The making of soup from bones and left overs has been a traditional and staple food across the globe for centuries. Reduced, gelatinous, jelly like broth became one of the the first portable foods. The original stock cube! And folk wisdom throughout the world values broth for it's healing powers. Whilst making soup from left over roast chicken bones is a ritual many families still enjoy, actually preparing a thick and nutritious broth to use in cooking throughout the week is a smart move when the Autumn chill starts to creep in!
Here are 6 good reasons to make bone broth a ritual!
1. Firstly, almost all my clients could do with an improved digestive system and many some proper gut healing. As Hippocrates said, all disease begins in the gut. Bone broth is not only soothing on the stomach but provides sustenance for good bacteria. The high glutamine level is critical for gut health as it is the primary nutrient for enterocytes, the cells that absorb digested food and transport nutrients.
2. Gut health leads to enhanced immune health, reducing the length & severity of infectious diseases, colds & coughs, and protecting against cancer.
3. Gut health leads to a greater chance of mental health - gastro-neuro-immunogy lecture, anyone?!
4. Bone Broth is an amazing source of collagen, improving connective tissue, strengthening arteries, maintaining skin elasticity and reducing premature signs of ageing.
5. When the digestive system is functioning well, the body can better digest and absorb the nutrients it needs. And bone broth gives the body a good source of body building and strengthening amino acids, easily absorbable minerals and other key nutrients.
6. Bone broth is great for reducing inflammation and '-itis' complaints (e.g. osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis), thereby reducing the pain and severity of these degenerative conditions.
And 6 great tips on how to make the best bone broth ever:
1. Get a dedicated stock pot or better still a slow cooker - one of these would do.
2. When you buy meat and fish, always buy it on the bone if you can. Find a good butcher. Use the slow cooker for meat-on dishes such as lamb shanks, oxtail soup, chicken casserole, ham hock with lentils or lamb chop curry, or save up raw bones and make up a mixed bone broth at the end of the week. Keep fish separate!
3. Add 2-3 tables spoons of vinegar to your stock pot to help extract minerals from the bones and veg. It will not affect the flavour and any vinegar will do.
4. Add onion, fresh root turmeric, fresh root ginger, chilies, garlic or other superfoods at the beginning to maximise the nutrient levels in the broth. Add mushrooms, tofu, spring onions, sauerkraut or miso at the end for a powerful immune boosting punch.
5. Cook your broth for as long as possible: best results come from cooking in a slow cooker all day, or all night (12 hours min).
6. Find a butcher that sells chicken feet and/or pigs hooves! Sounds a bit much, but believe me these have way more cartilage than regular bones. Just a few chickens feet or one split pigs foot (unsalted). Beef shank or short ribs are good choices too, as are chicken wings.
I found this book in the US this year - in a Bone Broth cafe of all places - yes we really have some catching up to do. It's called Nourishing Broth and I highly recommend it - great recipes and a wealth of wise words from someone who knows A LOT about the benefits of broth!