Crack open the bones for the good stuff…
I want to discuss bone marrow for three simple reasons:
- It’s really, really good for you
- If you cook it yourself (versus getting it at a gourmet restaurant), it is pretty inexpensive
- It’s extraordinarily delicious
Bone marrow: A primal superfood
What do our hunter-gatherer ancestors and wolves have in common? Both immediately feasted on the marrow inside the bones of their fresh prey, intuitively consuming one of the most nutrient-dense portions first.
Considered a delicacy in many regions of the world, bone marrow is the rich substance found in the center of bones. Many ancient and traditional cultures revered marrow as a medicinal food, and gave it special emphasis as nourishment for children.
Weston A. Price, a nutrition pioneer who studied the diets of traditional cultures, found a special emphasis on bone marrow in the Indians living in the Rocky Mountain Range. He wrote in his landmark book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration,
An important part of the nutrition of the children consisted in various preparations of bone marrow, both as a substitute for milk and as a special dietary ration.
In his practice, Dr. Price used marrow as an important nutritional supplement for undernourished children.
Marrow also provides an exceptional source of the omega-3s required for healthy brain development and anti-inflammation.
Getting the most out of bone marrow
- The toxins are stored in the fat of animals, and marrow is highly fatty. So, prioritize bones from healthy animals. That means “grassfed” or “pasture-raised” beef. “Organic” does not necessarily mean grassfed, but it is acceptable if you cannot find a higher quality.
- Trouble finding marrow in your health food store? Talk to a butcher at your grocery store, they can usually order grassfed marrow bones for you. Or, talk someone who sells grassfed beef at your farmer’s market.
- Once you enjoy the marrow, save the bones to make nutrient-dense bone broth. Toss the bones in your slow cooker, cover with filtered water, add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar (it helps draw the minerals into the broth) and cook for 24 hours.
- You can incorporate marrow into other dishes. Toss the silky marrow with vegetables, incorporate into a soup, or add to a sauce. I’ve even made this sweet bone marrow custard, which is absolutely delicious.
- Marrow bones from grassfed/pasture-raised beef, 1-2 per person
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh thyme
- Unrefined salt and blak pepper
- Marrow is rich, decadent and luxurious. The marrow from one or two bone pieces is enough for one person.
- If the bones are frozen, thaw them completely in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bones in a baking dish (I baked mine in that mini cast iron pan). Spacing doesn't matter - it can be spaced tightly or loosely.
- Finely chop equal parts of fresh rosemary and thyme. I used ½ tsp. of chopped herbs for the four marrow bones. Sprinkle the herbs over the marrow bones.
- Roast for about 15 minutes, until no longer pink inside. You want to catch them before the marrow begins to "cook out" of the bones.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. Use a spoon to scoop out the marrow.
- Save any drippings, as well as leftover marrow, in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. I finely chop leftover marrow and toss it with hot, cooked vegetables for a flavor and nutrient boost.
My question is: can’t grass-fed or pasture-raised beef be cows laced with antibiotics or hormones? But then I would think organic cows don’t have that, do they?
I want to avoid hormones as much as possible.
Organic agriculture prohibits the use or hormones or antibiotics in meat. If you purchase local grass-fed or pasture-raised beef, it could likely be from a smaller family farm that isn’t certified organic (as the certification is quite pricey for small farms). However, these farms are not going to be using hormones/antibiotics.
I ask because I I bought “free range pasture raised grass-fed” beef bones from a large health food store chain but it didn’t say organic, so that got me thinking.
I guess it may be from a local farm just as you said.
I just made this– added minced garlic and butter to the herb mixture. Delicious! Don’t forget to save the bones for bone broth!
Just found out I am not absorbing all the omega and calcium supplements I take. This seems like a probable MOST ABSORBABLE source of those, do you think? Any other tips on how to absorb those input reins? I enclose d3 and k2 SUPPS but think food sources would be best. The texture Might be gross, ????????but I am committed to developing a palate worthy of perfect vibrant health! The custard sounds good but eggs are to histamine producing for me. Perhaps I could blend it with some chia??
hi in my country (north africa) we use bones in a special clay dish with garbanzo beans and herbs and onions and garlic we cook them all night on low heat and in the morning they are ready its so delicious and nutritious glad to see a different version .
Great article. I read your posts all the time and you always do a good job explaining
the whatever topic you’re blogging about.
Btw, I shared this on LinkedIn and my followers loved it.
Keep up the great work!
if i,m serving the marrow bones as an appetizer what should I serve them with
In a local restaurant, a roasted long split marrow bone is served only with a tiny bowl of sea salt flakes as a $7 appetizer. And yes, I’m willing to part with my $7! It’s actually elegant as it is served on a beautiful tray.
If I were to feed this to my baby, would it defy the purpose if I can’t get access to grass fed nor organic bone marrow ? 🙁
That’s a great question, I don’t know if the cons of conventionally-raised beef would outweigh the nutritional benefits of the marrow. I would lean on the side of avoiding it, but I would also suggest asking Sarah Ballentyne at Thepaleomom.com.