You all know about the photography, but my background is originally biochemistry.   I'm really into food, nutrition, and that sort of thing.  So here's an installment in what may become a series.  Actually, these articles are going to serve as my own notebook of recipes and such, but hopefully you'll find them useful too.

Broth or soup made from beef bones (a.k.a. "beef bone broth") is often eaten as a digestive remedy.   One reason is that bone broth is high in the amino acid glutamine, not to be confused with glutamate (i.e., glutamic acid).  According to a study by Hering and Shulzke in Digestive Diseases, (27(4):450-4 (2009)),  "glutamine... is an important metabolic fuel for enterocytes and has been shown to preserve [gut] barrier functions in laboratory models."  I remember reading another study that showed glutamine prevented bacterial translocation, which basically means it kept them from crossing the gut barrier and leading to infection.   Something that preserves the gut barrier is good, because there are a lot of really bad things that can occur if that barrier starts to leak.  It could be that many people have the beginnings of leaky gut and they don't even know it, because maybe they've been hitting the cheap baked goods with their burden of cheap baking powder and its Al3+.  (A number of other things are also contributing to leaky gut, and I'll probably write more about that in another article.)

So, a lot of people are discovering beef bone broth.  Now, all that glutamine in bone broth sounds great, but I might add that wheat gluten also contains quite a bit of glutamine!  To some people, the word "gluten" just about inspires loathing.  (Some really are intolerant / allergic to it, though.)  However, the more I study this stuff, the more I realize that every food has trade-offs and potential problems.  With wheat, it's wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) and reactions to the gliadin (part of gluten).  (I talk about how to deal with these in my pizza book, where you can also learn to make great pizza at home.)  With beef it's peroxidized fats, deforestation, etc.  Any other food I can think of has trade-offs and limitations, too. 

As the saying goes, "Everything in moderation".  A balanced diet has a lot of benefits, and meat broths can be a healthy part of that.  (Disclaimer.)

There are a couple of good sites (such as this one) that talk about how to make beef bone broth.  Here's how I made mine.

1.)  Get some beef bones and put them in a stainless stock pot.  (If you don't have a stock pot, this one is a good choice).  If you can get "beef knuckles" that's great, and soup bones are good to add, as well, but I made my broth with straight marrow bones.  I didn't weigh them, but I think this was a couple pounds.  (I know that's kind of sloppy for a science guy, not weighing the starting materials.....)  Mom-in-law picked up a bag of these at the store when she was visiting.  Marrow bones are supposed to be high in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), but of course CLA can peroxidize from cooking.  In soup it's not as bad as you'd get with frying, though.

2.)  Cover these with water and simmer.   This part takes at least twelve to twenty-four hours, so make sure (A.) you don't let the water boil away, and (B.) you check on the stove periodically.  Use a timer to remind you if necessary.  As liquid boils away it gets easier and easier to boil away faster, because there's less of it to soak up the heat.... so don't forget to add water as needed.  For best results, I wouldn't actually boil the water.  Just simmer it.  I think I kept it set at Medium-Low the whole time.

3.)   After the marrow starts to cook out of the bones and float around in the broth, toss in some scraps of carrot, onion, and maybe celery.  Throw in a few peppercorns and a couple of Turkish bay leaves if you've got them.  Let it simmer for a few more hours at least.  I'm not a huge fan of regular (Cremini) mushrooms, but if you like them, toss in a few of those too. Actually, mushroom flavor goes well with beef for some reason.

4.)  Strain the hot broth into clean food jars and store it in the fridge.   When it cools, skim off the fat.  With regular marrow bones you won't get gelatin, so the broth will not gel up when it's cold.  It's still nutritious, though.  (If you want gelatinized broth, use beef knuckle bones.)  Just note that if you're after CLA, most of the CLA is going to be in that fat layer.  (Looking at that solidified layer, I still can't fully get past "don't eat that", but my concern is primarily peroxidation, not saturated fat.)

5.)  Sweat some onions in a small pot on the stove.  I like to use coconut oil to minimize lipid peroxidation, because coconut oil is mostly saturated fat (i.e., no double bonds).  (In another article maybe I'll talk about how my cholesterol went down since I started using coconut oil!)  A small amount of saturated fat is a lot safer than a small amount of peroxidized fat.  When you sweat the onions, throw in some marjoram and savory.  Don't heat to the smoke point.  Just heat enough to bring out some flavor in the onions and herbs.  The really good-tasting dried herbs get a lot of their flavor from terpenes, which are more soluble in oil than water.

6.)  Blend up the onions to a liquid or puree.  I like to use one of those small blender jars.  The glass ones by Oster are my favorite, but I'm not sure they make them anymore.  I like 'em so much that if I didn't have one or two, I'd be going on the 'bay and picking up some.  Just know that you have to inspect your glass before and after each use to make sure you haven't chipped it, but this is no big deal, and people were using glass for many years before "everything" went plastic.   To me, those plastic ones they make nowadays are just not the same.  Another way to get glass blender jars is to buy yourself a few Ball regular-mouth pint canning jars.  Don't use the half-pint ones, because the tapered sides are too close to the whirling blades and may chip when you're blending (not good, obviously).  The pint ones flare out and leave plenty of room.  The standard-mouth Ball jars fit a standard Oster blender thread.

I still like those glass "Mini-Blend" jars though...

7.)  Thinly slice some carrots.  Dice up some peeled Yukon Gold potatoes.  Add the potatoes and carrots to the broth, together with your blended-up onions.  Throw in some cutting celery (grow it from seed, available here... makes a nice window plant).  Simmer the broth for a few more hours.  In the picture you can see I added another bay leaf, too.  Now it's looking tasty, and it is.   (There was a bit of competition over who was going to get to eat up the last of this soup.....)

Now look at that.  Why'd I have to go and make myself hungry at night with pictures of food.

Many people like to add vegetable juice to give the broth a tomato base.  They also add beef boullion, which I rarely do, mainly because I like to make foods "from scratch" to as much an extent as I can.  Also, most boullion has added MSG.

Bone broth may improve intestinal motility after someone has been eating a lot of wheat products.  Gluten causes secretion of zonulin, which slows down motility.  (But read this... gluten may not be the actual cause.)  I'm not gluten-intolerant as far as I know, so to me these broths and soups are just part of an all-around balanced diet.

As you can see, I like to make the broth into a full-fledged soup with some veggies and some potatoes or rice.   Then it becomes a meal in itself.   (Refrigerate this stuff well, because if it's a meal in itself for you, it's also a meal in itself for anything that likes to grow in foods left out on the counter....)

I hope you've found this article helpful.  You can really help me out by purchasing any of your stuff through the Ebay or Amazon links on here.  (We're going to be needing to buy diapers for a while.)

As always, thanks for visiting this website!

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