BONE BROTH GOOD-- AND GOOD FOR YOU
Have you noticed all the references to bone broth lately? It seems to be everywhere, in print and in blog posts and online articles. There are several reasons, all of them worthy of attention. Bone broth is ancient and has, for millennia, been used as a basic food and as a special restorative for ailing, weak and even nervous individuals. Made with wholesome ingredients, it is an outstanding source of essential nutrients, from protein and calcium to vitamins and trace minerals.
Bone broth has been around pretty much as long as humans, or, perhaps more accurately, as long as humans have had fire. When we relied on our wiles instead of markets for our food, we used every bit of everything, including all parts of the animals we hunted. We didn't discard innards or bones but instead seemed to know, intuitively, that they were somehow essential to our well-being.
Bone broth has long been used as a restorative for ailing children, new mothers and anyone struggling to recover good health. It seemed to fade into the background in recent decades, while chicken broth and chicken soup continued to be praised for a near-magical ability to heal. Jewish penicillin, chicken soup is often called.
Now, bone broth is standing side by side with chicken broth. If you're battling a virus, it can be one of the few things that actually tastes good, which indicates, I believe, great physical wisdom. We crave, or at least enjoy, what our bodies most need.
Another reason for the revival of bone broth is, I think, the increasing availability of grass-fed meats and pastured chicken and a spreading awareness of the true meaning of sustainability. That grass-fed meats are better for both human health and the environment is widely acknowledged these days. So, too, is the wisdom of using all that we produce. If we eat meat, it makes sense to include the bones in our diet and the way to do this is by making bone broth.
What's the difference between stock and broth, you might be wondering at this point. They exist on the same continuum and their definitions are not set in stone. In general, broth is said to have a greater percentage of flesh, stock a higher proportion of bone, but I find this distinction is best applied to restaurant cookery. Home cooks needn't worry about it.
In my own cooking, I've made just a few changes as I've experimented with bone broth. The addition of a small amount of apple cider vinegar, for example, assists with the extraction of minerals and so I've added it in recent batches. I've also begun cooking bones longer and stopped discarding them after I make the first batch of broth. Because of the lengthier cooking, I've been making my bone broths in a slow cooker instead of on top of the stove, as I think it is safer when cooking at very low heat.