Making bone broth is expensive, messy and time-consuming. Unless you truly enjoy the process (and your home smelling of meat and bones for days), I wouldn’t recommend it. Buying bone broth in Canada is easier, more on that below.
Also, finding the right type and quality of bones at a reasonable price locally is becoming more difficult. What butchers used to give away are now being priced at $10.99 per KG.
The logical option is to try a pre-made bone broth. But if you’re health-conscious, you should be careful and do some research before buying bone broth in grocery stores. We have a wide range of best beef bone broth at Bone Broth
What Is Bone Broth?
At its core, bone broth is what our grandparents called “stock”. Bone broth is stock with a better marketing team. Bone broth is stock with a bunch of hipster interns who post photos of it on Instagram.
Ok, in reality, bone broth has many of the same components as stock, but it’s been simmered a lot longer to extract even more nutrients and goodness from the bones.
- The basic broth is made by cooking meat (usually chicken, beef, or turkey), maybe some bones, aromatics, vegetables, and water.
- Basic stock involves using those same aromatics and vegetables but making sure bones are being simmered as well.
- Bone broth takes it to the next level and cooks the veggies, aromatics, and bones for a long time. A really long time – like 18 to 24 hours!
It also tastes freaking amazing, but that’s an added bonus.
I make my chicken bone broth after I roast a Paleo Roasted Chicken. When our family has eaten all that it can eat, I use one of three methods – stovetop, slow cooker, or Instant Pot. The added bonus of the Instant Pot method is that it cuts the cooking time down dramatically. But if you don’t have a pressure cooker, the other two options work very well.
It’s so easy to make yourself that once you do it, you’ll think “is that it”?
Is Bone Broth Good For You?
That long steep that the bones take helps to draw out any available nutrients, protein, and collagen.
And with that, I’m going to deviate from telling you all the amazing benefits of bone broth that other people like to tout. Honestly, I think bone broth is wonderful, delicious, and comforting, but there is not enough actual scientific research to back up all the claims made about it.
People say that it helps with inflammation, healing, can improve digestion, boost immunity, and aid with gut health. The people behind the GAPS diet are very pro bone broth for healing your gut.
But, even the researchers at Harvard Medical School are like “eh”. This is not a cure-all.
Here is what I think bone broth has going for it. People associate it with healthy eating and a “clean” diet. So, if you decide to consume bone broth on the regular, chances are it is part of an overall balanced way of eating.
What do you look for on the package to ensure you’re drinking bone broth? There are many tricks that food companies use on their labels to entice you to buy them.
Food manufacturers have realized consumers are becoming more interested in bone broth as it gains popularity as the next big “superfood”. These manufacturers know as long as you see the words BONE and BROTH on the label, you’ll assume the product is good for your health. And most consumers do fall for this trick!
But there is a problem. Not only do consumers need to know how to read labels on food, but there are also the hidden ingredients that are not required to be on labels and questionable processes that may take place. This can make choosing the right broth for you rather tricky!
Ingredients must be certified organic
I’ve written a blog dedicated to the reasons why bone broth must be made with certified organic bones. You see, for us to gain maximum benefit from drinking bone broth, the animal from which the bones came must be healthy. Feedlot cattle are given hormones, antibiotics and are fed an unnatural diet. Bones, and especially the marrow, hold all the toxins from this treatment, and this will be coming through into your bone broth. If it is not organic, you may well be doing more harm than good!
The product must not contain fillers
Dangerous ingredients are often hidden as innocent-sounding names. A common example is yeast extract, which is, in fact, another name for monosodium glutamate, best known as MSG. This chemical taste enhancer is well known for enhancing flavour and is often used in place of real foods. You most certainly don’t want this potentially harmful additive in your broth.
Another common additive is maltodextrin, something we were personally approached to add to our product as a thickener and shelf-life extender. Maltodextrin comes from a hydrolyzed starch, usually corn, rice, wheat or potato. After processing, it becomes a form of corn syrup solids, but with less than 20% sugar content. In brief, it is an easily absorbed carbohydrate in the form of sugar. This can be added to a bone broth, and if the percentage is low enough, it is not required on the label. If the source is organic, it too fits under the organic status. To learn more, read our article The Dangers of Maltodextrin.
