BONE BROTH: Home-made vs. Borough Broth Co. – a Paleo In The UK Review
A Review by the Admin Team @ Paleo In The UK
When the lovely team at Borough Broth Company posted a link to our founder’s article on their site, we were very pleased that they liked what she’d written about Bone Broth, animals and the whole Paleo philosophy on the nutrient-dense golden elixir that is Bone Broth.
The problem is that there is one thing Victoria never admits (to literally anyone). She hates bone broth. No – really – absolutely hates bone broth. She has been known to feel physically ill from it and can’t quite stand the smell. (We know, you can’t take her anywhere…!)
It’s one of those things that she really, really wants to love. She adores strange offal type stuff but she just can’t do the broth thing… Secretly, we think that’s why she writes so highly of it – she’s always trying to convince herself to get past the gag point and love the stuff…
She just can’t.
So when she gamely decided that the Paleo In The UK Team would do a Bone Broth review (for those asking, there’s five of us that Victoria calls on to help out) what she meant was that *we* would do some tasting – and that she would NOT .
And so it was that the fateful day came… And of course, Victoria picked Halloween. The day before, she had decided to do this:
She went into hardcore Bone Broth production – used really good bones from Fordhall Farm, with Berkey Filtered Water, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and some vegetables from a local allotment… you literally couldn’t get fresher or better quality…
Tuesday morning rolled around and we were all prepared to do a grand tasting and review some Bone Broth.
We all make our own Bone Broth when we have the time, the bones and the inclination. We have also previously tried two different brands of ready made Bone Broth – both of which we have recommended in our Bone Broth article on this site: Osius Broth and Bone & Broth. We do rate both of these broths quite highly, with Bone & Broth winning for authenticity, Osius winning on wide availability (even Ocado stock it), though it does feel a little thinner than others or homemade versions. Both are very expensive for an everyday thing, though. And suffice to say that Victoria’s verdict on all broth – both the professionally made ones she has tried AND the homemade ones, even when it’s mixed into soups instead of being drunk straight – is a resounding dislike.
This time, the whole team wanted to try a brand of Bone Broth that has grown massively popular in the last year, with rave reviews in every magazine and online outlet, from Vogue to the Huffington Post and Conde Nast Traveler (that’s on top of the usual food magazines): Borough Broth Company.
Like many brands, they do two different Bone Broths: Beef & Chicken. Their Broths are slow cooked (24 hours) in British spring water with the bones of organic, grass-fed/pasture-raised, UK animals.
Sitting down for lunch on what we felt was the coldest day of the year thus far, we decided to compare these two flavours alongside Victoria’s homemade version.
First Up: Victoria’s Organic, Home-made, Grass-fed, Couldn’t Get More Local/Fresh/Organic Broth
The irony about Victoria is that whilst she has a handful food intolerances (e.g. she can’t even carve pumpkins on Halloween because she comes out in rashes…?!) she’s actually a great cook. Her Bone Broth, we all begrudgingly admitted, was a really good-tasting, full flavoured broth. It was really thin, however – and we think that this was something to do with the collagen content in the type of bones used.
This is a perennial problem with making your own homemade broths – you really are relying on the quality and the mineral/collagen makeup of the bones that you use. Even as seasoned broth makers, none of us have managed to make the same-tasting broth twice. Obviously, that’s not a big deal – and, even though we’re non-connoisseurs, we notice that using a mix of bones has the best results and we actually don’t mind the
unpredictability. However, not knowing the kind of product you’re going to end up with can be challenging – with the really gelatinous broths being a matter of chance rather than planning.
And if you’re someone who drinks Bone Broth because you know it’s good for you, rather than because you love the taste, then that unpredictable flavour profile and texture can prove a real disincentive to continue making your own.
Whilst we all loved her broth, Victoria hated it. She said it tasted OK at the first sip. By the second, however, she had had enough. This is why she doesn’t make Broth. We will be taking her three Kilner jars of her homemade broth home…
Second Tasting: Borough Broth Company’s Chicken Bone Broth
“Cooked low and slow for 24 hours” this broth is all organic goodness – chicken bones, carrots, onions, some vinegar, herbs and salt. All of the ingredients are from the UK – and there’s 2g of collagen in each 324g pouch pack.
Everyone agreed – this Chicken Broth was very intense and very chicken-y. It tasted almost like a good chicken gravy, not because it was too thick in consistency but because it was so flavourful. The house was already richly smelling of all the broths we were heating on the hob, but even then, when we held a cup of this up to our noses we could all pick out that this broth was strong. It smelled… for want of better words… wholesome.
Now, we know that sounds silly – but there is a distinct flavour and aroma that is given off when you cook using vegetables and meats that are full of nutrition and quality. This broth clearly had it in spades.
Some of us felt that this broth was a little too strong for our tastes, especially drunk alone (we were just drinking these neat). However, we all agreed that if we were to put it in a soup then this broth would be the making of it – packed full of flavour and robustness and without a doubt a great base to make a tasty meal by just adding veg into it and blending it all up. We also agreed that the strength of flavour was largely a fault of our expectations and previous experience with homemade broths.
The overall verdict was that Borough Broth’s Chicken Bone Broth was really great – strong and flavourful, but good either as a drink or in a soup, stew – or even to make gravy with, though we all agreed that would be a waste!
