Many of us just think of stock as flavoured water you buy from the supermarket in a cardboard carton. But, in actual fact, stock is so, so much more than that! Bone stock is one of my favourite foods of all time, not only for it’s exceptional flavour, but also it’s unparalleled health benefits.
Going back a hundred years or so ago, our ancestors used to eat all parts of the animal. Your grandmother, or great-grandmother, would have made pies and casseroles from organs, slow cooked dishes using the tougher meats, and soups and stocks from bones. Now, it is rare if we eat or use anything other than the tender muscle meats.
But, what does this mean for our health? More than you may realise!
Strictly speaking, by cutting these foods from our diet, we are actually missing out on a whole range of nutrients our bodies are used to consuming and their benefits! The health benefits from organ meats, such as the liver and kidneys, are commonly known but the benefits from the animals bones and joints are missed!
“Bones contain a wide array of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium”
This doesn’t mean you should start breaking your bones into bite size pieces, that would just be uncomfortable! Making your own bone stock is a great way to get these minerals into your diet, that doing amazing things for your own bones, but it’s also a great source of nourishing fats and their fat-soluble vitamins!
Not only that, bone stock is incredibly high in protein and the anti-inflammatory amino acids, balancing out the inflammatory amino acid profile of muscle meats and doing wonders for your insides! It is said to boost the immune system. Yep, that means that chicken soup DOES actually help when you’re sick! Originally made from chicken bones, this wives tale is actually credible.
Although not the most glamorous of foods, bone stock is actually regarded as one of the most beautifying foods around! It’s high collagen content means that it supports healthy skin, nails and hair and its anti-inflammatory amino acids fight ageing. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better… bone stock is alleged to reduce cellulite, and retain skin elasticity!
In my opinion, the greatest benefit of regularly consuming bone stock is it’s gut-healing properties. Gelatine, which is converted from collagen, is a natural gut soother and healer. Think of it as a soothing blanket, covering and protecting your damaged gut wall from large food molecules, giving it a chance to heal itself. More and more research is suggesting that the gut is linked to many ailments and problems within the body. In fact, I think it is something we have always known – but just lately forgotten.
“All disease begins in the gut”
The benefits from eating gelatine and improving your gut health include:
- improved immunity
- balanced hormone levels
- reduced incidence of vitamin deficiency
- reduced skin problems such as acne and eczema
- improved mood
- more energy
- stronger bones and joints
- improved tolerance a wider variety of foods
Rhi’s Nourishing Notes:
- When making bone stocks I always add apple cider vinegar to help break down the bones and gain more access to the nutrients within them.
- I also add seaweed for bonus nutrition and taste.
- You can change the flavour according to what dishes you are using the stock in. I.e. add lime, coriander seeds, chilli, star anise etc. for more Asian flavours.
DIY Bone Stock Recipe
Do It: Rhi’s Step-by-Step Guide to Making Bone Stock
Total Time: 4 hours minutes
Servings: Serves 8
- 4 organic chicken carcasses
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 brown onions, chopped in half
- 1/2 bunch celery, roughly chopped
- 2 field mushrooms
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tbs wakame or other sea vegetable (optional)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3-5L water
- Preheat oven to 190C. Roast chicken carcasses on a lined baking tray until browned. If you want to save time, this step can be skipped.
- In a large pot place the bones first, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Water should only just reach the top of the ingredients in the pot.
- Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer slowly for 4 hours.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- When cool enough to handle, strain the chicken stock, discarding all of the bones and veggies.
- Portion the liquid into glass jars and store in the freezer for up to 3months.
- Can also make bone stock using beef bones. Simmer beef stock for 8-12hours.
**Stock can be kept in fridge for maximum of four days in a sealed container. Bone stock can be added to everything – mashed vegetables, when cooking rice, liquid for stir-fries, risottos, added to savoury mince, to make gravy, to make soups, and even just as a drink **
Okay, if you can’t find me I will be bathing in stock with a straw at the ready… Who knew bone stock could be so amazing!
Let me know your favourite recipes to use your delicious bone stock in!