Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The winter of bone broth

I am all about n=1 experiments. In other words, yeah, I collect a ton of advice from folks like Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Liz Wolfe, Jason Seib, etc., but, when it comes down to it, I chart my own path through the paleo/primal world by trying things out and seeing how they work for me.

So this winter became the time to start *seriously* experimenting with bone broth. The benefits of regular, daily consumption of homemade broth are pretty indisputable. You could go here if you want to read a longer piece on all it can do for you. 

All those positive effects are beautiful, but I was most interested, in the midst of the cold-and-flu season, in bolstering my immune system from the ravages of the filthy, filthy world. 

However, alas, I am lazy in the kitchen. So previous broth-y experimentation had been derailed by simple issues like: (1) "How do I store all this?" and (2) "I made so much that it'll go bad if I keep it in the fridge, so, now I have to freeze it."

My old method of addressing these two "problems" (which are really kind of the same problem, I know) was to store it in ice-cube trays in the freezer. I read this somewhere as a helpful hint. <Cue soothing, yet uplifting musical tones, and perhaps bring in Mr. Rogers to say: "If you store your broth in the freezer in ice-cube trays, it won't go bad, and you just pop out a few cubes each morning into a mug and heat it up, neighbor!">

I found the whole ice-cube-tray thing to be spectacularly annoying. There's a photo of me in the Oxford English Dictionary (photo version) ladling tiny amounts of broth into individual segments of ice-cube trays next to two entries: "Stupid" and "Sucks."

I didn't like it at all. And the fact of the matter is that when I don't like something in the kitchen, my internal verve to do said thing is going to be mighty small mighty quickly.

And then I recalled the words of Robb Wolf: "Some people call it bone broth. I just call it soup."

And this made me wonder: why the hell am I using ice-cube-sized portions of broth? You can't OD on soup, for crying out loud. So I said to myself, "Self, why don't you buy some man-sized containers, and just store this stuff in the fridge? That way you can drink a mug of it every day, not just three ice cubes' worth. And, self, you will never *ever* have to freeze it."

I occasionally make good sense with myself.

Furthering the laziness, I decided to opt for "easy" ingredients that would probably lack some of the flavor of the more fancypantsed recipes, like that one I linked to a few paragraphs ago, but which would lack none of the immune-boosting whap-a-dang that I was looking for. (It's possible that "whap-a-dang" has not yet made the current edition of the OED).

This is how easy it is to make bone broth my way:


-- a bone or two from a grassfed cow. Bonus points for joint bones.
--a crockpot full of water
--two tablespoons of apple-cider vinegar (helps get the minerals out of the bones into the broth)

Combine all that stuff (garlic, salt and pepper amounts are up to you) in the crockpot. Heat it to a boil and then cook on low for 24 hours.

Yes, 24 hours.

Strain out all the goop and bones. Store in the man-sized containers in the fridge. Drink a mug of it every day, and, yes, drink the fatty film that forms on top… it melts when you reheat the broth before drinking it, and it has spectacular good-for-you fat in it because it is from a grassfed cow.

It's like deadlifting for your immune system. Get going on that.

1 comment:

  1. Going to have to try this, now, where to find a grass fed cow bone? Hmmm?