Bones have always been on the human diet because they were known to be very nutritious. Already our ancestors broke open animal bones and ate the bone marrow, which supposedly contains many healthy substances.
Or the bones were cooked for hours to an aromatic bone broth. During the cooking process, the bones release their minerals and fat to the broth. Find out more in this article:
- Make your own broth with bone – prevents waste
- It’s in the bones
- Buy bones – but where?
- What is the best bone quality
- What bones do you put in the broth?
1. Make your own broth with bones – prevents waste
It wasn’t long ago that it was customary in every household to cook the basic soups and stews not from meat, but from bones and other animal parts. By-products from the slaughtering process, which are otherwise used rather little in the kitchen. First and foremost: the bones.
In the 1960s, the senseless waste of edible food began. In the industrial nations, people now lived in abundance: more than enough food was available at all times and everywhere. And so people started throwing away superfluous things. A tremendous waste that has not improved to this day. Even the United Nations is intervening and has declared the goal of halving food waste by 2030.
So cooking broth from bone has many advantages. Bones are mostly thrown away as slaughter “waste”, as they are otherwise hardly used in the kitchen. And with an average meat consumption of around 63 kilos per capita and year, there are enough bones left over anyway. Did you know that 48 kilos of bones are needed for a single cattle that is ready for slaughter? Consuming bone broth therefore also means: more esteem for food and the slaughtered animal.
2. It’s in the bones.
Raw bones are packed with valuable nutrients. After the teeth, they are the second hardest material in the body. Therefore, a well-prepared bone broth is the best way to absorb all the strength of the bones in you. But what is actually in the bones?
Bones consist of 30 % collagen, the most important connective tissue protein in our body. Skin, organs, bones – collagen sits everywhere and makes the body elastic and resistant.
That’s good to know: If you want to make your own broth, collagen needs at least 90 minutes of cooking time to come out of the bone. If collagen is released during cooking, gelatine is formed. You can tell by the jelly-like consistency of your broth when it cools down. This gelatine provides many non-essential amino acids: proline, glycine, glutamine and arginine. And these are exactly the building blocks your body needs for healthy joints, skin and bones. The body can also produce these non-essential amino acids itself. However, if your body is stressed because it has to eliminate toxins or heal wounds, it may not be able to meet the demand for these amino acids itself. It is therefore advisable to include food containing collagen in your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids
The rich substance inside the bones is the bone marrow, which seems to be very rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids when it comes from grazing animals fed in an appropriate manner. It has the consistency of butter with a fine meat taste. Bone marrow is a pure, healthy fat that passes into the broth when cooked. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for ensuring a healthy intestine, immune system and brain development. Alternatively, you can make delicious marrow dumplings from bone marrow.
What sounds bulky is certainly familiar to you from anti-aging cosmetics: Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) conceal hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulphate, among other things. GAG are required for the formation of new connective tissue. These substances are found everywhere in the body where bones, cartilage and connective tissue are. They also act as a moisture film on the skin and intestines because they bind water. To enrich your broth sufficiently with GAG, it is best to use cartilaginous bones such as chicken feet or beef ankles.
One substance that is also known to be found in bones is calcium. In order to release calcium from the bone, most recipes for bone broth contain a form of acid (mostly apple vinegar). It is for certain, that the acid releases calcium from the bones and so you can use bone broth as a good source of calcium.
Our article Ingredients: What’s in the broth? will tell you more about it.
3. Buying bones – but where?
Where do you get your bones for a nutritious broth? The best and freshest bones are rarely found in the supermarket. And if you do, then only on request at the meat counter. As a rule, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the butcher’s, poultry farmer’s or hunter’s premises. These small retailers often advise you very competently and you can be sure to get the best bones. Often you will have to make very targeted purchases and even pre-order your bones. Cattle and pig bones are usually not so difficult, but if you want bones from calves, poultry, lamb or hunt, you will often not find them in the butcher’s shop display.
