With winter fast approaching, there are two things you can do now to help your body through this season of colds and flu. The first is elderberry syrup. It only takes about an hour to make and is wonderful for building up your immunity. We did a post on elderberry syrup recently along with the recipe we use.
For today, we are going to focus on bone broth, the second front for fighting illness this season. Bone broth is an excellent nutrient dense food that has been around for centuries, and for good reason. It helps with a slew of digestive issues as well has giving us, collagen, amino acids, and some trace minerals that assist us with joint health, skin health, digestive health, and a stronger immune system. I make it every other week and place it in quart freezer bags. I get enough to get approximately 8 bags with 2 cups per bag. It’s great to cook with grains as well as for soup or stews or just to sip in a mug. We use a crock pot for this and it works fine for us because we don’t have to fuss with it, but it’s important you keep it at a very slow simmer ( actually I wouldn’t even call it a simmer. More like a plop….plop…plop…). If it gets to simmering too quickly, just tilt the lid off center a bit to slow it down. We add a tablespoon of vinegar as this helps break down the bones and release more nutrition into the broth. We do not notice any taste of vinegar, but some do so this is optional, but you may forego some of the nutrients.
We are extremely fortunate to have a grass fed beef farm near us, and there may be one closer to you than you think. The cost is obviously more expensive, but as the saying goes, “Pay the farmer or pay the doctor.”
- 5-6 lbs grass fed beef bones
- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1-1 1/2 gallons filtered or spring water
- 2 carrots, 1 large onion, 2 stalks celery, all organic and washed. (I do not peel my carrots and I remove just the outer dried skins of the onion)
The rest of the ingredients are optional but we like the flavor they give to the broth. If your missing one or two of them, don’t worry. It’s really just a matter of what you like. We don’t always use them all either.
- 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns (use less if you don’t want it spicy)
- 2 tsp salt (you can add more later if you want it a little saltier for your taste)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup juniper berries
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 4 or 5 parsley stems with leaves
- 1 large or 4-5 small thyme sprigs
- 4-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
Place beef bones in a roasting pan and place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. You want to get a nice roasted beef smell going. Remove bones from the oven and place into the bottom of the crock pot. Fill the crock pot with water making sure you leave a few inches at the top to add the other ingredients. Add the vinegar and let set 30 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients and add more water if you have room. Place temperature setting on low and leave it for 24 hours or even longer. Check it once in while to make sure it’s not simmering too quickly.
After 24 hours, turn off crock pot and let broth cool enough to handle without scalding yourself. Place a colander on a large bowl or soup pot. I use a soup ladle to transfer the whole thing to the colander. Let strain and then take the colander with all the ingredients, dump it back into the crock pot, cover the ingredients with water and set on low for another 24 hours ( If you do not want to do this step, cool the ingredients completely, place in gallon freezer bag, and freeze to use it to make broth another time).
Place the bowl with the broth in the fridge. Skim off the fat and save it for sautéing veggies. Divide broth into quart size freezer bags ( you may have to heat it slightly to liquefy it as it should be gelatinous) and freeze. Repeat for the second batch of broth.
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