Vegetarians look away now, talk of bones and carcasses is imminent.
With the onset of the cooler months here in NZ, I have already been cracking out the casseroles and soups using my broth bases. So I decided that it was timely to pop up a wee post about one of my favourite ways to reduce waste and keep healthy at the same time.
When you hear the words bone broth, it probably doesn’t immediately conjure up pictures of health. But that is exactly what broth is; a fabulously versatile, nutrient dense and not to mention cost effective, healthful food.
Sometimes termed as stock or broth (if you are a bit of a hipster right now), regardless of what you call it, it is simple to make at home and also reduces waste by reusing bones from leg roasts or chicken carcasses – or you can ask your butcher for some joint or big marrow bones. I am sure you’ll agree, that if the animal is dying for our use, we should endeavour to use all of it.
So, what is so nutritionally great about broth, the following is by no means an exhaustive list either.
You will have heard the old tale to have chicken soup when you feel ill; there is evidence to prove this - when the soup is made using a ‘real’ broth or stock base, made from healthy chicken bones. Chicken contains the amino acid cysteine which helps us be rid of mucus and bones are full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, all great for our immune systems and our own bones.
The long slow cooking process is thought to extract gelatin, collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin from cartilage, tendons and bones – natural joint, inflammation and arthritis associated pain relief, as well as being good for our hair and nails too - why pay for supplements when it is so readily available to us, pretty much for free.
Broths have been associated with improved outcomes for some sufferers with digestive disorders as well (crohns, colitis etc) as it can aid in restoring the lining of the gut – and as we know up to 80% of our immunity is in our gut, so we must look after it.
I could go on, but let’s cut to just how simple it is to make and how to use it.
Take your chosen bones/carcasses (some people add chicken feet for extra gelatin).
If they are raw, roasting them for 30 minutes will impart better flavour, but not compulsory.
Put them in the slow cooker, cover with water, add some Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV reportedly helps extract the minerals). You can simply leave as is if you wish, however I always add carrots, onion, celery stalks (keep leaves, tops and peelings in the freezer until you are ready to make your stock/broth), peppercorns, bay leaf and rosemary combinations to boost the flavour.
You could leave this to simmer away on low for up to 3 days – but at least until the bones have become softened - generally about 12 hours on low in a slow-cooker.
Sieve and leave the liquid to cool, scrape the fat off, (if it sets to a jelly like consistency it is fabulously full of gelatin), use immediately or freeze in usable portions a muffin tin is a good way to freeze single serves.
Some people drink a cup a day, more appealing may be to use it as a ready-made base for soups and casseroles, too easy.
Nutritionist. Kiwi. freestyle cook. positive. simple. clean. food. wellness. health. nature. soul. holistic.