By Ellice Yang
For centuries, bone broth has been used as a medicinal staple by almost every culture around the world. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is no different and uses food as medicine. Bone broth in particular is believed to to nourish the Kidney system. The Kidney system in TCM is the source of Qi also known as the root of life and it governs the bones, marrow and the brain. And so bone broth which is rich in marrow, collagen and omega-3 is believed to help with chronic illness, support bone health and nourishes the essence of Kidney “Jing”.
In recent years there has been a lot of hype about bone broth and it’s health benefits. You can even grab a cup of warm broth to go instead of coffee from your restaurant. Benefits range from traditional uses of chicken broth or chicken soup when you’re sick to help support your immune system and reduce inflammation to using bone broth as a post-workout recovery drink to replace electrolytes and amino-acids from intense workouts.
But let’s first clear up any confusion about the differences between broth, stock and where bone broth sits between these.
The main difference between broth and stock is that broth is a clear fluid, even when chilled. Broth uses mostly meat and only some bones, with vegetables and aromatics. Cooking time is relatively short in comparison to a stock. A stock uses mostly animal bones and some meat which is roasted prior to cooking for 4-6 hours. The purpose of a stock is to extract the collagen from the connective tissues and bones being simmered, giving it a thick “Jell-O” like consistency. So where does that leave bone broths? Sounds like both right? Well, you’re right! Bone broth is a hybrid of broth and stock. The base is more stock-like because roasted bones are used with some meat attached, and the cooking time is much longer 24-48 hours. You will need a lot of patience or perhaps a pressure cooker to speed things up. Personally I love using an instant pot for bone broths and it is so much easier, faster and safer. I’ve witnessed my mother making bone broth for days on the stove and nearly burning our house down!
Here is a simple recipe for bone broth:
~3lb Grass Fed Organic Beef Bones (mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them; ie. Oxtail, short ribs)
1 onion, quartered*
3 large chopped organic carrots*
2 large chopped organic celery sticks*
3-5 cloves of organic garlic
1 tsp whole peppercorns
2 dried bay leaf
2 tsp apple cider vinegar**
2 tsp sea salt
- Place beef bones (bone side down) on a baking sheeting and bake @ 375° for 25-30mins until bones are browned.
- Pace all your vegetables at the bottom and then the roasted bones In a crock pot or a pressure cooker (Instant Pot)
- Next cover everything with filtered water then add in your peppercorns, bay leaves, apple cider vinegar and salt
- If you’re using a crockpot you can set it to at least 8 hours. If you’re using an Instant Pot you can set it to 35mins and let it naturally release for 10-15mins
- Once cooled enough to handle, palce a sieve on top of a glass jar and pour the broth in it. This can be stored in the fridge or you can freeze these!
- Adding vinegar will help extract the minerals from the bones.
- Adding some vegetables in your bone broth helps in the mineral and vitamin content of this restorative liquid
- Roasting your bones will enhance the flavours
- You can do the same with chicken bones to make chicken bone broth. If you are vegetarian you will do the same without the meat bones and it will eseentially be a stock instead.
- Optional additions to increase therapeutic value to your broth:
- 1 knob of ginger, thinly sliced
- 5 whole red dates pitted (dried jujube)
- 6 dried longan berries (aka goji berries)