot with cold water until all contents are completely submerged and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer gently for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours. Never boil or cover a broth because it can cause impurities and fats to blend with the liquid.

As it cooks make sure you skim off any fats frequently and add water if needed just to keep the bones submerged. After your preferred cooking time remove from heat, and let cool. Once the broth is cooled you need to strain into another pot or container and season with salt. When straining you want to try not to disturb the bones and plant matter as much as possible. Remember when seasoning that when you use this broth in soup you’ll probably be seasoning it again and you don’t want to end up with too much salt. You can always add more if needed. Place in jars or container of choice and refrigerate for up to a week. It can also be frozen easily. Made every Sunday, it can become a weekly healing ritual.

Pro tips: Use chicken bones instead of beef bones for a lighter broth(omit tomato paste). Both beef marrow and chicken bones are said to have healing properties for inflamed joints.


You can add a caramelized mirepoix near the end of the cooking time to add extra flavour.


mire•poix noun

  1. a mixture of sautéed aromatic vegetables usually consisting of the classic combination of carrot, onion, celery and sometime leek.