Grandma hit the nail on the head when she recommended chicken noodle soup for flu and cold, but the benefits of consuming broth or stock go much further than that. When properly prepared, broth/stock contains a plethora of nutrients which are beneficial to our health in a multitude of ways!
Broth or stock, can be used interchangeably according to the dictionary, but there may be those who argue the definition. I will use them interchangeably!
Bone broth is a rich bone-building supplement containing the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. Because it is so rich in these substances, it is especially good for growing children, those with mending bones and women who fear for their bone density or are in any stage of osteopenia or osteoporosis. It may also be useful in the remineralization of teeth. It also helps to contribute to body alkalinity because of its high mineral content.
It also contains gelatin, you know, the stuff that makes Jello jiggle. Gelatin is high in the amino acids glycine,proline and arginine, as well as containing other amino acids. It is useful as an aid to digestion and has been used to aid in the healing of disease like Crohn’s and colitis. The amino acids found in broth are needed to build connective tissue, making it beneficial for hair, skin, nails, muscle, cartilage and ligament growth. It is good for the skin and may keep wrinkles from appearing. If that isn’t enough these amino acids also fight inflammation in the body.
Have I sold you on the merits of bone broth yet? It is a superfood from years gone by. This is a low budget supplement you just can’t afford to miss out on. It is easy to make, but will take some time.
· 2 - 3 lb of meaty bones
· 1 lb of marrow bones
· 4 or more quarts of cold water
· ½ cup vinegar (I use apple cider)
· 1 or 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
· 3-4 carrots, coarsely chopped
· 3-4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
· 3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
· 1 sheet of seaweed for added minerals and iodine (optional, of course)
· 2-4 bay leaves
· spices such as basil, thyme, etc. (your preference, in amount preferred)
· 2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
· Black pepper to taste
If you use a slow cooker to make stock you will find less need to babysit and you may be more comfortable leaving it unattended than if made on a stove. Either method will work.
Using a combination of bones gives your stock more rounded characteristics; the meaty bones impart flavor and colour, while the marrow bones offer their own goodness. While the meaty bones are roasting, add the marrow bones, vinegar and some of the cold water to the slow cooker, but do not turn it on yet. Doing this will begin to leach minerals from the bones. Roast the meaty bones at 350C until browned, about 1 ½ hr to impart more flavor to the broth. Place the browned bones into the slow-cooker or large pot along with vegetables and spices, topping up with water. Deglaze the roasting pan with water, and add this to the slow cooker or soup pot. Turn the slow cooker up or pot on high, bring to a boil, skim any scum that may form on top and reduce heat to low. Simmer the stock for at least 12 hours, and as long as 72 hours.
Allow broth to cool, until manageable, then remove the bones and strain into a large bowl or another pot. Place strained broth in the refrigerator or outdoors (in the winter this is my favourite method) to further cool and allow fat to congeal on surface. Remove fat and transfer to smaller containers for storage.
The broth can be kept in the fridge for 5-7 days, or placed in the freezer for long-term storage.
For Chicken Broth or Turkey Broth follow the same method, replacing the beef bones with 2-3 lb of bony chicken parts (backs, necks, wings, carcasses all work well). Again, I like to roast these bones for added flavor in my broth. You may want to freeze the carcasses from several roast chickens to be made into one big batch of stock at a later date. Cook this stock for 6-24 hours.
Now that you have this rich stock, you may warm it and drink it from a mug (maybe replace your morning coffee) or make delicious soups with added nutrition.