One of my favorite things to make during the winter months is homemade bone broth. It may appear complicated, but making your own bone broth is a simple and affordable way to create a nutrient dense and flavorful meal – especially if you have an Instant Pot or other brand of pressure cooker.
Bone broth has a wide range of health benefits, and should be incorporated as a healthy staple in every diet. Bone broth is one of the world’s best sources of collagen and gelatin. Collagen and gelatin help build connective tissues, which protect and cushion our joints as we age. Broth is a rich source of proline and glycine, which are important amino acids used by the body to rebuild connective tissues, and have been proven to outperform expensive glucosamine and chondroitin supplements that are sold to improve arthritis and tendonitis. Bone broth is also very healing to our digestive tract and gut. Supporting our gut will in turn support our immune system function and reduce inflammation in the body.
Now for the more glamorous benefits of bone broth – let’s talk skin, hair and nails. Collagen found in bone broth helps to form elastin and other compounds that provide our skin with a youthful tone and smoother texture. Overtime, this will reduce wrinkles and cellulite, and prevent premature aging by maintaining firmer skin. These same compounds also strengthen hair and nails.
One of my goals over the last few years has been to limit my food waste as much as possible. Making bone broth on a regular basis is the perfect solution. Any time I have leftover bones, most likely from a chicken carcass, I will save those bones in a labeled bag in my freezer. At all times, I have another bag of vegetable scraps that I accumulate with daily cooking – think carrot tops, broccoli stems, bottom of celery stalks, herb stems, etc. If I have fresh vegetables in the fridge that I am unable to eat before going out of town, I will add those to the vegetable bag as well. When it is time to make broth, I am able to utilize these bones and scraps with a few additional ingredients outlined below and am ready to make broth without buying anything new!
I always think it is important to understand WHY we add certain ingredients to traditional recipes, such as bone broth. Adding apple cider vinegar is essential in order to lower the pH of the water and draw calcium and other minerals from the bones. As the bones and vegetables simmer in the water, they are broken down, making the nutrients much easier for our bodies to absorb and utilize.
• 1 whole chicken carcass
• Scrap veggies
• 4-6 cloves of garlic – peeled and crushed
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp sea salt
• Filtered water
• Place chicken bones in Instant Pot or crockpot with scrape veggies, crushed garlic clothes, bay leaf, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt
• Fill pot to top with filtered water
• If using an Instant Pot, place lid on and set to manual high pressure for 120 minutes
• If using a crockpot, bring the pot to a boil and then cook on low for at least 8 hours
• Once broth is finished, remove large bones and strain the liquid through a fine mesh metal strainer
• Use broth immediately for soup, or store in fridge/freezer for later use