The Handbook
The Handbook

In these strange times when everyone’s a little more mindful about what they’re putting into their bodies and what they’re stocking their fridges with, nutrient-rich, economically sound foods are more appealing than ever before. Which brings us to bone broth, the slow-cooked stock made from boiling bones and veg, that can act as a base to soups, stews, casseroles and braises, or simply drank alone.

Apparently Kylie Jenner drinks a cup of it every day for plump, glowing skin (granted, she has help in other forms) and Queen of Health Fads Gwyneth Paltrow loves it for it’s 360 health benefits. Although it’s quite literally been the health food of choice on many a wellness influencer’s lips in the past few years, but it’s not a fad. We’ve been cooking this stuff up for centuries and it would have been a staple of our grandparents’ generation.

If you lost us at “boiled bones,” it is in fact much tastier than you’d expect. It has a satisfyingly rich, meaty, almost umami flavour about it and it’s delicious hot, poured into a cup (think Grandma’s chicken soup) or used to pimp up everything from risottos to soups. Plus, it’s seriously cheap.

Want to know more? We spoke to two of the UK’s leading bone broth experts, Daylesford Organic and the Borough Broth Co. to learn all about this underrated health hero.

It’s the basis to so many dishes

“Previous generations would have known bone broth as stock – the basis of many nourishing soups, casseroles, braises and countless other wholesome dishes as well as the backbone to any number of cheffy sauces, gravies and jus.

“The reason the term “bone broth” is preferred these days is to differentiate the quality, slow-cooked broths from the mass-market stock cubes, which can be packed with salt, sugar, unsustainable palm oil, artificial flavourings and other rubbish.”

Rhaya Jordan, Daylesford’s resident nutritionist

It takes time

“Making a good bone broth requires little skill but a lot of patience. It is made by slow-cooking good quality bones, organic vegetables and a selection of herbs with water on a low heat for 24-hours. We encourage everyone to make their own and start buying up unwanted bones from their local butcher. We hate to see such a wonderful, untapped resource of nutrition go to waste.”

Ros Heathcote, Founder of Borough Broth Co.

You can use a range of different meats

“We tend to use chicken and beef bones, with onion, celery and leeks as this produces the best quality and flavour as well as getting all of those essential vitamins and nutrients.”

Rhaya Jordan, Daylesford

“Often a mix of chicken, beef and lamb can make a wonderful combination for a home-cooked broth. Lamb and beef bones are fattier and marrow bones are less gelatinous and more flavoursome and fatty. Stock bones with cartilage have more gelatine, which will cause the broth to gel more, which is often the desired outcome. Have a play around with a mix and work out what you like.”

Ros Heathcote, Borough Broth Co.

Top tip: make sure your butcher knows the bones need to be small enough to fit in your pan!

Organic is always best

“We firmly believe that organic is always best. Not just for the fact that when you buy organic, you can be safe in the knowledge that the product is made without the use of chemical pesticides, hormones and antibiotics but it also just means the quality of meat is better and your broth will taste richer for it.”

Ros Heathcote, Borough Broth Co.

It’s nutritional benefits are endless

“Bone broth is known to be rich in vitamins and nutrients including calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. As bone broth is in liquid form, many of these vitamins and nutrients are in a soluble form that can be easier to digest. Adding additional ingredients such as vegetables can provide even more of these essential nutrients and vitamins.

“Many of us are becoming deficient in essential nutrients that support bone health including calcium. By slowly cooking bones in a bone broth, we dissolve the collagen and cartilage of the bones into the broth, and these glycoproteins become the building blocks of our joints, keeping us lubricated and moving freely. These glycoproteins simply cannot be found in vegetables, fruits, pulses, nuts or grains alone, so we recommend including bone broth as part of a healthy and balanced diet.”

Rhaya Jordan, Daylesford

It’s great for healthy nails and hair too

“The gelatin found in bone broth is a great boost for skin, hair and nails. As tissues and bones contain collagen, cooking the collagen turns it into gelatin which provides the body with essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are what support cell renewal, so giving ourselves a boost of these with bone broth can aid regeneration of cells, something our body naturally does less of as we age.”

Rhaya Jordan, Daylesford

Bone broth supports a healthy gut

“We are what we digest, and many of our guts are suffering from poor diets, rushed eating, bad digestion and stress. Over time, this can cause damage to the gut lining. The gelatin in bone broth can bind water in the digestive tract, protecting the lining of your intestines and aiding repair. This combined with a fibre-rich food including fermented foods can help to maintain a healthy, happy gut, which in turn can support immunity.”

