What is Broth?
Broth (or technically, stock) is a mineral rich infusion made by boiling bones of healthy animals with vegetables, herbs and spices. It is also a powerful health tonic that you can easily add to your family’s diet.
Broth is a traditional food that your grandmother likely made often (and if not, your great-grandmother definitely did). Many societies around the world still consume broth regularly as it is a cheap and highly nutrient dense food.
Why is it good for you?
1. Excellent source of minerals and is known to boost the immune system (chicken soup when you are sick anyone?)
2. Often used to improve digestion, because of the gelatin, collagen, nutrient value and is easily digested by the body.
3. Its high calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus content make it great for bone and tooth health.
4. Bone broth also supports joints, hair, skin, and nails due to its high collagen content.
5. Some people even suggest that it helps eliminate cellulite as it supports smooth connective tissue.
It can be made from the bones of beef, bison, lamb, poultry, or fish, and vegetables and spices are often added.
6. Can improve allergies, immune health, brain health, and much more: Gut and Psychology Syndrome.
7. Bone broth can even remineralize teeth.
8. Broth is also helpful to have on hand when anyone in the family gets sick as it can be a soothing and immune boosting drink during illness, even if the person doesn’t feel like eating.
9. Broth is very high in the amino acids proline and glycine which are vital for healthy connective tissue (ligaments, joints, around organs, etc). The Paleo Mom has a great explanation of the importance of these two amino acids.
Homemade vs Store-bought:
Homemade, nutrient dense bone broth is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make. There is no comparison to the store-bought versions which often contain MSG or other chemicals and which lack gelatin and some of the other health-boosting properties of homemade broth.
In selecting the bones for broth, look for high quality bones from grass fed cattle or bison, pastured poultry, or wild caught fish. Since you’ll be extracting the minerals and drinking them in concentrated form, you want to make sure that the animal was as healthy as possible.
Taste: The taste of broth depends on the ingredients. It is usually quite mild in flavour, but hearty and meaty at the same time. Flavour can be intesified by roasting or browning off the bones before cooking them into stock. This gives the broth a darker amber colour and a rich depth to the flavour.
Texture: The texture is a thin soup, or when there is lots of gelatin and collagen in the bones it can set like a jelly.
Bone broth is very versatile! You can use it as a stock for meals. A base for delicious soups. It can be drunk on its own. Broth can also be used to make sauces and gravy.
Where can I find good bones for stock?
- Save leftovers from when you roast a chicken, duck, turkey, or goose (pastured)
- From a local butcher, especially one who butchers the whole animal
- From local farmers who raise grass fed animals (ask around at your local Farmer’s Market)
How do I make broth at home?
Making broth at home is very simple, and with the help of a slow cooker it can be easy. Simply use water, spices, herbs, vegetables and bones plus vinegar (apple cider vinegar or kombucha work well). Using an acid helps the bones to release their minerals more efficiently. Slowly cook all of these ingredients together over a long period of time (some do 3 hours on the stove, or up to 30 hours in the slow cooker) this helps to draw out all of the valuable minerals and nutrients that are stored in the bones and makes them easy for the body to digest. Simply strain, and cool and skim off the fat (I use the fat for cooking) and it is ready to be consumed as a drink, or stored (fridge or freezer are both good options).
Broth is a cheap way to add nutrients to your diet. It also gives food a unique home-cooked taste, while eliminating nasties that can be in store-bought stocks. While rich in minerals it helps to repair and maintain the gut, connective tissues and joints. Making broth is also a good way to use cuttings of vegetables and bones that would otherwise go to waste.