I might not have made any really earth-shattering New Year’s resolutions on New Year’s Day, but I did start our new year with a big batch of beef bone broth and microgreens growing in the window.
My simple personal resolutions this year include baking more cookies with premium, natural ingredients; growing superfoods and herbs in the kitchen windows where critters can’t eat them or drag them into the yard, and the usual Jan. 1-April 1 fast from adult beverages. Adding healing, nourishing bone broth to the menu just feels natural.
The first written documentation of bone broth being used medicinally was in the Second Century B.C. in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Ancient Chinese used bone broth to nourish kidneys, build blood, and support their general health.
As long as there was fuel for their fires, pretty much every ancestral culture had a pot of bone broth simmering.
There’s a reason chicken soup has always been thought of as a healing food when you’re sick… made the old-fashioned way of slow-simmering, it’s chock full of vitamins and minerals that help boost your immune system.
Broth and stock are far from the same creature, although they might be made of the same ingredients. Both can be started with meat, bones, vegetable and water, and simmered slowly to yield a pot of flavorful liquid to use as a base for soups, sauces, and other culinary creations.
Broth essentially is any liquid that has had meat or vegetables cooked in it, and is pretty thin.
Bone broth is similar to stock in that it always includes bones that have been simmered for an extended period to extract the gelatin and flavor from them. If your stock is thick like jelly, thank the collagen in the bones for that additional flavor and health benefit.
Collagen is especially beneficial for us humans. It is key in improving our skin and hair; reducing joint pain and degeneration; helping to heal leaky gut; boosting metabolism, muscle mass and energy output; strengthens nails, hair and teeth; improves liver health and protects cardiovascular health.
If you got an InstantPot or other electric pressure cooker for Christmas and don’t know what to do with it, you can make a batch of bone broth in a couple hours rather than the 72-hour slow-cooker method.
You can make chicken bone broth or beef bone broth and both have health benefits. Chicken bone broth will be higher in protein, even though the bones are less dense than beef bones.
In making bone broth, there are two types of bones you will want to look for: bones with meat, and bones with joints. The bones with joints are rich in cartilage and connective tissues. Look for chicken wings, necks and feet. Whole chicken carcasses work well, too.
For beef bone broth, cow knuckles and ox tails. Ox tails are not from oxen, as the name insinuates… they are the tail bone of cows and have quite a bit of meat and collagen in the marrow.
I roast our ox tails before putting them in the pot. Then, I add carrots, onion, celery and garlic, unpeeled and chopped just enough to fit in the pot. Some Himalayan salt, a bay leaf and a little apple cider vinegar to help extract the gelatin from the bones.
Two hours of electric pressure cooking, and we are rewarded with thick, rich and delicious beef bone broth. I used the same bones for a second batch (but not the vegetables, because reusing the vegetables will make the broth bitter) and it resulted in a slightly thinner but tasty broth.
I also make chicken bone broth with organic whole chicken after I debone it, same added ingredients as the beef bone broth, and it is wonderful.
As the Greek physician Hippocrates, born in 460 BC said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Slow Cooker AND Pressure Cooker Beef Bone Broth
3 pounds beef bones, or more to taste
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
cold water to cover
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher or Himalayan pink salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread beef bones out on baking sheet or in roasting pan and roast bones in the preheated oven until browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
Place carrots, celery, onion, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a slow cooker. Place roasted bones over vegetables; pour in enough cold water to cover bones. Add apple cider vinegar and salt.
Cook on Low for 18-72 hours (keep your eye on it). Pour broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and discard any strained solids. Broth can keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or frozen up to a year.
Instant Pot users: Use all the same ingredients. Select “broth” setting on your IP with High pressure, and change the time to 2 hours with a natural pressure release.