Unfortunately, because of our modern meat processing techniques and our fast-food, semi-homemade society, homemade stocks and broth have become a lost art. Nourishing Traditions says (one of my favorite cookbooks ever!), “In days gone by, when the butcher sold meat on the bone rather than individual filets and whole chickens rather than boneless breasts, our thrifty ancestors made use of every part of the animal by preparing stock, broth or bouillon from the bony portions.”
When properly prepared, meat and bone stocks are extremely nutritious, containing minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes. I've also learned that adding an acidic medium, like Bragg's raw Apple Cider Vinegar, makes the stock even more nutritious by helping to draw out even more minerals (i.e. calcium, magnesium, and potassium).
There is magic in homemade stock that cannot be replicated with chicken or beef flavored water sold in stores. Another advantage of making homemade stock is that it's just so dang easy. My method for making stock has become second nature.
How I Make Stock:
- I always plan on eating a whole chicken a week. I rinse the chicken, put the organs in the fridge for the stock, throw the chicken in the crock pot (breast-side down), add 2-4 cups of water (depending on the size of the bird), and then cook the chicken on low for 6-8 hours. I know when it's done when the legs easily fall off.
- I then let the chicken cool. Once cooled I take all the meat off and throw the skin, bones, and organs back into the crock pot.
- I cut an onion in fourths and throw it in along with , 2 whole garlic cloves, about an inch long piece of ginger, one celery stalk, one carrot, half a cup of apple cider vinegar, and a chicken foot (for added gelatin) if I have them.
- I then fill the rest of the crock pot up with water. I set it to low and I let it simmer for 24-48 hours.
- About an hour before I am ready to turn the crock pot off, I add my spices. I put in salt, pepper, and sage.
- I let it simmer for one more hour, let it cool, then strain the stock.
The outcome is amazing! It's so dark and beautiful! Yes, I get excited about it! I usually plan on making some kind of a soup every week. Sometimes I freeze the stock. You can also boil the stock down and put it in ice-cube trays. It's so easy and so frugal to make stock. When I see bones, I think of all the wonderful stocks I can make with them.
I also use my stock when I'm making baby food for my little 6 month old man. I add the stock to the vegetable purees to get them to the right consistency. I do this in my blender after I steam the veggies. Then I pour the mixture in ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen I label a ziploc and dump the frozen cubes in the baggie! When mealtime comes around, I grab a few cubes and nuke them. My son LOVES his food like this! It's a great way to add nutrition, protein, and important minerals to a baby's diet!
I think we need to take note of how our ancestors appreciated every bit of an animal. Not only is it highly nutritious, but it's also extremely frugal!