You want to make a healthy, nutritious, invigorating broth yourself that provides you with valuable nutrients. Therefore you should keep your eyes open when buying bones and buy real quality goods. The quality of the bones is decisive for the health value of the finished broth. And that is why it is also worthwhile to use an organic product for bones. Animals kept in a species-appropriate manner are only given medication if they are really ill, and fattening aids such as hormones are taboo on organic farms. You can get bones from such farms in organic markets or farm shops. Some of these companies also send their goods online and/or indicate sources of supply for their products. Details about a healthy broth can be found in the article Quality: What is the best broth?
4. What is the best bone quality?
But: organic does not automatically mean grazing. The difference is in the feeding. Cattle that are fed organic grain or maize instead of grass are simply given the wrong feed. Their digestive system isn’t designed to do that. As a result, they are malnourished and undersupplied with vitamins and minerals. Since grazing land is scarce and expensive, conventional agriculture often feeds on maize. However, there are purely economic reasons for this, which put the health of consumers and animals at the back of the list. Therefore, reach for bones from animals kept in an appropriate manner.
The same applies to poultry. The best choice are free-range chickens from organic farming. The feed for such chickens must not contain more than 0,9 % genetically modified substances and at least 95 % of the ingredients must be organically grown.The ground on which the chickens stand must not be treated with artificial fertilisers or pesticides. So none of it can end up in your food.
For a healthy fish broth, it is best to use fish caught in the wild. Here, too, ethical reasons come into play: farmed fish from so-called aquacultures swim in very confined spaces in faeces and toxins. The environmental impact is enormous. In the open sea, on the other hand, fish live in their natural habitat.
The advantage, besides all ethical reasons, is obvious: all bad ingredients will not end up on your plate. Therefore, choose free-range poultry from organic farms, grazing animals and sustainably caught wild fish. If you want to make your own broth, ask about the origin and production conditions when you make your purchase. This is not only good for you, but will also gradually bring about a rethink in the industry.
5. What bones do you use in the broth?
To cook an aromatic broth from bones, the corresponding bones of beef, veal, lamb and, more rarely, pork are used. For a poultry broth you cook whole animals, for example a complete soup chicken (also the especially collagen-containing feet and the head).
Bones, cartilage and tendons produce the most aromatic and nutritious broths. Bones from cattle, lamb and pigs are divided into neck bones, joint bones, knuckles, feet and other bones such as rib, shoulder, leg and breast bones. Cattle also have marrow bones. To make an optimal broth yourself, you should use some of these bones. If you add cartilaginous parts such as the neck and oxtail, you get a thicker, more aromatic consistency. Joints are also known to contain a lot of collagen.
Many broths are cooked on the basis of bones of beef or veal. As mentioned above, a basic distinction is made between marrow bones and sand bones. As the name suggests, marrow bones contain valuable bone marrow inside. They are cut from the tubular bones of the leg. In comparison, sand bones do not contain bone marrow. They come from the ball joints and are usually mixed with marrow bones during preparation.
Depending on the consistency you want your broth to reach at the end, you will have to choose different types of bones. Because it depends on how much the broth will gel in the end. If you want your broth to gell stronger, add pieces with more collagen, such as the oxtail. Also the feet and necks let your broth gel beautifully.
Small tip: Do not throw bones of roasted poultry or saddle of lamb into the waste, but put them together with the raw bones into the broth. When making the broth, make sure that all the bones used are free of blood, hair and feathers.
The multiplication tables of bone purchasing
- Buy in the warm season with cool bag. Bones and above all marrow bones are very easily perishable and become even faster bad than fresh meat. If you have longer distances in front of you, it is best to use additional ice packs.
- When you get home, it’s best to put your bones in the fridge immediately and prepare your broth on the same day at best. Otherwise you can freeze the bones without any problems.
- Ask the butcher to chop up the bones for you. Because this requires special tools and since bones are quite unmanageable, DIY shredding can become a dangerous business in your own kitchen.
Now you’re ready to go! You can find tasty recipes around broth in the article The best recipes ideas with broth.
You want to know more and get a general overview about the topic broth? Click here to read the article : BROTH – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Superfood Knochenbrühe – Ariane Resnick
Die magische Knochenbrühe – Constanze von Eschbach