Packaged Bone Broth: The Real Deal or All Hype?
PACKED BONE BROTH – THE REAL DEAL OR ALL HYPE?
In case you missed it, bone broth is the latest health craze. But bone broth is actually nothing new! in fact, it is a very traditional food and probably even a prehistoric food. Traditional or home-made bone broth is made simply by simmering the bones of an animal ( chicken, beef or even fish) for 24- 48 hours with apple cider vinegar in water along with whatever vegetables one might have on hand. See our simple recipe here. Note that bone broth cooks quite a bit longer than a typical stock or broth that is cooked for less time and used solely for flavoring purposes. Adding apple cider vinegar helps to leach healing amino acids from the bones of the animal while slow simmering the bones for an extended period of time ensures the release of collagen and gelatin components from the bones of the animal as well. Glutamine is among many of the amino acids found in bone broth and is known for its dramatic gut healing and immune supporting benefits. It has been shown to fuel cells along the GI tract and also act as a building block to help treat or prevent “leaky gut”.
Glutamine is also useful in taming sugar cravings! Many find they are able to kick an afternoon sweet tooth craving by sipping a cup of bone broth in the afternoon or evening time when cravings sneak up! Homemade or traditional bone broth is also an excellent source of glycine, which can promote restful sleep and especially for those who wake frequently at night, as it prevents sleep fragmentation. Uses for bone broth include using it as a base for a soup or sipping it as a beverage. Bone broth should keep about a week in the refrigerator but can be kept frozen for up to 6 months! You might find it useful to freeze your excess bone broth in jars to save for sipping on at a later date or when you feel your are coming down with a cold. Another use is freezing extra bone broth into ice cube trays to use in small amounts later for stir frying vegetables.
IS STORE-BOUGHT THERAPEUTIC?
As leaky gut and bone broth begin to become more trendy, we as consumers can be targets of false advertising or misleading product labels. With the increased demand of such a nourishing food, many often want to know if there is a readily available or store bought option to save time and make bone broth more accessible. Kettle & Fire and Pacific Brand make shelf stable “bone broth” available for purchase online or at select grocery stores, but chances are this is not the same type of bone broth you get when you make your own batch at home!
Starting with the positives – both Pacific and Kettle and Fire brands have very clean ingredients. In fact, both brands hardly add anything else into the broth other than apple cider vinegar and fresh herbs for flavoring and natural preservation. Typical broth or stocks found at the grocery store will often contain preservatives and flavors such as MSG. Kettle & Fire Bone broth claims to use only pasture-raised and hormone and antibiotic free beef bones for their broth, which is a definite positive! Pacific brand makes a similar promise on their website that they use pasture raised poultry that is only fed organic Non-GMO food. One main difference between these two shelf stable brands is that Kettle & Fire promises to simmer their bones for at least 24 hours while Pacific reports only 12 hours. A major downside to shelf stable bone broth is that it will not contain gelatin, as it is a thin and non-gelatinous liquid. Gelatin is one of the major therapeutic components of homemade bone broth that aids in immune health as well as the prevention of muscle loss and the promotion of joint health, skin health and the prevention of skin aging.
There are always good, better and best options especially when it comes to making food related choices. While the Pacific and Kettle Fire Brands both come from clean and well-sourced animals and also contain clean ingredients, they do not contain all of the components of a traditional, homemade and perishable bone broth. However, these shelf stable products can still be a useful substitute to have on hand when real bone broth is not available!
Short on time but want the real deal when it comes to bone broth? Bonafide Provisions makes an all natural bone broth using organic and pasture raised ingredients and slow cooks the broth for 48 hours and is shipped frozen. Wellness Meats and Pete’s Paleo are other online retailers that ship homemade bone broth as well. If you live here in the local Houston area; Revival Market, a butcher shop in the heights, also makes bone broth but you must call to order or inquire for it, as it is not available on the shelf. You can also find something called “Wonderstock” at a local indian restaurant called Pondicherri which is a frozen broth made with bones from local pasture raised animals; ingredients change from batch to batch so be sure to check the ingredient list!
If you do a bit of traveling, do your research! Most large cities will have “bone brotheries” or butcher shops where you can purchase a cup of bone broth like you would a cup of coffee. Be sure to inquire about the sourcing of their bones and the mechanism of how they prepare their broth and for how long they cook it for.
Another option (especially in the warmer months when making hot broth has less appeal) is to make a quick refreshing gelatin as a therapeutic snack. Comprised of the amino acids glycine and proline, you’ll receive similar healing benefits of bone broth. Check out our recipe for Blueberry Ginger Jiggler here.