Bone Broth Basics


It’s that time of year… and we’ve got major cravings for cold-weather comfort foods, like soups and stews.

What is it, exactly, that makes those comfort foods so…well, comforting? To answer that, we look right to the most essential ingredient of any soup or stew: bone broth.

What’s bone broth? Glad you asked! Bone broth is regular broth and stock’s significantly more amazing cousin.

Here’s a quick guide:

Broth – vegetables, aromatics (think garlic, onions, herbs, etc.) and meat simmered in water for a short period of time, usually less than two hours, then strained and seasoned. It’s light and flavorsome and stays completely liquid when chilled.

Stock – vegetables, aromatics, and bones simmered in water for about 4-6 hours then strained. When chilled, it’ll congeal into a wobbly, Jell-O-like state.

Bone broth – roasted collagen-heavy bones (usually marrow, knuckles, and feet bones), sometimes with a little meat left on them, simmered for a good long time—frequently over 24 hours—which extracts the minerals and nutrients from the bone marrow, then strained and seasoned. Like stock, bone broth will get wobbly in the fridge. Bone broth also frequently uses an acid, like apple cider vinegar, to the water to help leech every possible mineral out of the bones.

More About Bone Broth

Bone broth’s slow simmer preparation makes it higher in both flavor and nutrients than either stock or regular broth. Oftentimes, bone broth is the unsung hero that gives depth and character to your favorite soup, stew, or gravy. It’s a foundational ingredient in all fine cuisine and has been a staple in cuisine from pretty much every culture around the world for thousands of years.

And remember: it’s delicious and nutritious. Chicken soup may be hailed as the cure-all for whatever ails you, but it’s really the bone broth used in the soup that has all the healing power. So the next time you’re stuck in bed with a cold, sneezing, sniffling, and binge watching “Stranger Things,” try a soup made with a bone broth base or even a straight mug of bone broth to help get you back on your feet faster.

And you certainly don’t need to be sick to enjoy the health benefits of bone broth! Bone broth is both nutrient-dense and easily digestible. The collagen extracted from the bones help keep your skin clear and your hair and nails long and shiny. Bone broth is also an excellent source for several amino acids, such as proline, glycine, arginine, and glutamine, the amino acid that combines with glucose to create glucosamine, which promotes healthy joints.

So how, exactly, do you make bone broth?

  • Step 1: A good bone broth starts with good bones. We recommend these Wagyu beef knuckle bones as a great option for beef bone broth. Knuckle bones are particularly high in cartilage, and the collagen in cartilage will thicken the broth, increasing both body and flavor.You can choose your bones based on the flavor bone broth you’d like to enjoy—you can use anything from beef to rabbit to fish. Roasting the bones first is recommended. Roasting = caramelizing, which always makes for richer flavor. 
  • Step 2: Let your bones sit in water and vinegar for about an hour so the vinegar can start to leech the minerals from the bones.
  • Step 3: Vegetables and aromatics of your choice may be added and simmer 24-72 hours, occasionally skimming.  (Note:  At Pasture Prime, our bone broth doesn’t include anything added to alleviate any problems with allergies).
  • Step 4: Let the broth cool, strain it, add salt to taste, and enjoy! Broth can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days or frozen for up to six months.

Looking for more exact instructions? Here’s one recipe you might be interested in. You can also make bone broth in your slow cooker. Check out this video to learn more.

Don’t have time to make your own but want to reap some of these benefits? Luckily, bone broth is having a bit of A Moment right now.

While bone broth has been a go-to ingredient for thousands of years, the popularity of the Paleo Diet, which emphasizes the consumption of foods that would have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era (things like grass-fed meat, fish, and fresh fruits and veggies), has helped propel bone broth into the spotlight to enjoy some long overdue praise and attention. We’ve stepped up to provide pre-made grass-fed bone broth to those of us who are a little short on time.

Here are some ways to enjoy your bone broth beyond drinking the delicious stuff straight:

  1. Use it as a base for gravy and sauce
  2. Simmer your vegetables in it
  3. Add it to mashed potatoes (use it in place of milk)
  4. Braise your meat in it to get them extra tender

…The possibilities are endless. Incorporating bone broth into your favorite recipes is an easy and delicious way to get some extra nutrients into your diet.

The final step before enjoying your bone broth is to add just a bit of salt. Curious about what kind of salt you should be using? Check out our recent blog post all about this topic here.

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