How to make Bone Broth and Why Nettles makes it Super Nutritious May 11 2016

Bone broth  .............   what is it and why is it so good for you?

Let's begin our conversation on why I think of bone broth as "Liquid Gold" or my "Magic Elixer".   When I drink bone broth daily (1-3 cups per day) I feel amazing.  My joint pain fades, my skin looks great and my energy becomes really balanced.  What does bone broth do for your body:

  1. Helps heal leaky gut
  2. Improves joint health
  3. Increases the immune system
  4. Improves your skin, hair and nail health

Bones are nutrient dense and make delicious soup but they take a long time to cook. The low heat simmering allows the nutrients in the bones to be released into your soup. Some of these nutrients are proline, glycine and glutamine.

Bone broth is filled with tons of minerals and nutrients that are easily assimilated by your body.  Nutrients such as glucasame and chrondoitin sulfate, yes the same thing you buy in a pill.  Bone broth reduces inflammation in the respiratory and digestive system, improves the immune system and just plain makes you feel great.

As we get older the collagen in our bones, skin and hair wears.  Think about a baby, how soft and flexible not only their skin is, but also their bones.  It is filled with collagen.  How would it be to have a little bit of that flexibility back in your skin and bones?  Just drinking a few cups a day of bone broth will do a lot to increase your health.

As shown below, adding nettles to your broth increases its nutritional load even more.

What kind of bones do you use and how do you make it?

Bone broth can be made with chicken, turkey, beef, fish, or any other bones you have. My favorite is chicken and I make a batch of it almost weekly. My recipe for chicken bone broth is below. Can you use just any chicken bones?  Sure, but do you really want to? If I'm going to be taking the nutrition out of the bones and infusing it into my soup I want my bones to be super healthy.  I want them to be grass fed, pastured, and organic. 

I had a hard time finding bones that fell into this category, especially when my husband prefers that we use not only pastured and organic, but also kosher.   I found the only kosher pastured and grass fed site out there, I believe.  I purchase my bones from www.kolfoods.com    The soup comes out fabulous and it is so convenient.  When I purchase bones (I get enough for five 1 gallon batches at a time) it costs me approx. $95 including shipping.  - I have an extra freezer to store them. (so whether you eat kosher or not, this is a great source for you and the soup comes out super delicious.)

My recipe and directions for Chicken Bone Broth

Ingredients: (preferably all organic)

  • 1 package 1.5 lbs chicken necks
  • 1 package 2.5 lbs chicken bones (backs)
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3 sticks astragalus (optional)
  • a small handful kelp - (my favorite sources are http://theseaweedman.com/ or http://ryandrum.com) optional
  • 3 carrots - cut up
  • 3 stalks celery - cut up
  • 2 parsnips - cut up if I can find them in the store and or a celeriac root
  • 2 big onions - quartered with the skin on
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms - or the equivalent dried- optional, but gives the soup an awesome taste
  1. Put 1 gallon filtered water in your pot 
  2. Put your chicken necks and bones in the pot (note:  I keep them in frozen and drop them right in the pot when they are frozen as they defrost fast as the water begins to boil)  Can you use a whole chicken, yes, but take the meat off the bones after a few hours (realize that one chicken won't have near as many bones as the way I recommend)
  3. add your apple cider vinegar
  4. Bring the soup to a boil and then put on a very, very low light (or you can do this in a crock pot if you have one)
  5. Add the rest of your vegetables.
  6. Let cook for 12 -24 hours on a very low heat, covered so you don't evaporate much of the "liquid gold"  Mine comes out great after 12 hours
  7. strain all of the bones and veggies out of the broth - I just use a big pasta strainer into another pot to strain.  
  8. store in mason jars in the refrigerator - the 1/2 gallon ones work great
  9. after they have been in the refrigerator overnight, scrape off the fat
  10. freeze what you aren't going to use within 5 days

My favorite way to Eat my bone broth

  • just heat up a cup and enjoy it
  • cook up some greens, add them to the soup to simmer for 5 minutes, put them in your Vitamix, Nutribullet, or any blender with a splash of heavy cream (or coconut milk)  and yummmmm  enjoy
  • my favorite way this spring is to use fresh Nettles greens. However you can use kale, spinach, I've never tried using dried nettles, but I bet if you threw them into your soup they would be delicious

Why Nettles?

Fresh young nettles are filled with nutrients, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and lots of protein.  Nettles are packed with calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll and so many more minerals. Frequent use of nettles helps to stabilize blood sugar, reduce fatigue and restore your adrenals and kidneys.

Make sure to cook them before you eat them or, yes, Stinging Nettles will sting you. Nettles are covered in tiny, hollow, needle-like hairs filled with formic acid that irritates people’s skin, producing red, stinging, burning welts that can last for hours. Cooking, drying, or freezing nettles renders them safe to eat though.

As I was driving in my town the other day I found an enormous field of nettles growing. How amazing it is.  I harvested some to use in my soup and to dehydrate for tea and when I went back to get more I couldn't even find where I had harvested as they are growing "like weeds" this time of year.

Remember the plants want us to use them. They want to help infuse our body with their medicine so don't be afraid to use them.

Find someone in your community that will help you to identify the proper species of herb to use and make sure you are harvesting in an area that is not sprayed with chemicals.

If you're local and want to learn more about herbal medicine, we just began our spring series, contact me privately and we can talk.

Leave me a comment below on your experience with bone broth and let me know how yours comes out.