Monday, November 22, 2010

Making Bone Broth

Ah, the ever elusive question when I explain this diet, is "What is bone broth?".  Well, it is like making your own stock, but it takes longer as you are extracting the minerals from the bones and putting them into your broth.  At our house we call it "liquid gold", or "hair tonic", as it is precious to us.

Then, we get the next question, "How do you make it?".  I have some tricks that I use, but feel free to explore and experiment with what works for your family.  While I am cooking for regular meals I have two bowls:  a compost bowl and the broth bowl.  In the broth bowl I put my carrot tops, onion tops, herb bottoms, cabbage centers, celery middles and ends, beet tails, kale stems, pepper tops, etc.  In the compost I generally put things that would not usually make good soup contents: broccoli bits, cauliflower bits, brussel sprout bits, etc.  After my collection after dinner making I take the broth contents and put them in a bag in the freezer, the other goes out to the compost.

I am also gathering and freezing bones from leftover dinners.  After I roast a chicken, I pick all the meat off and put those bones in the freezer.  After I pan fry lamb chops, I save those bones.  I generally buy my beef bones in the freezer section of my natural food store.  I have made broth from pork bones, but it did not taste "clean" to me.

When I am running low on broth, I just take out a bag of bones and a bag of veggie bits and toss them into a pot and fill with water.  I also add 1-2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar.  This is different than stock and the vinegar helps extract the minerals in the bones.  Do not add salt, save the salting for after it is cooked and you are adding it to your food.  I will often also add pepper corns (2-5), Cumin seeds (1/4 tsp.) and fennel seeds (1/4 tsp.).
At this point, you can let it sit for an hour or so to rest, or turn it on really low.  I often find myself making this at night, before bed so I throw it all into the pot, turn it on low, and go to bed.  The length of the cooking time is often 24-48 hours.  I use my cast iron pot on the stove with the lid on and I don't worry about it too much.

After it has cooked, I turn off the heat and let it cool down a bit (hour or so).  Then I use a colander and a big bowl and drain the broth into a bowl.  If you are lucky, the heads of the chicken bones will be so soft you can crush them with your hands and put more marrow into your broth.  This comes and goes for me, and I am not sure the exact science of it.  I pour the broth into a large jar and store it in the fridge.

According to Sally Fallon's article called Broth is Beautiful:

Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.
Many of us are mineral deficient.  Broth is a wonderful way to get extra nutrition, heal the gut, and it is simple and easy.  It also makes your food so much more flavorful.  Bone broth also contains gelatin, which Sally Fallon further explains in her article: 
“Although gelatin is not a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine in large amounts, it acts as a protein sparer, helping the poor stretch a few morsels of meat into a complete meal. During the siege of Paris, when vegetables and meat were scarce, a doctor named Guerard put his patients on gelatin bouillon with some added fat and they survived in good health.”
The other question I get is, "How and when do I use it?".  I use it where ever you might use water.  I steam veggies with it.  I reduce it to make gravies.  I add it to pan fried chicken, lamb or pork to simmer and flavor the meat.  I use it for soups.  I drink it.  I blend it with cauliflower to make "potatoes".  I have heard of others reducing it greatly, dehydrating it and having strips to-go (add water for instant broth).

Sunday's Meals

I made a raspberry Almond/Coconut Muffin for breakfast today.  I did not get around to going to the Asian Market to pick up Coconut milk, so no yogurt for us.  I will try again this week.

Lunch was a vegetable quiche.  I was quite fond of it, but the kiddos were not.  They have enjoyed it in the past.  Perhaps I put too many green things in.  

I couldn't find any fish at the Farmer's Market today that I was willing to shell out bucks for.  So, instead, I cooked up the chicken that was leftover in the fridge and used the broccoli that I accidentally left out of the curry for a side dish.  Simple, easy day.  No stress and really peaceful.