Photo: Diana Bauman
A Cooking Tradition
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.
Minerals And Nutrients
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. 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.
By adding a couple tablespoons of vinegar to your broth it releases calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals from the bones.
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about homemade broth is the extraction of collagen or gelatin from the bones and joints.
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, gelatin has been researched to aid in the digestion of milk. The digestibility gelatin, as well as beans and meat, increased the utilization of the protein in wheat, oats, barley, and other gluten-containing grains.
Using Homemade Broth In Everything
Commercially bought stock is usually devoid of minerals and simply cannot compare to what can be made at home with the proper 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. It makes up the heart of dishes like reduction sauces, gravies, soups and stews.
I use broth in almost all of my dishes, especially when cooking rice, pasta, enchilada sauces, stews, chilis 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. 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 enchiladas or pulled chicken sandwiches. It’s super easy – throw it into a crock pot and walk away.
- Save, save, save your meat bones! After eating steaks and broiled meat, get into the habit of saving those bones in the freezer. After 3-4 pounds have been collected, you can make a batch of broth.
Really, it’s all about remembering to save 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!