Today, we’re going to show you how to make one of the most nourishing and versatile recipes of all time: bone broth! Bone broth is the result of boiling meat bones for several hours to create a rich broth that’s packed with nutrients. Many people also like to include the marrow, connective tissue, and joints when making their broth.
Is Bone Broth Healthy?
Yes! In fact, bone broth has many health benefits, as naturopathic doctor, Joyce Johnson, explains. “It supports your immune health, as well as your gut and digestive health,” she says. “It helps your joints, strengthens your bones, and even your hair, skin and nails. It can also help with sleep.”
Bone broth is rich in collagen found in the connective tissue. After the collagen is cooked down, it forms a gelatin. Dr. Johnson tells us that both collagen and gelatin contain amino acids, such as glutamine (more on this later!), that support a healthy inflammatory response.
These benefits make bone broth great to consume in everyday life. Many people like to simply sip it like a beverage, but it can also be used in soups, stews, and marinades. You can also use it as a substitute for any liquid when cooking couscous or quinoa, whipping up mashed potatoes, or sautéing vegetables.
Bone Broth and Immunity
One of the best benefits of bone broth is its role as a “superfood” to strengthen your immune system. “Grandmothers everywhere have known that chicken soup has the power to fight off colds and flus, but science has found the data to back up their claims,” Dr. Johnson shares.
According to Dr. Johnson, bone broth contains three amino acids, which are essential nutrients that help the immune system function properly:
- Arginine supports proper function of the immune system as well as the liver.
- Glutamine helps speed up metabolism so that the immune system does its job more quickly and efficiently.
- Glycine boosts glutathione production and improves the quality of sleep, which is essential for an effective immune system.
Bone broth is even good for gut health. Dr. Johnson tells us that gut health affects immunity, as the gastrointestinal tract plays host to immune system cells. These cells prevent pathogens from moving from the digestive tract throughout the body.
The Easiest Immune-boosting Bone Broth Recipe
(for the stovetop, Instant Pot®, or slow cooker!)
This recipe uses beef bones. Bone broth from beef has more collagen per serving than bone broth made from chicken or pork. “Beef bone broth also has slightly more glycine and arginine,” Johnson explains. You can use marrow bones, or shank, oxtail, knuckle, and neck bones.
- 3 lb beef bones
- 12 cups filtered water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp salt
- For a clearer broth, soak your beef bones in water prior to cooking. Drain after one hour.
- Place the beef bones in your Instant Pot, slow cooker, or on stovetop, and cover with filtered water.
- Add apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, and salt to the pot.
- If you’re using a stovetop: Bring the mixture to a boil, and as soon as it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and let it simmer. Skim any of the scum (the foam and impurities) that rise to the surface. Cover and continue to simmer for 12–16 hours. If you’re using an Instant Pot: Close the lid and cook on high pressure for three hours. Turn it off and do a natural pressure release. If you’re using a slow cooker: Close the lid and cook on high until the mixture starts boiling. Turn the heat to low and skim the scum. Cover and continue to simmer for 12–16 hours.
- Once the mixture has finished, allow it to cool.
- Strain through a cheesecloth or filter to remove any debris.
- Serve immediately if desired.
- If storing, pour broth into Mason jars and store in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for six months.
- Water: Do not add too much water – we want our broth to be concentrated and have bone broth’s signature gelatinous texture when refrigerated.
- Apple cider vinegar: This helps extract more collagen from the bones. You won’t taste it in your broth, but feel free to omit it.
- Other vegetables you can add: We suggest adding vegetables such as cabbage, mustard greens, onions, garlic, and mushrooms for a boost in nutrients that can help your immune system. Add these within the last 30 minutes of cooking your bone broth for the best flavour.
- Skimming the fat: After your bone broth has been refrigerated, you can skim the fat that has risen to the top and use it for cooking, or discard if you prefer. You can also leave it in and mix it with your broth when reheating.