Rich in nutrients, these simple bone broths have much to offer and can be enjoyed year round.
Today, mineral-rich bone broths are the soup craze du jour. The most basic bone broths are made with bones, water, and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Apple cider vinegar releases calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and other trace minerals and amino acids from the bones into the broth. Once you have your basic broth, you can add all kinds of nutritious and delicious ingredients to it, from carrots and celery, to shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms, to Kombu kelp.
Bone booster broths, as I call them, are also a cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to TCM, carrots can be added to broths to aid digestion; celery to support the large intestine; fennel for an upset stomach; wild rice to support the kidneys and bladder; and quinoa as a kidney tonic and heart support.
Bone booster broths are a powerhouse of nutrients, including protein, calcium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as amino acids and glycine, collagen, keratin and gelatin, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. The University of Nebraska Medical Center conducted a study on chicken soup, and found it was beneficial to the immune system because chicken broth inhibits neutrophil migration. So your mother knew what she was doing when she gave you chicken soup when you were sick!
Bone booster broths are also excellent for your dog or cat. They’re an easy way to provide him with quick nourishment, support the healing process, and give him an extra boost during strenuous activities. Each of the broths featured in this article is easy to make and store in the freezer. They also make excellent meal toppers. The ingredient choices for bone booster broths are almost endless, but do try to use organic, free-range or pastured meats with no antibiotics or hormones – from chicken and duck to goose, turkey or beef. You can even add chicken or sheep liver to help support liver health.
In short, bone booster broths are health tonics we can all share!
Poultry or beef bone booster broth
- 1 to 2 pounds chicken or turkey bones OR
- 2 large beef marrow or knuckle bones
- 2 cloves garlic (optional)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (not white
vinegar) or juice from ½ lemon
- Filtered water
- ½ cup fresh parsley (flat or curly)
Choose organic ingredients whenever possible. Place the bones, vinegar or lemon juice, and garlic in a large soup pot, crockpot or other slow cooker. Cover with filtered water. Bring to a boil, skimming the “particulates” and foam that rise to the top, then turn down the heat to a low simmer. Leave the bones to simmer all day or night. Add the parsley just a few minutes before you drain the broth from the bones. Discard the bones, but keep all the meat and cartilage as a great meal topper for your dog or cat.
For extra tasty beef broth, brown the beef bones before adding them to your stock pot by putting them in a roasting pan and baking them in a preheated 425°F oven for 40 minutes.
Broth can be stored in glass jars in the fridge for up to one week, or frozen in containers. Stock up on ice cube-sized portions too; these can be transferred to freezer bags and stored for six months.
Mushroom bone broth
- 24 cups filtered water
- 3 pounds chicken necks and backs
- 2 carrots, in pieces
- 2 celery stalks, in pieces
- 3 shiitake mushrooms, dried or fresh
- 2 garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 piece fresh ginger
- 12 peppercorns
- 1 to 2 tablespoons kosher salt or sea salt, to taste
- Handful fresh parsley, flat or curly
- Chicken feet, for extra gelatin
- Other fresh herbs to taste – e.g. thyme, oregano, sage, marjoram
- 1 piece of turmeric or ½ teaspoon powdered turmeric
Choose organic ingredients whenever possible. Put all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a rolling boil, skim off the foam, turn the heat down to simmer, and leave the pot to sit and stew all day. Refrigerate overnight. Next morning, skim off the fat, remove the meat and vegetables, strain the stock into storage containers and freeze. This will give you a nutrient-dense broth to add to any recipe, including biscuits and treats, or as a topper for regular meals.
- 2 pounds fish bones, including heads, tails, and the trimmings after cleaning
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups filtered water
- Herbs can also be added, including flat or curly parsley
Choose organic ingredients whenever possible. Put all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a low simmer for one hour. Then remove the pot from the stove and strain out the bones, using a very fine sieve or cheesecloth pulled tightly over a clean pot. Press with the back of a ladle or wooden spoon to remove all liquid.
Once you have your broth, you can add a variety of vegetables, like carrots and celery, fennel or parsnips. Potatoes are a great addition too.
For a very simple broth, visit an organic butcher for chicken and pork bones. Place bones on a cutting board and very carefully crush them with a mallet or hammer. Place in a sauce pot, and cover with filtered water and lots of fresh ginger. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and leave to bubble away for one hour. Sieve, cool and serve.
Healthy broth additions
• Kombu kelp is the largest of the sea vegetables. It is a meaty high protein seaweed that supports liver, stomach and kidney function. Kombu contains iodine, carotenes, vitamins B, C, D and E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, iron and zinc, and is higher in natural mineral salts than most other seaweeds. Kombu also contains glutamine and fucoidan, a complex polysaccharide. In Japan, studies have shown that when fucoidan is administered to cancer cells in a Petri dish, the cells are destroyed within 72 hours through a self-induced process called “apotosis”. Simply soak dried Kombu pieces in filtered water until they are soft. Drain and cut into small pieces, filling ½ to 1 cup, and add to your bone broths.
• Parsley improves digestion and is beneficial for kidney and urinary tract ailments. It contains vitamin C, pro-vitamin A, calcium, chlorophyll, iron and magnesium.
• Shiitake mushrooms have a long and storied history, going back over 1,000 years to ancient China, where they were considered a symbol of longevity. They contain an active compound called lentinan, a beta-glucan that supports the immune system and helps fight infection. Beta-glucan has also been shown to have anti-cancer activity.
• Turmeric has been used for health and healing as far back as 250BC, when it was cited in a Sanskrit medical treatise used in Ayurvedic and Unami medical systems as an ingredient to combat food poisoning. Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. It contains the active compound, curcumin, a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E that provides essential disease-fighting compounds that protect the body by neutralizing free radicals.
• Garlic is a controversial ingredient with some, but a dog would need to consume a full container of spilled garlic, or two whole bulbs, in order to develop the toxicity seen with the ingestion of onions. Holistic veterinarians all over the world encourage the feeding of garlic because of its many nutritional and medicinal benefits. Garlic contains potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamins A, B1 and C, calcium, manganese, copper and iron. It has been found to have antimicrobial properties, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi. Garlic helps to stabilize blood pressure and supports the immune system.
Suzi Beber has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College. The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is also the recipient of the “Pets + Us” Community Outreach Champion Award.