One of my favorite nourishing practices is making my own bone broth.
I’ve been making my own chicken broth for quite some time as it’s something that’s been passed down through my mother. Usually by making puchero or paella. However, It’s only been since this last year that I started to learn about all of the health benefits of broth. I now make large batches of chicken and beef broth which I freeze in pint jars to use in almost all of my dishes. I’m still trying to find a good source of whole fresh fish to make fish stock. If you live near a coast, take advantage of fish and seafood 🙂
Broth or stock goes back centuries as a source of nourishment and for its medicinal properties. Made properly, broth contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily. By adding a couple tablespoons of vinegar to your broth it releases calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals from the bones. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons, like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, which are now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about homemade broth is the extraction of collagen or gelatin from the bones and joints.
Properly made broth will gell just like jell-0. The gelatin in broth itself has been noted to aid in digestion. According to Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease by Allison Siebecker, she notes that gelatin has been researched to aid in the digestion of milk. the digestibility of beans and meat, and that gelatin increased the utilization of the protein in wheat, oats and barley, all gluten containing grains.
To summarize, gelatin (broth) can be considered for use in the following conditions: food allergies, dairy maldigestion, colic, bean maldigestion, meat maldigestion, grain maldigestion, hypochlorhydria, hyperacidity (gastroesophageal reflux, gastritis, ulcer, hiatal hernia) inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, malnutrition, weight loss, muscle wasting, cancer, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency and anemia.
For an extensive list of all of the health benefits behind broth, please visit Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease by Allison Siebecker.
Commercially bought stock does not compare to what can be made at home with the proper bones. Usually devoid of minerals and sometimes not even made from bones. Making your own stock is simple, nourishing and frugal!
Besides the innumerable health benefits behind homemade broth, there is absolutely no substitute for it in your cooking. Behind every excellent chef and home cook is broth made from scratch. From reduction sauces, gravies, soups and stews, thought and time is put into the broth which makes up the heart of the dish. I use broth in almost all of my dishes. When cooking rice, pasta, enchilada sauces, stews, chili’s and gravy. When you start to think about everything that you incorporate water into, that’s when you can substitute it for homemade broth and benefit from all of the minerals and gelatin.
Where do you get your bones?
- I have been ordering them from grassfed cows from my family farmers. Ask for soup bones. You’ll get nice bones with bone marrow and slabs of meat, perfect for flavor.
- Instead of buying pre-cut chicken, get into the habit of buying whole chickens and cutting it up yourself. You’ll have the added benefit of adding the back pieces, neck and gizzards to your broth. (I have a great guest-post coming up on how to cut a chicken!) Make sure to save all of the pieces of bones. Or what I do is put an entire chicken into a pot and slow cook it all day and I will use that meat for enchilada’s or pulled chicken sandwiches. Super easy to throw into a crock pot and walk away 😉
- Save, Save, Save, meat bones! After eating steaks, broiled meat, get into the habit of saving those bones in the freezer. After 3 – 4 lbs have been collected, you can make a batch of broth.
Really, it’s just thinking about saving your bones and substituting broth into your meals. Sadly, this is a tradition that has gone by the wayside, but we can bring it back!
Here are a couple recipes for Bone Stock from Nourishing Traditions, with some alterations 😉
For chicken stock, definitely use chickens feet if you can find them! Seems gross and wierd, but they are full of gelatin! I also have my family farmers save these for me, I think they’re great! 😀
- 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 – 3lbs of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings.
- gizzards from one chicken (optional)
- feet from the chicken (optional)
- 4 quarts filtered water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 large onion, coursely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 bunch parsley
If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them – they are full of gelatin. (Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth. Farm raised, free-range chickens will give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.
Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to an hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
Remove whole chicken or pices with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses.
Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.
Good beef stock must be made with several sorts of bones: knuckle bones and feet impart large quantities of gelatin to the broth; marrow bones impart flavor and the particular nutrients of bone marrow; and meaty rib or neck bones add color and flavor.
- about 4lbs beef marrow and knuckle bones
- 1 calves foot, cut into pieces (optional, ask your family farmer to reserve you a calves foot and asked to be cut in 1 inch cubes)
- 3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones
- 4 or more quarts cold filtered water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 3 onions, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 celery sticks chopped
- several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
- 1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns, crushed
- 1 bunch parsley
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon
Place the knuckle and marrow bones and optional calves foot in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water. Let stand for one hour.
Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees in the oven. When well browned, add to the pot along with the vegetables. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan and add 4 tbls of tomato paste and 1 cup of red wine to the pan, set over a high flame and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen up coagulated juices. Add this liquid to the pot. Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking.
Bring to a boil. A large amount of scum will come to the top, and it is important to remove this with a spoon. After you have skimmed, reduce heat and add the thyme and peppercorns.
Simmer stock for at least 12 hours and as long as 72 hours. Just before finishing, add the parsley and simmer another 10 minutes.
Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl. Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top. Transfer to smaller containers and to the freezer for long-term storage.
I hope you enjoy this nourishing practice as much as I do!
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