Anti-caking agents are also common in powdered bone broths. This additive will stop clumping and moisture from building in the dried product giving it a nice even fine texture to the eye. Once again, if a small enough quantity is used, this does not need to be declared on your food label. Check to see if your product looks natural. Does it look like something you could produce at home?
The ingredients list does not contain contaminants
There is no requirement for food ingredient lists to include names of chemical contaminants and toxic substances such as BPA and heavy metals found in food.
Simple processes such as receiving mass-market pre-cut vegetables as an ingredient require that those vegetables be washed via water flume immediately after processing to prevent bacteria. This involves water disinfection and sanitization, often with the use of chlorine or other chemicals. Pre-cut fruit and vegetables are often dipped in further treatments to extend shelf life, prevent food turning brown and leave vegetables appearing fresh and natural. Again, there is no need to mention this on a food label.
The simple process of storing hot bone broth can also become a challenge as Food Standards Australia will pass the use of Food Grade plastic tubs to be used for cooling and storing processes. Research is showing when you heat plastics they naturally degrade and can then be responsible for endocrine disruptors.
Is it Pasture Raised, Free Range, Grass Fed/Finished?
These words are meaningless. To start, free-range chicken/pasture-raised are misnomers. Conventional chicken as an industry is much worse than beef in terms of animal welfare. Chickens are kept in large indoor barns much of the year. Looking for beef bone broth ? Look no further! Bone Broth has you covered.
Some farms have a small outdoor field attached to the covered barn where chickens can go, in theory. This is where free-range and pasture-raised came from.
The most depressing part is that chickens rarely venture into pasture if given a choice. They prefer to stay indoors and close to food.
There are smaller farming operations that truly have birds that I would call pasture-raised. But if you have ever seen or eaten a real pasture-raised chicken, the meat is much different than what you’re used to.
They are skinny from walking around on pasture. The meat is dry and sinewy, awful for eating. Depressing isn’t it?
Grass-fed beef is better but still deceiving. All beef is technically grass-fed and raised on pasture for ⅔ of their life. So you can call anything grass-fed.
Without speaking to the product maker to substantiate, where the grass-fed beef is coming from, I would have a difficult time trusting these claims.
What about grass-finished? There is no independent certification for this, so you are placing trust in those who are incentivized to tell you what you want to hear. The system is unfortunately broken.
What’s in the Ingredient?
Another trick is to add trendy ingredients, but in tiny amounts, so they help the ingredient list look sexy. These ingredients are usually additional herbs or superfoods, but in such small quantities, they would have no impact on your health.
These products are easy to spot because they pad 3-5 buzzword ingredients. Ingredients need to be stated in descending order of prominence. That is why salt is usually last.
Beware of some products highlighting sexy ingredients on the front of their package if it appears last in the ingredient panel on the back. Looking for beef bone broth ? Look no further! Bone Broth has you covered.
Add ingredients with a positive reputation, but in minuscule amounts, so they help the ingredient list look amazing. These ingredients are usually additional herbs or superfoods, but in such small quantities, they would have no impact on your health. Also, be sure to look out for “natural” flavourings and “natural” colourings along with “added vitamins”. All of these are human-made and synthesized.
Is it Simmered Slowly
Conventional stocks, broths and bone broths are processed at high heat for 1-2 hours—no Bueno. You’ll want to do some research to ensure your bone broth is simmered slowly for a long time.
You need a slow and gradual cooking time in order to extract the collagen, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), vitamins and minerals from the bones. High heat damages these amino acids.
Speaking of simmering, learn what home cooks and experts get wrong about making bone broth.
Many bone broths do not list simmer times on their label. In this case, I would check their website to get some more information.
What Type of Packaging is Used?
Less than 5% of the environmental impact of packaging is found in the final disposal stage. Over 95% of the damage is attributed to the energy used and toxins created in the manufacturing and delivery of packaging.
When you take a holistic approach to the environmental footprint of your packaging, things are not as they seem. From the outside, you would assume that recyclable materials like glass jars are the most environmentally friendly. However, this is only the case for highly toxic materials like PVC.
