My grandmother always cooks up a pot of bone broth for me when I visit her house. As a child I always resented having to drink it; only now do I realise what a wonderful healthful gift she was giving me. Bone broth or stock was a staple in traditional cultures, highly prized for its deep nourishment, and was commonly given to maximise fertility and prepare for pregnancy. Traditional people knew what we are rediscovering now – broth made from bones is a highly nutritious, healing and sustainable food.
Many of us strive to maintain healthy habits – regular exercise, good food, not too many big nights. But our busy lives can mean we favour quick, easy to prepare meals such as stir fries and steaks which don’t have the nutrients found in cuts of meat with fat, cartilage and bone. In Chinese medicine, broth and slow cooked meats are used to nourish the blood, yin and jing, essential for a thick endometrial lining, abundant fertile mucous and healthy eggs and sperm.
By including a slow cooked meal made with stewing cuts or stock a couple of times a week you can eat your way to optimal health and fertility. Full of all kinds of goodies in an easily digestible form, bone broth is extremely good for you and has many other health benefits:
- Boosts the immune system
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint pain and arthritis
- Supports digestion and heals the gut. Allergies and food sensitivities usually arise from poor digestion and a “leaky gut”.
Making your own stock at home is super cheap, and gives all those sad veggies at the bottom of the fridge a second life. Using animal bones for stock allows me to give my family nutritious healthy food on a budget, and honour the life sacrifice of the animal by not letting any of it go to waste.
Changing your way of eating can feel overwhelming but I know you’ll feel the benefits of a healthier diet so strongly encourage you to give it a go. If you only feel up to making one change, make it bone broth.
2 kilograms of bones – you can use chicken carcasses and feet, beef, lamb, kangaroo or pork bones, preferably organic
¼ cup of vinegar
Optional – vegetables such as carrots, celery, fennel, onions or leeks (a couple of each if you have them), fresh thyme or rosemary, a knob of fresh ginger. I usually just use whatever is past its best in the bottom of the fridge.
Roughly chop the veggies if you’re using them, and combine with the bones and vinegar and herbs in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer – the liquid should be barely moving on the surface. Partly cover and leave to cook. Cooking times vary depending on what kind of bones you’re using. I do up to 12 hours for chicken, and 48 for beef, lamb, pork or kangaroo. Drain off the liquid and pop it into containers to use enjoy on its own, or us in yummy soups and stews. I usually divide mine into smaller portions and freeze it.