By Sam Padgett
If you’ve been paying attention to local restaurant menus, coffee cart offerings and foodie magazines, odds are good that you’ve heard of bone broth. And while it sounds a bit ghoulish, bone broth is essentially what most people call “stock”: a thick, flavored broth made by boiling animal bones alongside other spices.
But it’s not to be confused with regular broth, which is thinner and made by simmering meat (instead of meat-stripped bones) for a shorter period of time.
According to Janet Wolfe, the owner and head herbalist at The Elderberry apothecary shop here in town, bone broth has long been a traditional culinary staple across the globe. She claims that it aids in recovery from illness and helps with a variety of conditions, including problems with digestion, joints and the immune system. In typical health product fashion, the list of bone broth’s supposed benefits is dubiously lengthy, but when compared to alternative methods of creating stock, like bouillon cubes, bone broth is ostensibly more nutritious. And if you’ve ever eaten pho or any sort of homemade soup, you probably didn’t realize you were slurping up a potential panacea.
Local chef and Charlottesville Cooking School instructor Tom Whitehead has been using bone broth in his cooking since day one. Attracted by its simplicity and flavor, he has been making it for years. “But it is a recent phenomenon,” Whitehead says of the healthy soup. “I noticed it when I saw the price for bones going up in local markets.”
Regardless of the hype surrounding bone broth, it remains a good way to be more resourceful with your food: using animal bones that would be otherwise thrown out to make stock, and thus bypassing a TetraPak or aluminum can full of broth on a grocery store shelf. It’s a cooking technique worth boning up on.
Make it easy
Bone broth is simple to make. Animal bones, along with some vinegar and a combination of vegetables, herbs and seasonings (think onions, celery, thyme, pepper) are added to a boiling pot of water and left to simmer for…a while. Chicken bones, one of the more common bone broth bases, generally need around eight hours to sufficiently leach their flavor into the stock, while meatier bones such as beef, lamb and pork take longer (upward of 10 hours).
NO BONES ABOUT THESE BENEFITS
According to the folks at The Elderberry apothecary shop, the health benefits of bone broth area numerous. Here are five reasons to start sipping:
1. Diet and weight loss: Bone broth has several amino acids that boost metabolism and improve antioxidant efficiency.
2. Digestion and leaky gut: Collagen and gelatin (both found in the brown stuff) are vital proteins that repair the GI tract.
3. Arthritis and joint pain: The glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and gelatin in bone broth support joint flexibility and cartilage restoration.
4. Inflammation and anti-aging: The broth is reported to reduce inflammation, which eliminates chronic joint pain and boosts cell rejuvenation.
5. Energy and recovery: The amino acids in bone broth boost energy levels and support growth hormone production.
If you aren’t ready to make it yourself, you can pick up the already made stuff at:
• Feast! mobile coffee cart
• The Elderberry apothecary shop
• Charlottesville Cooking Shop Mama Meals delivery service