How to make bone broth? For a few years now we have been hearing about the health benefits of bone broth for the human body. By using bone broth, people find their health and vitality can be restored, energy and hydration are improved, and digestive issues are soothed.
Traditionally beef or ox marrow bones are slow-cooked for hours to release the gelatin and collagen; it is then flavored liberally with onion, garlic, celery and carrots and seasoned well with salt and pepper.
Finally, it is put through a fine strainer and becomes a semi-opaque, silky-smooth broth.
Health-nuts and nutritionists claim it really does work and many people are enjoying the benefits of regular consumption.
Did you know that people are also crazy about feeding bone broth to their dogs? Not the perfectly seasoned gourmet concoction described above, but a very simplified and nutritious recipe just for dogs that pet owners are raving about.
Bone broth is rather like a gravy that is created by a long cooking process. A low and slow simmer causes a breakdown in the ligaments and tissues of the bones and produces proteins and nutrients that are more easily absorbed by dogs.
Could Your Dog Benefit From Bone Broth?
Vets and pet lovers alike are touting the good things that bone broth can offer to dogs. For dogs suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or leaky gut, it can help alleviate or reduce symptoms of pain and cramping, and settle diarrhea.
Bone broth can help maintain a healthy gut and is also especially helpful to dogs with digestive issues.
It can also be used to improve appetite in finicky dogs when mixed with other foods, or as a nutritious, high-protein, lower calorie way for your heavier or older dogs to lose a bit of fat and take some weight off of their aging joints.
Because of levels of collagen and glucosamine, the broth is beneficial to dogs with arthritis as well.
The nutrients in bone broth can help support a dog’s immune system. This concoction is rich in the amino acid glycine, which is necessary for the ability of the liver to detoxify.
During cooking, the breakdown of the bones also develops a collagen rich gelatin which can break down further in the body, releasing glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) - a critical protein that makes up ligaments, tendons, cartilage, joints and bones.
These GAGs can speed up the healing process and offer additional protection to skin and joints. Bone broth is full of calcium, sulphur, magnesium, silicon and phosphorus.
It also encourages a healthier, shinier coat.
How to make bone broth? Some people have made claims that bone broth is not very nutritious, has negative effects on dogs and that it is merely a fad that will die off.
In truth, people have been making this health-giving superfood from cast-off bones since ancient times. If you have concerns, we recommend you discuss the benefits or possible risks with your dog’s veterinarian before whipping up a batch.
How To Make Bone Broth
There are dozens of recipes for making bone broth, but the basic ingredients for dogs are much less complicated than the version made for humans which can include a myriad of vegetables, herbs and spices.
To begin with, you need some good meaty, marrow bones – those with connective tissue and joints are important to the finished product.
Suggested cuts include lamb necks, ox tails, ox or beef ankles or knees, lower legs or pork bones.
Pork bones, on their own, do not have as much flavor as other bones but combined with other types of bones, they work just fine.
Pig’s feet are very high in collagen and all-important connective tissue.
Always use fresh or frozen food-grade bones. Leftover bones from your own meals are perfectly acceptable, although the quality may be lower.
You can just tuck whatever bones you have left from your own cooking into a zip-top bag in the freezer until you have enough of them saved to make a batch of bone broth.
You can usually get a large packet of bones from your local butcher for just a dollar or so, possibly even at no cost. And while you are there, grab the most important component, chicken’s feet – a lot of them.
Chicken’s feet are very inexpensive as far as the cost, but they hold a wealth of protein in the form of gelatin-producing collagen.
Basic Stove-Top Bone Broth Recipe
Layer all of the bones, a few inches deep, in the bottom of a two-gallon or larger stainless-steel stock pot. (Aluminum leaches into the food.)
Cover bones with water, plus a couple of inches more.
Add three to four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (The vinegar pulls the nutrients and minerals from the bones and helps create the gelatin.)
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Allow it to cook slowly for a minimum of 12 hours. Check occasionally for adequate water level. The liquid is the whole purpose, so don’t allow it to evaporate.
DO NOT allow your dog to chew on the cooked bones. They are soft enough to splinter and lodge dangerously in the dog's throat or stomach.
After 12 hours, pour the remaining liquid through a sieve to be sure to remove any bits of bone that may have broken off. (IMPORTANT: With all methods, strain out the bones and discard.)
Crock Pot Bone Broth Recipe
Fill the crock pot half-way full of bones.
Pour water to cover, plus a couple of inches more.
Add three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
Turn crock pot to high heat and leave for one hour. Then turn it down to low and continue cooking for 22 to 24 hours.
Less time will not render the collagen and too much more time can cause it to breakdown and degrade. (IMPORTANT: Strain out the bones as above.)
These two, long-cooking methods are preferred to allow the collagen a chance to escape the bones and form gelatin.
But if you are in a hurry, you can try the next recipe using a pressure cooker.
Pressure Cooker Bone Broth Recipe
Layer the bones in the bottom of a pressure cooker.
Pour water to cover, plus a couple of inches more.
Add three to four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Lock securely and pressure cook according to your cooker’s instructions for two hours.
The bones may begin to breakdown into a mash. (IMPORTANT: Remove any pieces that won’t easily go through a strainer.) If you like, you can stir any bone mash into the strained broth for added nutrition and body.
Once the broth has been strained and begins to cool, you will notice that it will begin to thicken.
The gelatin that has formed will cause it to gradually set up. You can spoon a few chunks into your dog’s dish, or you can warm it to use as a gravy or broth. Never serve hot liquids to your dog!
You may have noticed that none of these recipes call for salt, bouillon or other flavorings.
They are unnecessary and may cause additional health problems to your dog such as high blood pressure. Some people, on occasion, add dog-safe, nutritious vegetables like sliced carrots, parsley, celery or kale at the end of the cooking cycle.
Turn heat off and remove bones. Add vegetables and replace lid. Allow the vegetables to steep in the liquid, and they will begin to soften as the broth cools.
Do not add onions or garlic because they are toxic to dogs, and though it may sound good to you, your dog will never miss it.
How Do You Store and Use Bone Broth?
One of the easiest ways to store your homemade bone broth is to pour it into several pint-size canning jars.
Store them, covered, in the refrigerator and use within a few days. If you want to store it longer, you can leave an inch or so of head room in the jars and cover tightly.
Allow them to cool, and then stand them in your freezer. You could also fill sandwich size lock-top freezer bags and keep them in the freezer. Frozen broth can be kept for up to three months.
If your dog gets hungry in the middle of the day, a bowl of bone broth can give them a lift and help fill them up.
If they prefer a food drenched in gravy, drizzle some homemade bone broth over dry kibble. For dogs that are ill, it can be an easy-on-the-tummy meal replacement.
You can also freeze the broth in ice cube trays and get one or two out for a treat now and again, and this is also a good way to store the broth.
Per cup of bone broth, your dog will receive as much protein as a large egg. With the added benefits of the glycine, amino acids, glucosamine, collagen, vitamins and minerals, it is a nutritional goldmine.
You can purchase commercially prepared bone broth for dogs for around $14 for a quart-size can.
However, it will only provide a few servings, and with the cost of making your own basic broth being so low, it is hardly worth the trip to the store to purchase the broth.
Bone broth is easy to prepare and store, nutrient-rich, easy to digest, and because of its many health benefits, it may be worth your while to give it a try.
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