Now that it’s winter time (and the start of the Whole 30 challenge, for those taking part) it’s the perfect time for stockin’ up. No, I’m not talking about Stacken Blochen, the comical German game show, I’m talking about bone stock. What is bone stock? Bone stock is the product of cooking animal bones (chicken / beef / bison / pork, etc.) with seasonings (salt, pepper, thyme, etc) and possibly vegetables (carrots, onions, etc) for an extended period of time in hot water, usually 8-24 hours. This cooking method extracts lots of calcium, minerals, gelatin, amino acids from the bones and makes a delicious and highly nutrient dense liquid. If you are trying to be healthy and eat real food, adding bone stock to your repertoire is a big plus. You can buy beef or chicken stock from the store, but unless that stock is made from traditional long cooking methods as described in the section below, it will lack all the health benefits of making your own home made bone stock. One exception I have found that is readily available is the bone broth from US Wellness Meats. I’m sure there are others as well that I am not aware of.
Bone stock is a traditional food that has been valued by cultures around the world for generations for its health and healing properties. Traditionally prepared bone stock supports joint health, healthy skin and hair, bones and teeth, and gut health. Dr. Cate Shanahan goes so far as to say “Glucosamine-rich broth is a kind of youth serum, capable of rejuvenating your body, no matter what your age” (Cate Shanahan ‘Deep Nutrition’ pg. 135). While the health properties of bone stock have been innately known by cultures around the world for generations, there is now research supporting its health properties as well. One example is a recent study that found chicken stock contains anti-inflammatory mechanisms that ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (e.g. there is science behind chicken soup treating a cold).
Not only is bone stock a traditional and deeply nutritious food, it is incredibly delicious. When drunk right out of the pot or slow cooker after done preparing it, it tastes deeply nourishing and satisfying. Stock can then be used when making soups and stews, sautéing vegetables and meats, cooking rice, etc. Some folks, such as paleo favorites Dallas and Mellisa Hartwig from Whole 9, drink a warm cup of broth every day.
There are various recipes available online and in cookbooks for how to make a bone stock (e.g. this beef stock recipe from Nourished Kitchen), but I follow a pretty simple method. Add a bunch of cooked bones (e.g. a cooked chicken carcass or 2, cooked marrow bones, leftover rib bones, etc) to a slow cooker, add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the acid helps draw out more calcium and minerals from the bones while cooking), add a chopped carrot, add a bunch of salt, pepper, thyme, fill to near the top with water, cover and cook on low for 12 hours (overnight). Boom, that’s it, very easy. When the stock is done, I let it cool, strain it through a cooking sieve and add to tall tupperware containers and freeze it until it’s needed. You can buy bones specifically for making stock, however I always keep extra bones from cooking in the freezer until I have enough to make another batch of stock. Therefore it’s basically free, and much more nutritious than the stock/broth you can typically find in stores. As I’m always super busy during the week I’ll make a batch on a Friday or Saturday night when I’ll be home and put it away in the morning.
Next time you are cooking and have extra leftover bones, save them, and give a try at making homemade bone stock. Your body, wallet, and stomach will thank you.
100 Double Unders
50 Calories on the Rower
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30 Calories on the Rower
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