As the winter chill descends here in Melbourne, my mind is turning to making warming soups and broths for the human and dog members of the family. Broths are not only delicious and comforting, but stack up extremely well in the nutrients stakes too. Better still, they are super easy and cheap to make, store well and I haven’t seen too many dogs that don’t love it!
Bone broths are particularly good for pets who are unwell or convalescing, but are also useful to add to your dog’s weekly meal regime to boost joint, gut and liver health.
You can add you just about any mix of ingredients you like but there’s a few important principles to note when making a broth to get the most goodness out of it:
- Use human-grade grass fed animal bones if possible, making sure it includes bones with cartilage
- You can add in a few veges (no onion though) but add at end of the cooking process to prevent overcooking
- Kelp (such as kombu) adds a valuable source of iodine
- Culinary herbs can be added at the end of cooking for extra medicinal value (parsley, rosemary, thyme), or add in some reliable anti-inflammatory treasures such as ginger and turmeric root
- Use filtered water as the liquid base
- Add a small amount of raw apple cider vinegar or another acid base to help draw out the minerals from the bones
- Cook low and slow (at least 12 hours)
- Please don’t feed the discarded cooked bones to your dog! They’ve done their job and are a risk to your dog once cooked.
So why not dust off your old soup pot, get together these few ingredients and make yourself a lovely broth; the great news is this recipe will suit you and your dog!
- About 1 – 2 kg (depending on pot size) raw bones (or left over cooked bones), including those with cartilage
- Filtered water (enough to cover bones)
- 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
- Kombu (Japanese kelp)
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick of celery
- Bouquet garni (mixture of culinary herbs of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan or celtic sea salt
Put the bones to the pot (or large casserole if cooking in oven) and cover completely with water with about 5-10cm above the bones. Add the apple cider vinegar, put on the lid and place on the stovetop on low heat (or oven at 100C). Leave to slowly simmer for 12 – 24 hours, topping up with fresh filtered water if it gets too low.
About two hours before you finish cooking, add the veges, kombu, salt and herbs.
When cooking is finished, allow to cool and strain the nutrient packed liquid through a sieve. Pick off any residual meat from the bones (you can feed this to your dog), and discard the remaining ingredients. Once fully cooled, place in the fridge for a few hours and skim off any excess fat, which solidifies when chilled. You know you have a great broth if it has a gelatinous texture when it is cooled.
Put in glass containers and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze (I use jars, making sure I don’t fill them to the top to allow for some expansion). You can also use a silicon ice tray and freeze them for a snack size addition to your dog’s meal.