Bone broth is superfood. When I was going to school for Chinese medicine, my Chinese professors gave us recipes for bone broth on the first day of class.
According to Chinese medicine, traditionally prepared bone broth nourishes something called kidney "jing," which is also called kidney essence. Kidney essence is best translated into modern terms as "genetic material." It is said to be passed on from our parents at birth. It is what determines our inherent constitution and general vitality. "Good genes" or "bad genes," if you will. Kidney essence is said to govern reproduction, growth and development across the lifecycle. It is considered very important for fertility (in both men and women) and a successful pregnancy. There are few things that can build-up kidney jing in the body. Mostly it's believed that jing is inherited from the parents and simply needs to be conserved. It is believed that over-work, drug-use, too much sexual activity and a junk-food rich diet will deplete kidney essence. Luckily, bone broth is a kidney essence tonic!
Bone broth has been a traditional dish in every culture throughout the world. A few years ago, a top Italian chef in New York, Marco Canora, became a bone broth lover. Lucky for us, because he has been on the forefront of popularizing this traditional dish in this country. He started selling bone broth by the cup on the streets of New York and soon found great demand for the magical potion.
I recommend bone broth to my patients all of the time for the numerous health benefits:
- Hair, skin and nail health - bone broth is very rich in collagen
- Healing leaky gut and providing digestive support
- Immune support
- Fertility support
- Overall wellness - bone broth is very rich is essential amino acids, minerals and collagen for joint health
This book is a nice little primer on bone broth. The author details the numerous health benefits, including the personal benefits he saw from consuming the broth on a regular basis. It goes over selecting bones of high quality and which ones to use. In addition--he is a top chef after all--he includes some interesting recipes to make with the broths and ingredients to infuse into the broths after you've made it.
Traditional Bone Broth Recipe from Marco Canora:
Golden Chicken Broth
3 pounds chicken feet
5 pounds chicken wings
7 pounds chicken backs and necks
3 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
6 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
5 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorn
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
Fine sea salt
1.) Place all chicken parts into a large stock pot and cover with water by 3 to 4 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam about every 15 to 20 minutes.
2.) As soon as the liquid boils (this could take awhile), reduce the heat to low and pull the pot to one side so it is partially off the burner. Simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, skimming once or twice.
3.) Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley and push them down into the liquid. Continue to simmer 3 to 5 hours, checking once or twice to make sure the bones are still fully submerged.
4.) Use a skimmer to remove the solids. Strain the both through a fine-mesh strainer. Season with salt to taste.
5.) Transfer cooled broth to storage containers (leaving sediment on the bottom of the pot) and refrigerate overnight. Spoon off any solidified fat. Store the broth for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 6 months.
When I make bone broth, I've always added a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the cool water with the bones. This is how I was first taught to make it, and the idea is the acidity of the vinegar helps to release minerals from the bones. I don't think this is entirely necessary, but it can't hurt to add it.
I think it's important to note the the packaged bone broth that has turned up on grocery store shelves in recent years (because of the popularity bone broth has garnered) is NOT traditional bone broth and doesn't have the same health benefits. The signs of a good broth is that it will gel when cooled, because of its high gelatin content. I've seen several online suppliers of bone broth who claim they make their broth traditionally, and these may be better sources if you can't or don't want to make it yourself. Bare Bones Broth is one of these companies. I haven't tried their broth myself yet, but I just might in the future!