Paleo Bone Broth: A Simple Staple in Your Quest for Health and Wellness
The making of paleo bone broth from leftover scraps of bone, gristle and vegetable cuttings, is one of many healthy cooking practices from the “olden days” that has gone by the wayside in this era of fast, processed, convenience foods. My Norwegian Grandma Astrid would never have thrown out bones from roasts, steaks, chops, chicken or turkey carcasses, nor the ends of celery, onion, or vegetable cuttings. Today, these scraps are often tossed out in the trash, or maybe a composting pile. Back in the day, these nutritious bits were placed in grandma’s largest stock pot, covered with water and simmered for days to create her “stock”, which served as a base in many of her dishes, sauces and mouth-watering gravies. This post is dedicated to you Grandma, and your very own paleo bone broth. Though no one was calling it by that name then, you were ahead of your time.
Paleo Bone Broth: Mineral Intake the Natural Way
Paleo bone broth is a great source of minerals like: potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, in a form that our bodies can easily absorb. The dense nutrition and healing properties packed in paleo bone broth have been newly discovered by paleo eating aficionados, especially those who have digestion issues such as: GERD, IBS, bloating, gluten intolerance, celiac, Chron’s, peptic ulcers, or connective tissue and autoimmune disorders like: RA, gout, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, and a host of others. This deeply nourishing and richly flavored recipe allows you to drink the healing ingredients that are brought out from deep within the bones and cartilage used in the making of paleo bone broth. The specific component which may be the key to easing all of the health problems listed above is gelatin.
Gelatin, is an easily digestible form of protein, full of vital amino acids, two of which (glycine and proline) are not found in significant amounts in muscle meats. Glycine and proline are important for maintaining a healthy gut lining and digestive system, a strong immune system and a steady central nervous system. Gelatin can help reduce generalized body inflammation, aid in healing damaged intestines, thus, improving digestion. It can assist in new cartilage formation and joint recovery, thereby lessening pain from arthritis and other connective tissue disorders. Gelatin stimulates our own bodies to produce more collagen, thus improving the smoothness, texture and elasticity of our own skin, giving us a healthy and more youthful appearance. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates, the same supplements used extensively to treat arthritis pain, are found in abundance in paleo bone broth.
Our ancestors ate in a “nose to tail fashion” which utilized all the nutritious parts of the whole animal: bones, cartilage, hooves, skin, fat and organs. Our modern way of eating animal proteins (the bulk of our intake is from muscle meats) has skewed our dietary intake too heavily towards the intake of those amino acids found in muscle meats, leaving us lacking in important amino acids found in other parts of the animal. By increasing our intake of offal (animal organs), and paleo bone broth, we can improve our general nutrition and perhaps heal some of our health problems.
Arthritis pain in my hands, feet and hips is what drove me to research bone broth and develop my recipe. I now drink paleo bone broth as a morning hot drink ritual, instead of coffee. It is wonderful to have a warm, steaming cup of rich bone broth for a gentle morning wake up instead of the gut irritating jolt of a huge dose of caffeine. I was amazed to find that after about four weeks, of drinking one cup of broth a day (and avoiding dairy and all grains except white rice), my generalized joint pain all but disappeared. I was able to stop my daily use of ibuprofen, which I had been taking to control my joint pain.
By using either a pressure cooker (the ideal) or a long cooking time in a crock pot, and adding an acidic substance, such as vinegar or lemon juice, the deep nutrition that is locked within the bones and cartilage can be coaxed out into the broth. Why spend lots of money buying supplements when you can make them from items you already have on hand, and in fact, might be throwing away? Along the same lines as making calcium powder from eggshells you had been throwing away, you can now harness the macro and micro nutrients from your very own homemade paleo bone broth.
Paleo Bone Broth
Ideal additions to your broth, due to numerous soft small bones, and lots of cartilage: fish heads, chicken or turkey necks and backs, chicken feet and pig feet; think gristle and tendons.
In China, chicken feet cost more than chicken breasts because they are so popular for soups, and people understand the nutrition locked inside them. Look for packs of chicken feet in the freezer section of specialty stores, or Whole Foods, or better yet, from a local poultry farmer at a farmer’s market. I simply thaw out 3-4 chicken feet on the morning I am going to make my broth, and toss those in the pot with my thawed beef bones.
(all ingredients preferably organic):
- 1 ½ – 2 lbs. pastured bones from (choose one): beef, bison, veal, lamb, chicken, turkey, wild game, wild birds or fish (I use 3-4 chicken feet in addition to my bones)
- 1 peeled yellow onion, cut in thirds
- 5-6 whole peeled garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 TBS. plus 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2 TBS. apple cider vinegar -OR- lemon juice
- (optional) 3-4 large chicken feet (almost pure cartilage, excellent for more gelatinous broth)
Add all the ingredients to your pot (at least 6-8 quart size) and fill to the top with water. Cover, bring to a boil under the highest pressure setting, then start timing.
COOKING TIMES: Bones of beef, bison, veal, lamb: pressure cooker = 6 hours minimum, crock pot or stove top = 72 hours. Bones of chicken, turkey, game birds or fish: pressure cooker = 4 hours, crock pot or stove top = 48 hours.
PRESSURE COOKER METHOD: I like to use my Instant Pot pressure cooker so I can speed up the cooking time and be done in 4-6 hours. I use the “soup” instant set button, adjust the heat to “high”, and dial in 120 minutes for my cook time. When this time counts down, I re-set the cook time to 120 minutes again, doing this three times for a total of 360 minutes, which equals 6 hours.
CROCK POT METHOD: Same ingredients as above, except you will need to simmer on medium for 48-72 hours and keep adding water as it escapes from under the lid.
STOVE TOP METHOD: I do not recommend as I don’t like the idea of leaving the burner on for 3 days, but it can be done, as Grandma Astrid had no pressure cooker. The length of time (72 hours) gives the cooking process long enough to leach out all the nutrition from the bones.
(As you can imagine, the pressure cooker is much more efficient and faster with the broth making process. It quickly reaches temperatures higher than boiling and produces paleo bone broth with the best “gel” consistency of all the methods I have used. Your finished broth when cooled to refrigerator temp will be gelatinous in texture, like softened jello.)
When cooking time is up, lift out all the bones, chicken feet, if you used them, and food bits with a slotted spoon and discard. Ladle the paleo bone broth into wide mouth mason jars, (small mouth ones can be used, but they are harder to ladle into, and are more prone to cracking when you freeze your broth). Do not fill jars completely. Leave about 1 inch/2.5cm, of room in the jar for the broth to expand as it freezes. When the jars are sufficiently cooled, loosely screw on lids and place upright in the freezer. I put one of the jars in the fridge to use the next morning, as I drink a cup of warmed paleo bone broth every morning, instead of coffee. The jars in the freezer are then on hand to pop in the fridge for defrosting as I drink through my broth or use it in recipes.
Bonus: Organic Tallow along with Paleo Bone Broth
When you take a jar from the fridge, you will see that the organic fat/tallow has risen to the top and is in a small hardened layer on top of the broth. Spoon this layer out and save in a separate container in the fridge. It can now be used to saute, brown or fry future dishes instead of using unhealthy vegetable oils or trans-fat ladened shortening. Think of using it when you want to add a savory taste to dishes and use in place of olive or coconut oil. You can be proud of yourself for not only having made delicious paleo bone broth, which can be sipped plain or used as a base for other recipes, but you also just saved money making your own organic tallow!