Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Bone Broth: Illness recovery in Canines

Bone broth should be in everyone's freezer during the flu season. It's great for 4-legged and 2-legged family members on the road to recovery from a bout of germ mayhem. It's full of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes and very easy to make. It does need to be made ahead of time, because it takes a LONG time to make-- like 10 hrs. The good news -- that 10 hours has nothing to do with preparation or you in the kitchen. It has to do with all the ingredients simmering into goodness in a crockpot. After it's made, you just have to freeze it into portions and wait for the germ apocalypse to strike.

What you need:
  • Bones-- any kind of bones. Chicken, beef, pork... whatever suits you fancy. Meat is optional, but obviously Fido will think it's delicious. A popular choice is Oxtail, but anything will work. 
  • Vegetables-- please see this list for vegetables that are good/ bad for your dog. Onions and garlic are not a good choice for Fido (TOXIC), but are a good choice for human taste buds. So, you may want to make two batches labeled appropriately? Just a thought. 
  • Vinegar-- You need an acid to extract the minerals from your bones. I like Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Water.
  • A crockpot (If you don't have a crockpot, you can always cook it on your stovetop on low.)
What you do:
 Throw the bones in the crockpot. Chop up the vegetables and throw in the crockpot. Add water to cover everything and vinegar. You don't need much vinegar-- approximately 1 tsp/ gallon of water. I usually don't measure. I just kind of "guesstimate".  Cover with a lid and cook. If you are using the low temperature setting, it will take about 10 hours. If you are using the high temperature setting, it will take about 6 hours.

Once it's cooked and cooled enough to handle, ladle (or pour) it into a large bowl and refrigerate. You will notice that when it reaches refrigerator temperature, it will look like gel. Which is kind of gross to look at, but don't worry. When it's heated up, it will turn to liquid again. The gel means that it is super-duper healthy = full of gelatin from the bones. If yours doesn't turn to gel, don't worry. It' still has the nutrients in it. It's just not jam packed full like the gel. You can now scoop out your gel (or pour your broth) into your storage containers and freeze.

Here are the internet accolades for bone broth:

I like to use bone broth as the first "go-to" after gastrointestinal upset. I then gradually introduce solids-- like rice and chicken (with bone broth) and then my dog's regular dog food. You can even try to use bone broth to entice a finicky eater. (Same goes for my human family members, except substitute the dog food for people food.)

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