Rhaya Jordan, Daylesford

It can help support the immune system

“We certainly don’t see bone broth as a fix-all for immunity but like other nutrient-rich foods, bone broth can certainly help support the functioning of your immune system. Ancient and traditional cultures maintained that a hot mug of bone broth could help soothe the poorly and relieve common colds and there are now studies which are supporting these anecdotal claims, suggesting that the immune system does indeed benefit from the nutrients found in this age-old elixir.”

Ros Heathcote, Borough Broth Co.

From protecting our bones to detoxifying the liver and nourishing the skin, bone broth is an underrated health hero.

Bone broth is as versatile as it is delicous

“Pour it over vegetables for a delicious warming soup, have it in a mug to start or end your day, or use it to make the most of leftovers. For example, if you have leftover chicken or other meat from a roast, heat up the meat before pouring over the warm broth for a delicious leftover-turned-soup which will nourish you from the inside out. Or try adding ingredients such as soy sauce and noodles for an Asian-inspired dish.”

Rhaya Jordan, Daylesford

It’s economical 

“Homemade bone broth is a fresh product so should be refrigerated for no more than 3-4 days. If you’d like to store it longer, freeze it.”

Rhaya Jordan, Daylesford

Bone broth is far superior to shop-bought stock cubes

“If you’re wondering how to incorporate more broth into your diet, then think of it as an organic, slow-cooked stock. Made the traditional way, before brands started taking short cuts with preservatives and MSG. So next time you reach for your store bought stock-cube, think about swapping it for a well-made bone broth. Packed full of natural collagen, protein and with no artificial flavours or preservatives.”

Ros Heathcote, Borough Broth Co.

Borough Broth Co.’s Bone Broth Recipe

​Ingredients* indicates optional ingredients

1kg organic bones (each meat has a different flavour, but all will work, please try to obtain organic bones or at the very least free range and if beef or lamb – grass-fed is also preferable)

2 medium carrots (quartered, skin on)

2 medium onions (red or white, halved, skin on)

* 2 stalks of celery (quartered)

1-1.5 Litres filtered water (spring water is even better)

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (with the mother)

2 springs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 tsp himalayan/sea salt

1 tsp organic black peppercorns

Method

If you plan to roast your bones preheat the oven at 200/180 (fan). Distribute the bones evenly across one or two roasting tins.

Roast the bones for no more than 30 minutes. You want the outside of the bones to be browned but you don’t want the bones to beef fully roasted throughout as you want the marrow to be kept in tact prior to cooking in water.

Place the chopped vegetables in the slow cooker/large saucepan.

Scatter the herbs, seasoning and apple cider vinegar and place the raw or roasted bones into the pan. Try to ensure the bones are not sticking out higher then the lip of the pan so a lid can fit on comfortably.

Top up the pan with water. Try to ensure the contents are just covered with water. So I estimate around 1-1.5 litres should do it.

Turn up the heat until the broth is boiling. Let it boil for around 5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. On a slow cooker this is easy, but on a hob I’d select the smallest burner/hob ring and turn the heat way down so it’s barely simmering. You can often see but try to make a not of where the water line hits so you can see how much it’s reducing by.

Put the lid on and leave it. Check after 3 hours initially to see how much the liquid is reducing. If it’s reduced by more than 1/8 it’s still too hot. You will get a handle on this once you’ve done it a couple of times. But on the flip side make sure the pot is still hot. The broth should be too hot to drink from the pan immediately. If you have a thermometer you want it at about 80-85 degrees for the long haul.

Every few hours and before straining use a slotted spoon to skim any scum from the top.

For Fish broth, 6-8 hours should suffice, Chicken 12-24 hours, Beef 24-48 hours. If you can achieve the maximum cooking time the I’d recommend you do so you get the very most out of them. Some people also like to reuse their bones. I only ever cook them once, but you might find you can get some more yield out of them, but have a play around.

Once ready, find a large, clean vessel to strain the broth into. Use a fine mesh strainer pour the broth into the vessel and allow to cool for around an hour.

There will be a layer of fat on the top, and depending on the meat and type of bone, the fat content will vary. You can either allow the fat to settle to the top, and separate it with a spoon into another vessel (it will be visibly clearer than the rest of the broth underneath). Whatever you do don’t throw the fat away! It’s a brilliant fat to use for cooking. If you want to chill the broth with the fat all together. It actually seals the broth nicely making it last that bit longer.

Make sure the vessel is suitable for fridge/freezer storage. The broth will last up to 6 months in the freezer or 7 days in the fridge. To extend the life of the broth you can always bring it to a quick boil and chill again if you want to add another couple of days on.

I’d recommend drinking the broth with the fat removed, or even better just use it in cooking. We have plenty of recipe suggestions on the blog here.

For more information or to shop good quality bone broths online visit the links below

www.daylesford.com

www.boroughbroth.co.uk

 


Want to receive more great articles like this every day: sign up here