Ingredient Spotlight: Bone Broth.

Bone Broth | The Fig's Heart.

Bone broth is the ultimate cure-all remedy. It’s simple to make, delicious, and one of the oldest, most affordable homemade foods. I finally got around to making my first batch of bone broth and I am so happy that I did. This may seem a little out of character as I’m not a big meat eater. I’m mostly a fish and very occasional chicken eater. So where did the bone broth idea came from? I picked up a copy of the Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook a few months back and bone broth is one of their must-have-at-all-times staples for the kitchen. “Nutrient rich bone broth is at the heart of what we do.” I really admire the Hemsley sisters approach to eating and after reading about all the healing properties and digestive powers of bone broth, I decided it was worth a try. I picked up some organic/hormone-free chicken bones from the local butcher and boiled them for 12 hours (full recipe below).

Bone broth is definitely starting to gain popularity in the health and wellness world. It can be used to replace water in any recipe. Mainly to cook rice, soup, gravy, sauces, etc. It has a rich and soothing flavour. I was really surprised how delicious it was just on it’s own. In my opinion the greatest use is to drink it on it’s own (as an afternoon pick-me-up or a calming bedtime tea). Heat it up and fill your favourite mug, add a pinch of fresh ginger and a squeeze of lemon, you’ll be able to take on the world! It’s amazing how quickly this can make you feel better when you’re sick. The list of beneficial properties from bone broth is long. Really long. I’m going to highlight a few benefits to give you an idea of how healing it is and hopefully it will encourage you to try it.

First off, if you need help healing a damaged gut lining, you need large amounts of easily digestible substances like amino acids, gelatin, glucosamine, fats, vitamins and minerals (all found in bone broth). The digestive aid that bone broth provides is one of the main reasons I decided to try it. It’s also the reason I will continue to make it. If you struggle with digestive issues, this will make life a happy place for you. A good broth is also rich in gelatin (a source of protein that helps counter the degeneration of joints) and collagen (which improves the condition of skin). That’s right, bone broth helps promote joint movement and plump, glowing skin! Score. I was sick with a pretty bad cold last week and after a big bowl of bone broth I felt stronger and more mentally clear.

Bone Broth | The Fig's Heart.

Bone Broth (makes approx. 4 litres)
Recipe via Hemsley + Hemsley.

2–3 kg chicken carcasses, beef bones, or lamb bones (organic/hormone-free – you can find these at your local butcher or use the bones from a home-made roast)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
2 handfuls of any onions, leeks, carrots or celery ends
1 tbsp black peppercorns
3 dried bay leaves
optional: rosemary, ginger root, fresh parsley, etc.

– Place the bones and any other ingredients you chose to use into a large stainless steel or ceramic cooking pot and cover with cold water. The water level should cover the bones by at least 5 cm whilst still leaving room at the top of the pan.

– Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, lid on, for at least 6 hours for chicken and 12 for beef or lamb, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. The longer the bones simmer, the more nutrients are released. We like to boil the chicken carcass for up to 12 hours until the bones begin to crumble and keep beef bones going for 24 hours until they look as if they were washed up on a beach.

– Strain the liquid, using a fine mesh strainer for poultry. Use immediately or leave to cool before storing (preferably in glass/ceramic rather than plastic). Once chilled, you have the option of skimming some of the excess fat off the top (as it will raise and harden to form a layer on top of the broth). Bone broth will keep in the fridge for several days. [Freeze it in batches for use during the week – use glass containers and leave a few centimetres at the top for expansion. Small portions are great for cooking up quinoa or braising vegetables and larger containers are great for making batches of soups, curries and stews.]

What do you think? Have you tried bone broth? Would you trade in your afternoon coffee for it? New York now has a walk-up window serving bone broth in paper coffee cups. Pretty soon we’ll be saying “meet you at Starbucks the broth shop in an hour” to our friends. I can’t wait for that day!

PS. My last ingredient spotlight was: Matcha Tea.