The lightest packages produce the least environmental waste. This is where the biggest net environmental impact is.
Recycling is great. However, it is a buzzword that holds people’s attention but is a lower priority choice than redesigning packaging to be as light and slight as possible.
How Much Protein Does it Have?
In order for bone broth to have a gel consistency at fridge temperature, there must be at least 8 grams of protein per 250ml. Anything less on the ingredient list and I would not call bone broth.
You do occasionally see bone broths with 15g or in one case, and I saw 26g of protein per 250ml; however, these are made up numbers. It is impossible to have 26g of protein per 250ml in bone broth.
Most smaller companies will look to larger companies and copy the nutrition facts on their labels. I’ve seen a few companies copy our nutrition facts verbatim. That is because lab testing is expensive. We pay $800-1200 per sku for nutrition facts analyses.
You’d be smart to look for between 8-12 grams of protein per 250ml. Some companies have more carbohydrates and fat per serving. This is a matter of personal preference. Fat gives the bone broth a fantastic taste but adds significant calories. The calories to taste trade-off is a matter of personal preference.
Is it Cooked in Stainless Steel Pots?
There’s a wide range of cookware available on the market—many of which are not great for your health. In the soup and broth space, aluminium is an example of commonly used cookware which may pose health risks to you.
Aluminium pots are shown to leach aluminium into the food during cooking. While we are not certain what levels are harmful to humans, it’s an easy swap which potentially keeps you healthy.
Ask your bone broth purveyor what type of pots or kettles they use. If they are confused by your question, there’s your answer. Probably not the broth for you.
Stainless steel is one of the few metals that is non-reactive as cookware. Meaning the metal pots do not interact with the food or affect the flavour of your meal.
Don’t be fooled by the name of the product
A food manufacturer can name a product anything they like, regardless of what the actual product is. This means many stock products have been labelled as bone broth, despite very different cooking methods and ingredients. You can read more about the differences between stock and bone broth here, but buyer beware, bone broth is a very different product with a very different taste and healing properties to stock.
Is The Bone Broth Frozen?
Freezing bone broth locks in flavour and preserves nutrients at their peak, and it is the way bone broth is traditionally stored. It’s also the only way that you can store bone broth without preservatives, shelf-stabilizers or processing.
Is The Bone Broth Certified Organic?
CERTIFIED Organic is very different from “made with organic ingredients”. Organic certification means that EVERYTHING about the bone broth – from the ingredients right down to the cleaning products used in our facilities – must adhere to rigorous organic guidelines. To make sure your bone broth is certified organic, look for the USDA Certified Organic symbol.
Do The Ingredients Include Only Grass-Fed Bone – No Filler Broth?
This ensures that your bone broth is made with high-quality bones from animals raised on pasture and therefore free of environmental toxins. Also, some companies add pre-made broth to their bone broth to make more broth cheaper and faster. This creates a watered-down broth that is less effective than true bone broth.
Does The Bone Broth Turn To Gel When Refrigerated?
When collagen is cooked, it turns into gelatin. The sign that a bone broth has been made properly and is full of collagen is that it solidifies and turns to gelatin when it is refrigerated. While not all bone broths will be completely solid when refrigerated, there should always be some gelatinous texture to the liquid.
After water, bones should appear next on the ingredient list. It certainly should not read ‘chicken stock’ or ‘broth’ on the ingredient list. These are immediate red flags. Anything with the word ‘base’ in it should be avoided as well. Bone Broth has a wide range of best beef bone broth in Melbourne
Companies who are cutting corners use a broth or stock concentrate base as the first ingredient, then they dilute it and add other stuff to mask the awful taste. These broth bases come from rendering facilities that use the lowest quality bones you can find.
Without bones on the ingredient list, you are missing out on the powerful nutrients and amino acids (gelatin/collagen) found in the connective tissue of the bones. Regular stock and broths are decent for cooking if you’re in a pinch, but have zero nutritional benefits.
As you can see, this is just a small snippet of what goes on behind the closed doors of food manufacturers. Technology takes over nature and allows for short cuts and massive savings. There is so little the consumer knows when simply looking at a label on some packaged food.