home-cooked beans and homemade bone broth

Maybe you are a person who cooks their own beans and makes their own broth already. In that case, you may want to skip to another post. This is for those folks out there who want a little guidance on why and how to do so. Yes, I know canned beans and bottled broth are super convenient. Unfortunately, like most processed food, there is a big downside: both are much less nutritious; canned beans are harder to digest, cause gas and indigestion in some folks, and don’t taste nearly as good. In fact, if you think you hate beans, you may just hate canned beans. Worse, bottled / boxed¬† broth often contains msg, even when not on the label.¬†

There are two important aspects of cooking beans at home – soaking them and then cooking them in bone broth, neither of which happens for canned beans. I buy mine dried from the bulk section of my health food store. 90% of the time we eat black beans since they are our favorite, but this method will work with any beans. Buy them, look through them as you pour about a quart of dry beans into a large bowl, removing any stray rocks that may have snuck in (it happens). Fill the bowl most of the way up with water and add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Let them sit out at least overnight. Several days won’t hurt them if it takes that long to get to them. If the water gets nasty, just replace it. When you are ready to cook them, rinse well in a colander and put them in a large pot or crock pot (my method). Just cover with bone broth (see #2). Cook until soft. I prefer very soft. I usually leave mine at least 12 hours on low in the crock pot. If I can’t eat all the beans right away, I freeze them in smaller containers for later use. Sometimes I turn all or some of them into re-fried beans with my immersion blender (adding plenty of lard or butter and salt), and then freeze the extras of those.

Bone broth requires bones. You can save them from roasts and chickens you eat, which I do, but which is never enough. You can buy whole, half, or quarter pigs and steers and ask the butcher to save ALL the bones for you and cut and bag them. They usually will try to talk you into just getting the marrow / “good” bones. Do not fall for this. Insist on “ALL!” Otherwise, you can buy bones from many farms or possibly in stores. I also get the heads and feet of the chickens I have harvested. These are especially nutritious. Anyway, I put the bones in my other crock pot (I keep two and at least one is going most of the time), fill with water, and add a few spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar to help draw the minerals out of the bones. Unlike many people, I do not cook this first batch for several days, as I don’t want the fat to turn rancid. So I drain that batch of broth off after 12 hours or so and add another batch of water and vinegar. This time I cook it for 3-4 days for the heavy-duty mineral extraction. You can do several iterations of this. Some folks even grind the bones up when they are soft enough to get the last drops of goodness out of them. I end up giving the third of fourth batch, with the bones ground up, to my dogs.

Anyway, the minerals, gelatin and fat in bone broth are amazing health promoters. I feel great about feeding my kids on just rice (once in a while) since I cook it in broth instead of water and melt a stick of butter in it after cooking (unless it is the fattier broth). I also feel great about feeding them lots of beans once the anti-nutrients have been neutralized by soaking and the nutrition profile has been boosted with the bone broth. For more info on all of this, please see the Weston Price Website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *