bone broths

bone broths

If you follow food trends, you’ll already be acquainted with these two words: bone broth. When this first hit our radar last year, we did an interview with the only local producer selling this product in the city under this buzzword name at the time. Since then, the commercially-sold options have multiplied as interest and demand continues to rise. And while for us, nothing can match or replace the bone-based soups made by our mothers and their mothers before them, let’s face it, not everyone has the luxury of time (or interest) to make their own, nor access to a mama’s homemade version.

So with that said, here is a round-up of bone broths produced by local commercial makers that are currently available in Vancouver. We gathered our team of testers, whose dietary needs and preferences vary greatly (including one on a ketogenic diet), to taste each of the broths – four beef bone broths, five chicken bone broths. The results are summarized below in the notes for each. 

Taste Test 1: Beef Bone Broth

Boned Broth
Cost: $8.99 / 500ml
Packaging: Paper soup container
Appearance: Bright yellow fat is visible in both solid and liquid form. Note this product arrived frozen, and remained nearly fully frozen in our fridge after 2.5 days, so do keep this in mind for preparation time.
What’s in it: Water, carrots*, celery*, onion*, parsnip*, leeks*, garlic*, grass-fed beef bones, tomato paste*, spices* (Boned Broth blend of 6 herbs and spices), pure white vinegar, sea salt. (*organic)
Tasting Notes: Peppery taste, seasoned subtlety. Oily mouthfeel and slightly acidic finish. Strong spices come through, gives the impression this product is intended to be consumed as is/ready-to-drink.

The Stock Market
Cost: $12.00 / 500ml
Packaging: Freezable, resealable plastic pouch
Appearance: Cloudy, milky pale yellow. Visible separation/settling.
What’s in it: Water, grass fed beef bones, grass fed beef chuck, organic carrots, organic leeks, organic onions, organic garlic, white wine vinegar, thyme, clove, bay leaf, black pepper
Tasting Notes: Immediately and recognizably tastes of natural beef bone flavor. No oiliness in mouthfeel, tastes clean, natural and straight up, and most literally like beef bone.

Pure Bone Broth
Cost: $11.99 / 750ml
Packaging: Freezable, resealable plastic pouch (may be susceptible to leaking during thawing, as we lost half the product when we left it in fridge to thaw)
Appearance: rich dark brown (like the start of a roux/gravy)
What’s in it: Filtered water, grass-fed beef bones, carrots*, onions*, celery*, ginger*, apple cider vinegar*, parsley*, thyme*, bay leaf*, black peppercorns*, himalayan salt. (*organic)
Tasting Notes: Aroma comes off as “mushroomy”. Very beefy/meaty in taste. Strongest in flavor.

The Bone Broth Bar
Cost: $10.00 / 750ml
Packaging: Reinforced resealable plastic pouch
Appearance: The only one to appear gelatinous (high collagen content indicator) prior to heating. Piece of solid bone/fat in it
What’s in it: essence of 100% grass fed beef bones, organic tomatoes, organic leeks, organic carrots, organic onions, organic celery, bay leaves, organic thyme, black peppercorns
Tasting Notes: Smells pleasant. Thin, watery. While the flavor is light, our testers all agreed this broth was well-rounded in its profile and described it as tasting like the beginnings of a hearty stew. 

Our overall favorite beef bone broth:

Really close between Bone Broth Bar and The Stock Market. Overall consensus, the simpler the ingredient list, the better. Also, because we aren’t accustomed to beefy flavor without saltiness, we’d be inclined to add salt to each of them.

Taste Test 2: Chicken Bone Broth

Boned Broth
Cost: $8.99 / 500ml
Packaging: Lined paper tub/hot soup container
Appearance: Thin, watery consistency laced with bright yellow fat content.
What’s in it: Water, carrots*, celery*, onion*, parsnip*, leeks, garlic*, free-run chicken bones, spices (boned broth blend of 4 herbs and spices), pure white vinegar, sea salt. (*organic)
Tasting Notes: Tastes most like trying to be a stand-alone soup quality; one tester found the spices overpowering reminiscent of a curry flavor. Those looking for a ready-to-go, soup-like flavor profile would likely enjoy this.

The Stock Market
Cost: $8.00 / 500 ml
Packaging: Freezable, resealable plastic pouch
Appearance: Pale milky/cloudy
What’s in it: Water, chicken bones and/or whole chickens, onions, celery, leeks, carrots, fresh garlic, fresh parsley, thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorns, cloves, sea salt.
Tasting Notes: This one was the most neutral in flavor, and somehow the most polarizing. Half our testers liked this the best, half didn’t take to it.

Pure Bone Broth
Cost: $11.99 / 750ml
Packaging: Plastic bag (product delivered frozen, susceptible to leaking during thawing)
Appearance: Golden yellow
What’s in it: Filtered water, chicken bones* (neck, back, feet), carrots*, onions*, celery*, apple cider vinegar*, parsley*, rosemary*, thyme*, bay leaf*, black peppercorns*, himalayan salt. (*organic)
Tasting Notes: Aroma comes off “mushroomy”, similar to their beef broth.

The Bone Broth Bar
Cost: $10.00 / 750ml
Packaging: Reinforced, resealable plastic pouch
Appearance: Looks fatty and full-bodied when poured.
What’s in it: Essence of 100% pastured chicken bones, organic leeks, organic carrots, organic onions, organic celery, bay leaves, organic thyme, black peppercorns
Tasting Notes: Good chicken flavor, tastes natural.

Cost: $4.50 / 250 ml (available at Urban Fare, Juicery Co., Body Energy Club)
Packaging: Glass jar
Appearance: Most conventional, easily identifiable as chicken broth in color and consistency
What’s in it: Organic-fed chicken broth (made with chickens, chicken bones and chicken feet), organic apples, organic thyme, organic onion, pickling spice, sea salt & pepper.
Tasting Notes: Great for those who enjoy bolder aromatics (a couple of our testers found the thyme too much for them.) Tastes the most balanced in saltiness/seasoning, it comes clearly across as the most finished, ready-to-drink product. *NB: the owners of Kitskitchen, in promoting sustainable practices, choose to not use beef products, therefore no beef bone broth was tested.

Our overall favorite chicken bone broth:

Our taste buds, accustomed to salt-seasoned soups, gravitated instinctively to the chicken broths over the beef. That said, the Bone Broth Bar chicken broth came through unanimously as the most well-rounded.

If you’re interested in some ideas on what to add to bone broths to enhance the flavor to your individual preference, The Stock Market likes ginger, cayenne, fresh lemon juice, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper. If you visit Home on the Range Organics for your in-store cup of Bone Broth Bar sippers, they have an interesting garnish menu to choose from.

For more information on nutritional content, health benefits, and where to purchase, visit each vendor’s website for details. Have you tried these bone broths or others? Or do you have your own favorite you feel we should know about? Let us know in the comments.

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