All, that is, except Victoria. Her wrinkled nose said it all… she just could not do this Bone Broth. She could just about manage a sip of this one, but the flavour and aroma that we all found distinctive and characterful was a real turn off for her. (Trust us, though – that’s a reflection of her and nothing to do with the broth itself…)
Third & Final Tasting: Borough Broth Company’s Beef Bone Broth
We saved this till last because we thought it would be the most flavourful and we didn’t want to get palate fatigue. And yet we all agreed when we tasted this one that it was actually more delicate than we’d imagined it would be – but in a really good way. We felt this was more subtle that the Chicken Broth – though it has similar, quality ingredients, cooked for the same length of time. With the addition of Beef Bones, this has 3g of collagen per serving and it really did taste rich, real, flavourful and full of goodness.
It was also somehow more ‘broth-like’ – not too thick – and it felt really rich and unctuous. Thankfully, neither this nor the Chicken Bone Broth had any trace of that slick of fat that can sometimes come with drinking Bone Broth. We all agreed that whilst you could add this Beef Bone Broth to soups and stews, or even add a little water to make it go further, we couldn’t imagine why you would want to.
We were a little worried that we were only loving this Beef Broth because it was different to the Chicken Broth – so we asked one of our team’s partners who commutes into Central London to pick us up another couple of pouches of Beef Broth from Selfridges (which stocks Borough Broth Co’s Broth in their Food Hall) . We tried this on its own today (the day after our mammoth tasting session) and we discovered our fears were misplaced.
All of us felt that this Broth really was an exceptional example of how good Bone Broth can taste (on top of being really good for you!).
All of us, that is, except…
Um… hang on…
Victoria surprised us all with her response to the Beef Broth from Borough Broth Co. Not only did she finish her taster of it – she even asked the person despatched to Selfridges to pick her up “a couple of pouches too” whilst they were there…??!!
The Paleo In The UK Verdict On Borough Broth’s Bone Broth vs. Home Made
Having never drunk more than two sips of any Bone Broth in her life, literally turning her nose up at them most of the time, Victoria’s resounding approval of Borough Broth Co’s Beef Bone Broth was surprising – and a little annoying.
We really wanted this review to be an ‘objective, neutral, we won’t just say we love it because it’s Paleo’ review. Now, with this complete about-turn from our founder, we are at risk of making this review sound like a completely fantasised story of how Borough Broth Co. converted a Bone Broth hater into someone who actually enjoyed drinking the stuff…
The problem is that it’s actually true. Despite sending us all off with huge jars containing the produce of her own hard work, this Beef Bone Broth from Borough Broth Bo. is something that she wanted to hold onto.
To give you a bit more context – Victoria has a connective tissue disorder (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) which affects her collagen and her joints. She knows, as a Functional Medicine Practitioner, that drinking Bone Broth would be great for her for many reasons – not least of which being that her gastrointestinal tract is deeply affected by her connective tissue problems. For her, ever since she began using nutritional approaches to resolving the complications from her own health issues, it has been a source of distress that she just couldn’t seem to stomach the Bone Broth that she would happily recommend to her clients and that she knew would be incredibly nourishing to her. To have a Bone Broth she can drink is a real revelation for her.
As a Paleo-lifestyle (not just Paleo-nutrition) promoting site, it is probably true that theoretically you ‘should’ make your own Bone Broths at home. And yet there are reasons (beyond just having no time) not to do so. Firstly, as we’ve said, the consistency and the texture is so variable at home. We had two sachets of each broth to try, however, and both were incredibly similar to one another such that you know what you’re getting when you buy it in ready-made.
Secondly, the quality of the end product is highly dependent on an unknown factor when you’re buying bones to make your own: the mineral density and protein content of your bones and the cartilage on them. Again, buying from a company that produces these broths guarantees that your product will be of a high quality, with great mineral composition and protein/amino acid content, every time you drink it.
And thirdly, when it comes to Bone Broth it’s a bit like diets in general – the best versions are the ones you can stick to. For Victoria, she may not quite be a Bone Broth Lover – but the next time she orders through Coombe Farm Organics (Borough Broth Co’s partner) she will add some into her order. And moreover, she also knows that if she gets into a situation in the future where she’s worried about her gut integrity she really does have a backstop of support that she can turn to that won’t make her feel ill. She’s also really interested in the fact that Coombe Farm are now utilising the meat from mature, retired dairy cows – and Borough Broth Co. are using their bones to make a LIMITED AVAILABILITY ‘Retired Dairy Cow Bone Broth”. This sounds AMAZING – and utterly Paleo – not just the consumption of the whole animal, bones and all, but caring for the animal throughout its lifespan and ensuring it has a usefulness beyond just its milk-production years.
For anyone who struggles with Bone Broth – whether through histamine issues, through not finding the right taste, through just finding it a faff, a mess or a hassle – these ready-made versions are a great option. It’s not just that they’re “OK for when you can’t make your own”. In some instances, because of their reliability, taste profile and no-mess factor, we’d argue that they’re BETTER than your own homemade version.
At £5.75 per pouch of Borough Broth Co.’s broths, this isn’t a cheap investment – but it’s a worthwhile one if you’re interested in the health benefits of broth (which are considerable). And perhaps it’s not very Paleo to get something out of a sachet from the fridge… but then, as we have always said here at Paleo In The UK, we’re not about recreating, mouthful-by-mouthful, an ancestral diet. Instead we’re interested in helping our modern bodies live with strength and vitality whilst in a modern environment.
To us – even to Victoria – using ready-made Bone Broth is an exceptional way to do that and Borough Broth Co.’s products are an exceptional addition to the Paleo (or indeed, any) table…
by The Admin Team @ Paleo In The UK…