What’s the difference between bone broth and stock anyway? And why has it suddenly become so popular? Food goes through trends just like fashion does, and bone broth is no exception. Fashionista foodies and health enthusiasts alike have taken to bone broth by storm; it’s the new in drink to have on hand. Coffee is so last year. Okay maybe not, I have to admit that I have yet to see it on the Starbucks menu. But bone broth has really taken off lately, to the point that you can now even buy powdered bone broth protein shakes. And yet, like the fashion world, bone broth has been around for a long time. Perhaps it’s only now that we are finding out the health benefits it can provide. But I think instinctively we’ve always known that it’s what our bodies were craving when out of balance. Can you think of what your mom or grandma might have made you when you were sick?
Did anyone say chicken soup?
All around the world we have different versions of the classic chicken soup, that are staples of most traditional diets. But why is it so comforting? Well for starters, it’s warm, and it has a lot of minerals that are easy to absorb. These have been shown to help the immune system fight off bugs and reduce inflammation in the body. Bone broths contain collagen (thumbs up to young looking skin and less stretch marks!), calcium (an obvious one), glutamine and lots of amino acids to keep the joints, bones, muscles and immune system healthy.
A pregnancy friend…
It seems obvious when you think about it, but babies don’t grow their own skeletons out of thin air. They’ll need minerals that are the building blocks to that skeleton right? Pregnant mama’s are the ones that provide these minerals to their developing babies, and if they don’t get enough of these through their diet, it’s not their babies that will suffer the consequences, but their mothers. When a pregnant woman is short of minerals, the body will start to take these from her own bones, skin, hair and nails. Bone broths provide a lot of these minerals, that are easily absorbed and can be used by the body. So why not take advantage of it?
And what’s the difference between bone broth and just regular stock?
The primary difference is the cooking time. Regular stocks are typically cooked for 1-3 hours, while bone broths are usually a minimum of 12 hours, depending on what type of bones you are using. Stocks can also be made with just vegetables, whilst bone broths, as the name suggests, cannot. Shop bought stock cubes mostly just contain flavouring, and are often as far removed from real meat bones as Dutch tomatoes are from seeing sunlight. As bones are pretty tough, they require longer cooking times to get most of their minerals. The first few hours will give you the flavour, the next few will give you the health benefits.
A few things to keep in mind when making bone broth:
- First, it’s super easy, just go for it (watch the video above- and you’ll see for yourself!)
- Make a large batch and freeze in jars so that you have some when you need it to make a soup, risotto, stew, gravy, sauce, etc.
- Healthy bones from healthy animals = healthier broth. This means organic and grass fed wherever possible.
- You can use beef, chicken or pork and be sure to go to your local butcher; the chances are, you’ll even get them for free.
- Add some apple cider vinegar (1-2 tablespoons) to extract even more minerals from the bones.
- Add some vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery to enhance the flavour and mineral content.
A guide to cooking times:
Chicken: 12-24 hours
Beef: 24-48 hours
Pork: 12-24 hours (pork broth will be a lot heavier and fattier)
Cook over a very low heat, or even better, use a slow cooker on the low setting.