Feb 25 2011
Bones. I love them. Years ago, I used to throw them out. For shame! I didn’t know any better. But now I save every last one. I even buy them on their own, big bags of them. Soup bones, oxtail, and marrow bones. So full of goodness. Before I adopted a real foods diet, I used powdered broth and those MSG-laden boullion cubes. I cringe just thinking about it. It was the easy and naive way out. I thought, who has time to make broth from scratch? Little did I know the immense health benefits, the flavour difference (there is simply NO comparison) and just how little work making bone broth from scratch really was.
My daughter and I have been on the GAPS diet for a little over 3 weeks now. For those that don’t know, homemade bone broth and meat stock are the back bone (pun intended) to the success of this diet. Bone broth is teaming with gelatin, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, fat soluble vitamins and minerals and so much more. Sounds like the ingredients in an expensive supplement, doesn’t it? All of those substances are very soothing and healing to the gut lining. There is a reason why chicken soup is called Jewish Penicillin! Don’t we all crave soup when we are sick? Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride also recommends drinking bone broth to help ease queasy tummies and deliver super digestible nutrition when it’s needed fast. Stock also provides hydrophilic colloids the the diet. According to Sally Fallon-Morell, in her cookbook Nourishing Traditions, the hydrophilic colloids attract digestive juices for rapid and effective digestion. She also says, “Modern research has confirmed that broth helps prevent and mitigate infectious diseases. The wise food provider, who uses gelatin-rich broth on a daily or frequent basis, provides continuous protection from many health problems.”
Traditional people all over the world knew the wisdom in using bones as well. In fact, along with the fat and organ meats, the bones were highly prized, even more so than the muscle meat. Every part of the animal was used. Bone marrow is especially nutrient dense. I have another wonderful book by Jennifer McLagan called Bones. In it, she has several recipes for bone marrow and she tells us that marrow contains fat, iron, phosphorous, and vitamin A, with trace amounts of thiamin and niacin. Interestingly, marrow was used in place of butter during the Middle Ages. It is easily digested and was recommended for sickly children. So, include marrow bones in your stock if eating it on toast does not appeal to you!
GAPS patients have damaged gut linings, so it is important that we consume as much bone broth and meat stock as possible. At least 1 cup per day or more. I use stock in everything. It’s not just for soup! You can use it to cook beans in (lentils, navy and lima beans are all GAPS legal), use it to cook potatoes, rice or pasta instead of water, or make a reduction sauce. These GAPS days we aren’t using grains or potatoes, but squash or cauliflower mashed with broth and butter is really delicious! Bone broth can be made out of any bones. Raw, or cooked. Any poultry, beef, pork, lamb, bison, non-oily fish bones, even the shells of lobster, crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, etc. will work. You may even mix bones if you like. I like to keep a large ziplock bag in the freezer to collect bones from our dinners. Once the bag is full, I make stock! By simmering the bones and shells for long periods (12 hrs +), you are releasing many of the minerals contained in those bones into the broth.
BASIC CHICKEN/BEEF STOCK
- 1 whole chicken, or several pounds of bones (including necks, backs, wings, feet, head, oxtail, marrow bones, etc.) – free range, organic, or pastured is best
- Cold filtered water
- 2 TBS vinegar
- 1 large onion/leek
- several carrots, washed and coarsely chopped
- stalks of celery, including tops, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch of parsley
1. Place your whole chicken, or the bones into your pot and fill to cover all the bones with cold, filtered water. You can use a big stainless steel pot, your crock pot, or a beautiful Le Crueset enamled pot (which maybe one day I’ll own). But please, no teflon or aluminum. It is essential to start all stocks with cold water. As the ingredients slowly warm in the water, the fibers open slowly, releasing their juices to add flavour (from Nourishing Traditions). If you are using raw beef bones, roasting them first in the oven will greatly enhance the flavour of your stock.
2. Add the vinegar into the water along with all of the chopped veggies, except the parsley. Let stand for 30 min. to 1 hour. Bring the water to a boil, and remove any scum that rises to the top. Cover the pot, and reduce the heat to a slow simmer for 24 to 48 hours. The longer your stock is simmered, the more minerals are released from the bones. If you are using a whole chicken, remove the chicken after a couple hours of cooking to remove the meat. Place the bones back in the pot again to continue cooking. Beef stock will take longer to make than chicken, because the bones are much thicker. I have been know to let my beef stock simmer away for 72 hours. The chicken bones will almost always be soft enough to crush in your hands.
3. Add the chopped parsley during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. The parsley adds more mineral ions into the broth.
4. After your stock has cooled to the touch, strain out the bones and veggies and toss into the composter. I leave the fat in my stocks, but you can remove it if you like. Place the stock into jars, freezer safe containers, or freeze some into ice cube trays to pull out for those occasions when you only need a small amount.
Making bone broth is not rocket science. What you will have in your pot at the end of 24-48 hours, is liquid gold. The buried treasure at the bottom of the pot are those wonderful little blobs of marrow, bits of chewy cartilage, and moist, tender meat.
My hope for you is that you incorporate broth making into your weekly regimen. Your body will thank you for it.