Beef Bone Broth
Ever had one of those cold and dreary winter days when all you wanted was a bowl of warm soup and a fire?
With baby #2 here, we've definitely been boosting all of our immune systems and one of the best around is BONE BROTH.
One thing I always make sure to have in our freezer is beef bone broth. I may have chicken, or vegetable on hand, but BEEF BONES is where all the nutrients are at.
In efforts to boost our immune system throughout these winter months, not only do we up our vitamin C, take elderberry and immune supports, but I use bone broth in a multitude of my recipes.
Here are just a few wonderful things you can benefit from with bone broth:
Provides the amino acids needed for collagen production: which support your hair, skin, nails and joints.
Provides amino acids (proline, glycine, argentine, glutamine) necessary that are often difficult to obtain from your diet alone.
Enhances your gut and immune health. Helps normalize stomach acid, which is useful for colitis, celiac disease, ulcers, and other inflammatory gut conditions.
Fights inflammation due to the increase in the amino acids as mentioned before.
Improves hydration and helps build muscle.
As well as a multitude of other benefits:
Arthritis and joint-pain relief
Can alleviate diabetes and lower blood sugar; supports insulin regulation
Can improve sleep
Helps regulate bleeding from nosebleeds, heavy menstruation, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and bladder hemorrhage
Have I convinced you yet to add it to your diet???
It's pretty amazing stuff, considering it's made from just water, bones and vegetables.
So I must admit-bone broth can take a day or two to fully complete (depending on how long you let your broth stew and cool), so this is why I HIGHLY suggest freezing once you make it so you always can have some on hand. Defrosting a bag of broth when you're not feeling well is a LOT easier than making broth last minute.
I use a large 16 quart stock pot that I purchased at Wal-Mart for a whopping $8.94
You need something large enough to put all the vegetables and bones in, and be able to cover completely (and more!) with water. It looks like a lot when starting, but once you let this broth sit and simmer for 8+ hours, it really reduces down.
I also needed a large bowl, some cheesecloth, large rubber band and a strainer for the end process of making this broth.
Whenever I cook, I throw any vegetable (and sometimes even herb!) scraps that I have in a large freezer bag and keep them in the freezer. Why? Because when I'm ready to make bone broth, or any broth for that matter, all I have to do is grab that freezer bag and throw it all into the stock pot, with the bones on top!
I'm not wasting any scraps from other cooking, as well as not wasting my time cutting up more vegetables! It's a win-win. :)
I use a variety of scraps for my bone broth. It comes down to what your preference is, and it's been fun to see what tastes come out of the various combinations of vegetables you use.
My go-to mixture is: Celery, onion, garlic and carrots. I will add some basil stems, or parsley stems as well if I have them. Bell pepper cores with the seeds, even some jalapeño stems go in occasionally.
I even add the onion skins, garlic skins, rinds- everything! I've even added some parmesan cheese rind that turned out fantastic!
We are lucky to have some awesome friends that raise cattle that we get our beef marrow bones from, but if you don't have connections - most meat suppliers at your local farmers markets will have some-always check there FIRST! They are usually grass fed, farm raised beef, but if that's not available to you, your local grocer and/or butcher usually always has some around!
I pre-soak the bones for at least one hour covered in water. I then drain the water, and add the vegetable scraps.
If you have the time- you can roast your thawed beef bones and thawed veggies in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes to remove any scraps off the bones and enhance flavor, but it's not necessary to the recipe. Only a flavor option.
Once the veggies and beef marrow bones are added, I usually add some whole spices at this point (peppercorns, bay leaves) and the apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar will help draw out the nutrients of the bones.
You then fill the stock pot to the very top covering all the ingredients. Like I mentioned before, this drastically reduces when you simmer it over a long period of time, so however long you simmer your broth will determine just how much end result you will obtain.
Now the easy part- SIMMER.
You cover the pot, and then bring the broth to a boil-then turn down the heat to a simmer. When you boil a stock/broth over a long time it almost makes it taste bland, or flavorless. It's important to cook this on a low, slow simmer.
I usually like to let my broth simmer at LEAST 8 hours, but usually let it simmer for a full 24 hours. I occasionally stir it and skim any fat that may have produced on top. Never leave it unattended though! If you must leave, just take it off the heat and continue to simmer once you return.
After it is done simmering, I let it cool on the stovetop. At this point I start skimming out the large pieces of vegetables and bones and strain the liquid.
Once they are all skimmed out, I then strain out the spices and leftover bits.
For straining, this is where the bowl, cheesecloth and rubber bands come into play.
I place the cheesecloth over the bowl, and secure it with a rubber band. I place the bowl in the sink to cut down a little on the mess, and then pour the broth into the cheesecloth and strain it, repeating until the stockpot is empty.
(If wanting to keep the fat content in the broth, skip this next step.)
I then return the broth into the stockpot and place in the fridge for 8-12 hours, until I see a solidified fat layer on top.
Break off the fat layer, and then proceed to fill your containers with the broth. I used plastic bags for the mere sake of saving room in our freezer. I placed the broth in the bag leaving some room on the top, and then proceeded to lay the bag down flat in the freezer so it would freeze flat, saving me some room.
If you have space and room for glass containers in your freezer, please feel free to swap them out instead of the freezer bags. Glass is definitely cleaner and healthier!
If you save some for the fridge, it stays good for up to 5 days refrigerated, and frozen it stays up to 6 months!
If you make your own, or try this recipe out and have suggestions, please comment below! I'd love to hear from you!
Click the picture below for the recipe!