Bone Broth Is Becoming an Expensive Indulgence

Thank you, hipsters, for having the uncanny ability to make healthy, accessible foods into premiere cru ingredients that cost way more than they ever should. The latest victim: bone broth. Unfortunately, in this case, both dogs and humans are affected equally. Since this ancient beverage caught the attention of certain enclaves in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin, the number of bones to go around has been dwindling as prices have been rising.

There used to be a time when butchers couldn't give away their leftover bones. Except for a few folks who made their own broth or had a pack of dogs to feed, bones tended to end up in the landfill. Now, they're selling anywhere from $2-$4 a pound. (And FYI there are not a lot of bones in 1lb.)

Even if you're not making it yourself, the price of commercially produced bone broth is becoming staggeringly high. No longer is this elixir a food for the poor. At many stores, a quart rings up at more than $12.  

What Is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is not the same thing that you would put into a soup. In fact, it is a better characterization to liken it to tea. The bones that go into the jars of this ailment-curing wonder elixir are simmered anywhere from 14-48 hours. How long they actually simmer depends on both the patience and the taste preferences of the cook.

Patiently stewing meat bones into a beverage has been a popular activity since the 1800s when meat broths became commercially renowned for their restorative properties as well as for their tendency to be nutrient-dense meal supplements.

In fact, by the 1860s, London hospitals were brewing thousands of pots of beef "tea" to feed their patients and ensure that they were getting as much nutrition as possible while under their care.

After its short-lived fame, bone broth fell out of fashion during the last century as a curative beverage. However, the last few years have seen a resurgence in this elixir du jour. Likely this has to do with excellent marketing campaigns that have made "all natural" and "health foods" sellable everywhere from farmers' markets to Walmart.

This means thought, that what was once cheap is no longer so.

What About Cheap Bone Broth?

There is a caveat here. Most bone broth devotees are drinking broth made out of chicken and beef bones which are steadily rising in price. Not many people, however, are utilizing other animals' skeletons.

Therefore, perhaps it's time to start sampling alternatives to the mainstream meat "teas" to save your finances.  Some options to consider are lamb, bison, pork, turkey and alpaca bones.

Now, before you flinch, remember what Sam I Am said, "Try it, you'll like it!"

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