Some might say I’m lucky. I like to consider myself simply blessed. My great grandmother was someone I always looked up to, so I followed in her culinary footsteps and developed an exceptional beef bone broth recipe that helped immensely during my chemotherapy and ongoing breast cancer treatments. Picture the larger than life stock pot cooking nonstop on the stove. Great-grandmother’s simmered 24/7 in my family’s restaurant, Seven Corners, way back in the day in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY. True capo cuoco (head chef) in every way. She cooked with love all while little children hung on to her skirt waiting for a taste.
Why Bone Broth?
The thought of chemotherapy is frightening. It damages bone marrow and weakens our immune system. Particularly the aggressive drugs prescribed for my type of breast cancer. The greatest risk is to white blood cells, which are made in our bone marrow. When our white blood cell counts drop too low, we’re at risk for dangerous infections that can lead to death. And this terrified me even more since I’ve had a lifetime disadvantage of a weakened immune system due to polio in my youth. A plummeting white blood cell count will lead to an interruption in treatment and we all know what that means. Cancer has a chance to grow back. More than the cancer, I was terrified my immune system wouldn’t stand a chance against chemotherapy.
There is precious little science on bone broth and none of it addresses the important question. Does it directly help the immune system, bone marrow, bones, joints, heart, lungs, liver and digestive tract? I can only answer by sharing my experience. When I drank my bone broth recipe daily it gave me strength. When I didn’t drink it, I visibly suffered. All my oncologists said, with surprise and joy, that I was the first they’d ever seen in such good health throughout hard chemo and major surgery. They asked me to share what I did, it would help others. Aces Pink Bone Broth is one of the things.
Everything I learned about my great grandmother’s cooking I learned from my father. He was one of those little children in her big kitchen. It’s where he ate his meals from the time he was born and up until he enlisted in the US Army. During my year of chemotherapy and mastectomy surgeries, I prayed daily for the strength to make the 8-mile drive to his house. At 89 years old, one of the last few WWII veterans still alive, he needed care. Housebound and invalid, partially confined to a wheelchair, with an enduring spirit, he lived gladly at home alone and refused to go to an assisted living facility. My mother and his five other children (my siblings) had all predeceased him.
God Bless Dad, he lived long enough to see me cancer free, just barely. He passed away peacefully on Christmas Day, at my side. Aces Pink Bone Broth is for him. It’s one of a kind. Without it, and because of him, I never could have made the drive, nor had the strength to continue chemotherapy.
One of a Kind
There is nothing available online or even in a cookbook like Aces Pink’s recipe. I researched all over the internet when I was first diagnosed. Then it dawned on me, more like a moment of grace given to me. My great grandma had it right all along! I turned to her valuable groundwork and modified her recipe for my cancer treatments.
The problem with the recipes I did find on bone broth is they generally teach you to cook the broth for a mere 7 – 15 hours and with high heat none the less. It honestly shocked me to find this to be printed since high heat is the exact opposite of what is required to pull the proper nutrients from the bones. For the best of health benefits, my great grandma simmered the broth at a gentle roll for 72 hours. Other recipes I found all call for the use of ingredients that can wreak havoc on a cancer patient’s digestive tract, which suffers enough just from chemotherapy or radiation or surgery.
Nausea is dangerous, and this is a possible side effect of these other ingredients. Digestive havoc risks taxing the immune system and can lead to a visit to the ER and a possible interruption in treatment. Interruptions in treatment give cancer the upper hand, and you can’t let cancer win!
Let’s Get Started
The beef bones must simmer in a slow cooker (on low) for 72 hours. I tried 24 and 48 hours. It did not give me strength. The difference at 72 hours was remarkable. Also, after 72 hours the marrow bones were hollow like doughnuts (the marrow went into the broth). In addition, the bones look porous like they could easily be crushed, allowing for a most nutrient dense broth. This does not happen at shorter cooking times.
Equipment and Supplies
Slow cooker, I use Hamilton Beach 5-quart, the lid has the correct seal. Slow cooker lid – very important – make sure your slow cooker has a rubber gasket seal around the underside edge of the lid. This prevents excess evaporation. You don’t want to wake up the morning and find the bones above the water line. Also, without the rubber seal you’ll hear the clatter of the metal edge of the lid. The best seals for preventing evaporation look like solid rubber O-rings (not slit), called a gasket seal. Otherwise, you will be adding water every few hours.
I tried four different slow cookers before I realized the best seal, after several weeks of trial and error. There are numerous bone broth recipe sites, some will sell you a slow cooker, too. None warned me about the seal on the lid vs rapidly evaporating water. Luckily, my dad had an old Hamilton Beach 5-quart that I borrowed from him. The lid had the perfect O-ring gasket seal for minimal evaporation.
