I love summer because of the bounty of good food, especially produce from local farmers. But the heat just isn't for me. I get grumpy when it's too hot, and when that happens, the last thing I want to do is eat a bowl of soup. While bone broth is a staple of my diet, and is full of essential nutrients, I just can't bring myself to eat soup in the summertime. Luckily, there are other ways to get some of the goodness of broth, like the collagen, from a few other foods that work better in the hot weather. Many of them are picnic- and camping-friendly, too!
1. Jello and Gummies
Getting collagen in the diet can be hard without broth, but making homemade jello and gummies is a fun alternative. They are made with gelatin powder, so you get the benefit of collagen, proline, glutamine and glycine like you would find in broth.
For jello, I use 2 cups fruit juice or fruit puree, 2 cups water, 2 Tbs honey and 2 Tbs gelatin powder. Bring the water to a boil and add in the gelatin to dissolve. Stir in the juice and honey, then pour into a baking dish. Let cool slightly then transfer to the fridge to set. For gummies, increase the amount of gelatin for a firmer texture. Vital Proteins, which is one brand of gelatin I like, has plenty of recipes on their website here. I have a gummy bear mold to make perfect bite-sized treats full of collagen! Besides Vital Proteins, I also like Great Lakes Gelatin, which comes in beef or pork.
2. Picnic-Ready Organ Meats
Bone broth is so great because it is a great source of the amino acid glycine, which can be hard to get in a modern diet. Luckily, organ meats like liver and heart are also sources. These organ meats are also higher in vitamins and minerals like folate, iron, B12, A and D than regular muscle meats, so they are overall more nutrient dense. But, in the summer, you can take the easy way with less cooking to get in your nutrient-dense organ meats. For a picnic or camping trip, you can pack some braunschweiger, summer sausage(the one I buy has beef heart in it!) or pate to take along and spread on crackers or crusty sourdough baguette. These are made with organ meats, getting you the vitamins and minerals you need, and often have a collagen casing for an added nutritional bonus. I get mine from a local butcher shop, Underground Meats, which uses local, pasture-raised animals for their meat treats.
3. Sardines with Skin and Bones
Sardines are already one of my favorite go-to foods because they are easy to prepare and full of flavor. But in the summer, they stand in for warm broth and soups because of their nutritional content as well. The sardines themselves are high in protein, CoQ10, and minerals like iodine and selenium, but when the skin and bones are left on, you also get the benefit of the amino acid glutamine and glycine, as well as calcium from consuming the edible bones. If sardines aren't your bag, you can also use canned salmon that has skin and bones as well. Either way, throw them on a salad, mix with mayo for a spread or eat right out of the can for an easy summer meal full of nutrition.
4. Pork Rinds
It may seem weird for health food blog to promote pork rinds, but I think it totally fits. Also known as chicharrones, they are essentially just crisped pork skin, which is obviously high in collagen and protein. You can get a similar benefit from eating chicken with the skin on, but these are more of a treat and great for summer road trips. Sometimes they are fried in unhealthy oils, so avoid those if you can, but often you can find them baked or cooked in lard. If you find a source of pastured pork you can make your own (here's my recipe), or look for brands at health food stores that source good pork, like Epic. These are a great snack or alternative to chips, and great for dipping into guacamole or fresh salsa!
5. Smoothies with Collagen
I am not a big believer in smoothies, especially as a meal replacement. This is for many reasons, but like any of my food opinions, there are always exceptions to the rule. When you make a smoothie and add in a scoop of collagen hydrolysate (aka collagen peptides), you are bumping up the nutrition content of your smoothie, and making it a summertime substitute for some of the nutrients you would find in your cold weather broth. There is also bone broth powder out now, which you could also throw in your smoothie, but it might affect the flavor so keep that in mind. Vital Proteins, Great Lakes, Jarrow, Bulletproof, and Ancient Nutrition are all brands that make collagen and bone broth supplements, which unlike gelatin powder, can be tossed right in your smoothie with no heating required. I think this would also work well added in to homemade ice cream, for an amazing summer dessert. For an even easier collagen boost that requires no preparation on your part, companies like Primal Kitchen even make protein bars with collagen powder as the main source of protein, so you have an on-the-go option for getting in your collagen protein as well.
6. Desserts Made with Gelatin Powder
The use of gelatin in the kitchen is not limited to jiggly jello or chewy gummies. There are plenty of other recipes, especially desserts, that traditionally use gelatin as a thickener, so making these in the summer can be another tasty way to get the gut-healing benefits of gelatin. One of my favorites is panna cotta, which a great summer dessert because you don't have to heat up your oven, and it can be topped with fresh berries that are in season. You could also make homemade fudgesicles with gelatin powder for a nice frozen treat. I absolutely love homemade marshmallows, which get their interesting texture in part from the gelatin. Of course, in the summer this is a hit because you can make the tastiest, most nutritious (yeah, I said it) s'mores ever. Some collagen-rich marshmallows, dark chocolate and organic graham crackers, and you are good to go--I use the recipe from the Urban Poser blog, which are sweetened with honey or maple syrup.
7. Fermented and Raw Dairy
Bone broth is not just great because of the collagen, glycine and glutamine. but also because it is so high in minerals. Another way to get those bone-building minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus is in fermented (or raw) dairy. Yogurt, kefir, aged cheese, cultured butter or raw milk are all mineral-rich foods and easier to digest than pasteurized milk. I like to make my ice cream with raw milk and cream, or even use some buttermilk if raw milk is unavailable. For dairy-free folks, use broccoli and other dark green calcium-rich veggies, sprouted nuts and seeds, avocado and mineral water like Gerolsteiner to get your mineral needs met.
Brine & Broth
I am a gut health-focused nutritionist and online health coach based in Southwest Wisconsin. My recipes and philosophies center around traditional, nutrient-dense foods that support robust gut health.