The popularity of bone broths is huge at the moment. That old fashioned way of using the bones left over and then boiling them until all the goodness is extracted has now been proven to be beneficial. My mother always referred to Chicken Soup as “Jewish Penicillin” because without fail, whenever one of us was sick Mum would make a big pot of chicken soup. Her response…”They only discovered that now? We have known it for thousands of years!”
It is pretty funny, what goes out of vogue comes back in in a few years time.
In the 1950′s a Japanese researcher discovered a new taste called “umami” from a chemical called free glutamic acid in kombu and from there monosodium glutamate or MSG was born. Before long it took the place of good old fashioned stock that housewives would cook every week with left over bones and vegetable scraps. But what these geniuses of the food industry didn’t realize when they told housewives to stop slaving over a hot stove and just buy ready made stock was that they threw the baby out with the bathwater. They removed the best thing about it and replaced it with MSG nowadays carefully disguised as hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed protein, yeast extract and soy protein isolate with the E Number of 621.
Soon after its discovery MSG made possible the huge changes that occurred in the Western diet especially after World War 2 and that’s because it gave the food industry a cheap way to imitate broth. Stock cubes today are often made up entirely of MSG rather than actual real stock. But the sad thing is that the real stock we did away with was rich nutrients and was replaced with an entirely man made, artificial list of ingredients more at home in a chemical plant than on our plates. Today we are witnessing an epidemic of chronic disease that is poised to cripple our society – cancer, arthritis, allergies, digestive disorders, mental disorders, life threatening infectious illness.
Bone broth is rich in cartilage, collagen and healing amino acids which can protect us against these illnesses, help us recover from them and nourish our lives and our health. Because of the Paleo and other Wholefood eating movements bone broth has come back into the limelight. All you need are some bones and a slow cooker and you are away! It is rich in dissolved collagen,cartilage, bone and marrow and science agrees in it is indeed nourishing.
Broth can give our bones strength and flexibility, our joints resilience, our skin a youthful plumpness! The collagen in bone broth supports heart health with stronger arteries, our vision with healthy corneas, digestion with gut healing and overall disease prevention with immune system modulation. It can even help emotional stability and a positive mental attitude.
Bone Broth has a role in preventing and even treating
- rheumatoid arthritis
- wound healing
- infectious disease
- digestive disorders
Daily requirements vary from person to person and they increase with age, disease, physical activity and stress. Brittle hair and nails, underdeveloped musculature, premature skin ageing, osteoporosis, gut disorders and auto immune disorders are sure signs of deficiencies in collagen and other nutrients which can be helped with good old fashioned bone broth.
In my clinic as you may know I see a lot of children with allergies, eczema, digestive disorders and food intolerances. After treating the main symptom and alleviating any pain or discomfort, I always want to go deeper to heal the gut. For a Naturopath, the gut IS the seat of health, not only does it digest and assimilate nutrients but it holds 80% of your immune cells, hosts your almost 2 kg of gut bacteria (gut bacteria cells out number body cells) and communicates with your brain.
Bone broth is usually better tolerated than supplements and pot of bone stock can be frozen in individual ice cube or muffin trays to be added to soups, sauces, stews, casseroles, stir fries and curries. Literally anything that requires stock.
If you want to know more I highly recommend the book “Nourishing Broth” by Sally Fallon Morell
A Recipe for Fresh Chicken Broth
To prepare a wholesome, mineral-rich chicken broth, you’ll need a heavy-bottomed stock pot as well as a fine mesh sieve. I keep kitchen scraps: carrot peelings, onion ends, celery leaves and bits of leek in a gallon-sized plastic bag in my freezer. While some purists insist that broth should not be prepared from vegetable scraps, I find that doing so cuts down on kitchen waste and expense. There’s value in finding a use for every item in your kitchen.
- Add the whole chicken to a heavy-bottomed stock pot, cover with vegetable scraps, bay leafs and peppercorns.
- Cover with very cold filtered water into which you’ve stirred two tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for four to six hours – skimming off any scum or foam that appears at the surface.
- After four to six hours of slow, gentle simmering, remove the pot from heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve or a colander lined with 100% cotton cheesecloth into jars or bowls to store.
- Refrigerate and cool until the broth sets into a firm gel.
Ingredients ( Chicken Broth )
- 1 whole pasture-raised chicken (rinsed, cleaned with organs removed)
- 2 chicken feet (peeled with talons removed, if you can find them)
- 1 gallon miscellaneous vegetable scraps (onions, carrots, celery, fresh parsley, leeks)
- 2-3 dried bay leafs
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- filtered water (to cover)
A Recipe for Beef Broth
- Rinse and clean the bones under clean water. Pat them dry.
- Roast the bones at 400 ° F for about an hour until the bones are well-browned and fragrant. Roasting the bones ensures a good flavor in the resulting beef stock. Failure to do so may lend a sour or off-taste to the end product.
- Once the bones are browned, drain off any fat.
- Add the bones to a big pot along with any vegetable scraps you might have. Avoid using brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, turnips, brussels sprouts etc.) as these vegetables will lend a bitter flavor to your stock. Instead, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery add great flavor.
- Add filtered water to cover and bring to a boil. Once you’ve brought the water to a boil, add the vinegar and bay leafs.
- Turn down the heat and continue to simmer for several hours. I usually simmer mine about 24 hours.
- Throughout the cooking process, skim off any foam and add water as needed.
- When the stock is finished simmering, filter through a fine mesh seive and bottle in mason jars. The stock should set just like gelatin, and the fat should rise to the top.
- Pick off the fat and reserve it for cooking, then scoop out the gelled stock and reheat to serve as soup. Note that it’s wise to serve this stock very hot as it may gel again once it cools.
Ingredients ( Beef Stock )
- Several Pounds of Grass-finished Beef Soup Bones (I routinely use 5-8 lbs)
- A freezer bag full of vegetable scraps (carrot peelings, onion tops, celery leaves etc. Don’t use brassicas or beets as they contribute an off-taste to the beef stock.)
- Fresh, filtered water.
- 2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
- 2-3 Bay Leafs