That’s how I learned about the seal. All my dozens of trips to and from different stores, only to discover Dad had the perfect slow cooker all along. I could have saved my time and strength. I’m hoping, by giving you these extra details, that you will benefit by saving yours. In cancer care, you have enough to do!
Some slow cookers have lid clamps. Clamps are nice but not necessary. Digital settings and timers are nice but not necessary. The only settings you really need are: Off and Low.
Be sure to check with your slow cooker manufacturer for how many hours cooking is safe and on what setting. Some say longer than 20 hours the stoneware could crack. Usually they mean on high setting. Never put slow cooker on high for bone broth, it is bad for the broth nutrients. I’ve used my dad’s Hamilton Beach 5-quart slow cooker since November 2015 with no issues, but everyone must make their own decision.
If I were to use the slow cooker for only 20 hours at a time, I’d buy a second slow cooker, transfer broth and bones after 20 hours, let the first cooker cool, then transfer broth back to it in 20 hours (after washing of course) and repeat. For my health, now and during cancer treatment, Aces Pink Bone Broth is worth the trouble!
Slow cooker stoneware and most lids are dishwasher safe (make sure per your user manual). It’s best to run them through a dishwasher for sanitation after you hand wash. I take the lid out before the dry cycle, mostly to preserve the rubber seal from the heat element. I sanitize the mason storage jars and all utensils in the dishwasher, too.
Beware Immune System Hazards
Cancer patients are more vulnerable to foodborne, viral or bacterial infections. Always take special precautions in the kitchen. One side effect of cancer treatment is cracked skin on the finger tips like many open paper cuts or finger nails lifting off their beds or completely falling off. Fortunately, I did not have this side effect, but if you do, then wear gloves for this recipe and other food prep. Please, promise me, keep aware in all things, don’t die from a paper cut.
Papers towels are your best friend, they’re sanitary. Expect lots of grease. Use paper towels to clean grease with soap and hot water before putting items in dishwasher. Do not use a sponge or dish towel. They will hold grease. Grease in the sponge (or trace amounts in your equipment) will turn rancid. Inspect crevices in all equipment for grit or grease. Throw out any sponge that has been used to wash grease or oils.
Dem Wonderful Beef Bones
I buy grass fed or organic beef bones. Look for marrow bones. Butchers tell me all bones have marrow but make sure s/he gives you some marrow bones. Shank cuts have marrow bones. Knuckle bones are good, too. Butchers are smart. And they will cut the bones smaller to fit your slow cooker if you ask them. Smaller is better, the greater the bone surface the greater the nutrients in the finished broth. Look for beef bones with the least fat or ask butcher to trim fat. I get beef bones from Whole Foods or online from a reliable source like American Farmers.
I’ve yet to try conventional bones but I’d never discourage them. A woman in Tequesta, FL emailed me to say she followed my recipe except used conventional bones. Whole Foods organic bones sold out so fast every week, she had no choice. Here is her email,
“I had been thinking you must have been put in my path for a reason, because I don’t know if I would have jumped on the bone broth had I not heard your story. And my mom thinks it’s a big reason for her success! (Her strength!) She got PET scan results last week that showed no signs of tumors or cancer, so she’s in remission! It’s the most we could have hoped for and she is back to her old self. Even played 18 holes of golf on Sunday which is taxing at any age.”
Plan on approximately 2 to 2 ½ lbs. of bones in a 5-quart slow cooker. This makes about 14 cups of bone broth. I drank 2 cups a day, occasionally 3 cups if I felt weak. The broth keeps a few days in the refrigerator. Immediately freeze whatever you are not going to drink in 2 days.
I used Ball mason jelly jars for storing and freezing the broth. They are very inexpensive. The 8 oz are easier for me to handle than the 16 oz. Also, I only freeze the 8 oz jars. The 16 oz sometimes cracked in my freezer, so I only used those for the refrigerated broth that I would drink in 2 days.
For flavor and additional nutrients, I only used organic “apple cider vinegar with the mother” (pulls out more minerals from the bone and apple cider vinegar is alkaline to the body), Real Salt (organic sea salt with additional minerals like Himalayan or Celtic salt), organic carrots, celery and fresh parsley.
Without carrots the broth might taste less pleasant. Also, chemo and other cancer therapies are known to possibly degrade eyesight or lead to pneumonia. Carrots are excellent for eyes and lungs. Celery has unique benefits which I’ll talk about more, perhaps for Valentine’s Day. Parsley is a brain food, but don’t overdo it. Herbs are potent, which is why we use them in small amounts. Avoid anything that might cause digestive distress, e.g., no onion, no garlic, no spices, no nothing! Except salt.
