What Makes The Best Bone Broth?

by Alpine Fit PT, Detox and cleansing, Nutrition

I love bone broth, but the truth is not all broths carry equal benefits.

And, if you’re like me you’re curious which broth is going to be the best for you, beyond all the hype and opinions.

So, lucky for you a selfish motivation to support my own health drove me to discover “What makes the best bone broth?”

As the leader of a bi-annual bone broth cleanse the benefits of broth –  youthful joints, supple skin, and a non-leaking gut – are well known to me.

And, I’m well aware of the medicinal benefits of drinking a vitamin and mineral rich broth brimming with glycerin and immune-supportive bone marrow.

But, with all of the options ranging from shelf stable store bought brands to home-simmered broth with locally sourced bones my obsession’s become making, procuring and recommending the best broth possible to my clients, fellow-cleansers, and you.

So what makes the best bone broth?

As I write this bone broth bubbles in my kitchen becoming a healing elixir for my joints and digestive lining.

This home-style broth with locally sourced bones is the best. I explain more below how this gets to be top pick, but first bone broth goodness at glance…

This is a range of broth goodness starting with best.

  1. Homemade bone broth with the best ingredients
  2. Fresh, locally made store bought broth with the best ingredients
  3. Shelf stable broths with good ingredients
  4. Bone broth powders from reputable sources
  5. Shelf stable broths with fair ingredients

Up Your Broth Game

The Home Version:

Let’s cut to the chase, the very best bone broth is the broth you make at home with the best ingredients possible. If you make it with the right ingredients the taste of homemade bone broth outranks that of any store-bought brand.

And, since it’s made without the short cuts and additives homemade bone broth has higher medicinal benefits. Also, making bone broth at home is significantly less expensive.

If you’re committed to making bone broth at home the next step is finding the best bones, vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Here are some tips for selecting the best types of bones:

  • For beef broth use knuckles, joints, feet, and marrow bones.
  • Bones like oxtail, shank, and short ribs are great for flavor.
  • Poultry carcasses make a great base.
  • Neck bones add flavor and collagen.
  • Pig feet increase collagen without affecting the broth flavor.
  • The wings and feet of chicken are high in gelatin.
  • Fish bone broth is made from the fish head which is abundant in iodine and supports the thyroid.
  • For fish broth choose non-oily fish.

Where to get bones:

  • If you’re making bone broth for its health benefits, it’s essential to start with bones from healthy animals. This means organic, grass-fed and grass finished bones. Starting with good bones will increase both the flavor and nutritional profile of your broth.
  • If you’re already eating high quality meat at home store the leftover bones in the freezer.
  • Meet your local butcher and request grass-fed bones.
  • To locate a local option use eatWILD’s directory of farms and ranches.
  • Call over to your local health food store and ask for soup bones.
  • Order online through U.S. Wellness Meats or Vital Choice.

Selecting your vegetables, herbs, and spices:

  • Since the main source of minerals in the broth is actually from the vegetables, herbs, and spices make sure you’re choosing organic.

Best Practices:

  • The best bone broth is made by slowly simmering bones and joints in water Hours of slow simmering at low temperature allows the collagen and minerals to dissolve giving  bone broth both flavor and nutritional complexity.
  • Pressure cooking, which is hot, fast and under pressure, can also replicate the slow-cooked flavor of real bone broth and still yield a high amount of gelatin.
  • Use apple cider vinegar to your stock. This aids in the extraction of minerals from the bones.
  • Roast your bones beforehand. This adds to both the color and flavor. Roast  large beef bones for about an hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add feet, especially collagen rich chicken feet for more gelatin.

Locally Made Store-Bought Bone Broth:

While homemade bone broth is superior, there’s something to be said for the ease and convenience of store bought.

And, when you purchase from a local purveyor that practices good sourcing practices and uses preferred cooking methods by producing in small batches you almost can’t go wrong.

Here’s the thing, though. You need to ask the 4 most important questions.

  1. Where were the bones sourced?
  2. Are the beef bones from grass or grain fed animals? Are the chicken bones from free range organic chickens?
  3. Does the broth contain any processed foods, additives, or flavor enhancers in the broth?
  4. How long do you simmer your bones for? (Chicken broth should be simmered at least 8 hours and beef bone broth at least 12).

Shelf-Stable Store-Bought Bone Broth:

A notch down from locally produced high quality broth is high quality shelf stable broth from a health foods store. Here is what to look for.

  • Choose a bone broth with at least 10 grams of protein per 8-ounce (1 cup) serving. A high protein content is a sign of good quality bone broth that has been simmered for several hours and with a good ratio of water to bones.
  • Select a bone broth with known ingredients that you would find at home like bones, veggies, herbs, spices and an acid such as lactic acid.
  • Avoid broths with fillers and additives such as sugar, hydrolyzed proteins, disodium inosinate, yeast extract and maltodextrin. These ingredients indicate that the manufacturer has cut corners and uses additives to enhance flavor. The nutrition, however, will not be nearly as good.

Brands I Recommend:

  1. Kettle and Fire – offers shelf-stable, long-simmered bone broths made from grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and organic vegetables, herbs and spices.
  2. Epic Bone Broth – Epic makes their broth by slowly simmering bones, vegetables, herbs and spices over an extended period of time. Epic is committed to animal welfare wherein animals (beef, bison, lamb etc) are grass-fed with an emphasis on holistic management.
  3. Bare Bones Broth – Their bone broth is made from pasture-raised chickens and grass-fed beef bones simmering about 24 hours to produce a flavorful, protein-rich bone broth.
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