A very fine mesh strainer and cheese cloth to strain broth after it is done. I used a good shallow 5” fine mesh strainer. A deep strainer is much easier. The one I like is Matfer 17360 Exoglass Bouillon Strainer. It’s ladling beef broth heaven. A long handle ladle (non toxic) and drip free sauce pan.
Let’s Get Cooking Beef Bone Broth!
Total time: 72 hours
Servings: approximately 14 cups of bone broth
slow cooker 5-quart with gasket seal
fine mesh strainer, 5” shallow or a fine mesh deep strainer
8 oz mason jars or 16 oz
long handle ladle
drip free sauce pan
2 to 2 ½ lbs beef bones
2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
1 or 2 tsp salt
2 organic carrots chopped medium
2 organic celery stalks chopped medium
3 sprigs fresh organic parsley
1. Put 2 to 2 ½ lbs beef bones in a 5-quart slow cooker and cover with water up to where your slow cooker instructions say. Usually they say leave an inch from the top (trust them). I use ionized water but any good filtered water is fine.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes. This pulls more nutrients out of the bones into the broth.
3. After 30 minutes, add salt (1 or 2 tsp of either Real salt, Celtic salt or Himalayan salt)
4. Add 2 organic carrots chopped medium, 2 organic celery stalks chopped medium, 3 sprigs fresh organic parsley
(Carrots, celery and parsley can be added now or on the last day of cooking, or anytime in between; they only need a short time to pull out nutrient value.)
5. Turn slow cooker on Low.
NOTE: Do not allow the broth to come to a fast boil, therefore do not put on high. You are looking for a low simmer.
6. Simmer on Low setting for 72 hours.
During the first few hours of simmering, you’ll need to remove the impurities that float to the surface. A foamy layer will form and it can be easily scooped off with a big spoon. Throw this part away. Check every half hour for the first few hours to remove foam. Grass-fed or organic beef bones will produce much less foam than conventional bones and removing impurities is optional; they will burn off.
Also, scoop out chunks of fat, if any. Disgard.
Check water levels regularly. If more water is needed, heat water to almost a low simmer before adding. If you’re feeling fatigued or in a hurry, then add room temperature water. Your broth will be fine. Always keep the bones covered with water. Cover with water up to where your slow cooker instructions say.
7. After 72 hours turn slow cooker off and let cool approximately 30 minutes. Marrow bones often look hollow like a doughnut, then you know all marrow went into broth. Bones will look a bit porous. Broth can cook another day if, perchance like me, you don’t have time to turn it off and start ladling at that exact moment.
8. Ladle the broth through a very fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth (cheesecloth removes more fat) into a drip free saucepan. Then pour into your storage jars. Leave room at top to allow for expansion when frozen.
Yields approximately 14 cups of bone broth. Put 2 days of broth in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer. It is alkaline and I would not keep it more than 2 days in the fridge.
Once refrigerated or frozen you will see fat layer solidify on top of broth. Pop it off like a little frisbie and disgard. Do not eat it, it has no worthwhile nutrients. Save your fat quotient for healthier fats like cold pressed olive or coconut oil. Oils are life giving, don’t even think about skipping them.
After broth is refrigerated it should gel. If it doesn’t gel, that’s fine, it is still highly nutritious. Next time use more bones to get it to gel. Then you know it is highly nutrient dense. Either way, it’s good broth.
I drank 2 cups per day, occasionally 3 cups if I felt weak. One cup is one 8 oz mason jar.
Re-heating broth: Always bring to a low simmer for 2 minutes. This eliminates bacteria that may have begun to form during refrigerator storage. A healthy immune system would eliminate the minor bacteria which forms in most refrigerated alkaline foods. When in cancer treatment, do not take chances with your immune system, nor tax it unnecessarily. It has better things to do right now, like save your life. Patience, simmer 2 minutes.
When I reheat broth, I pour it through the fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth again, into the sauce pan. It catches tiny bits of fat or grit that may have come loose from the fat frisbie. Optional.
Approximate protein per cup is 7 grams.
Approximate calcium per cup is 40 grams.
The amount of protein, calcium and other nutrients varies depending on the size and type of bones.
Everyone is different. Please check with your doctor about drinking Aces Pink Bone Broth.
My recipe is for before, during and long after cancer treatment and until my strength and digestive tract are back to normal. My breast cancer treatments ended a year ago and I still need Aces Pink Bone Broth every day. And ImmPower to keep my immune system strong. And Garden of Life Green Superfood powder.
Get well. Stay well. You’re all Aces to me! All Pink Stars, Pink Diamonds!