Have you ever made a bone broth? This forgotten food used to be a staple of the kitchen. Most of us no longer slaughter our own farm animals (that will soon change around this house) or even buy cuts of meat with the bone intact. Not only is this wasteful, but bone-in cuts are usually cheaper and they are definitely more nutritious.
Back in the late fall we bought an entire lamb from our local urban Williams Island Farm. They are farming William's Island right in the middle of the Tennessee River right by downtown Chattanooga. Isn't that fabulous? Does food get any more local than that? Well, there is your backyard, but it is hard to raise a lamb in the city limits ;) They graze lamb, chickens and of course have a rockin' garden. Chances are, if you live in the area you probably know at least one of these fabulous farmers and it is nice to give your money to people you care for.
Back to the broth....so I pulled out my last bit of lamb yesterday, the bones. A bag of knuckles, vertebrae, legs and all manner of bit parts not included in the cuts. That's the benefit of buying directly from the farmer, you get the whole animal as you want it. I threw this in the stock pot with 1/4c of apple cider vinegar and a just over a gallon of water, brought it to a boil, turned it down on low and let it simmer overnight. Strain off the scum and presto! you have broth. Now add it to soup or anything you need cooking liquid for. The addition of herbs while cooking (I like the traditional rosemary, sage and thyme team) makes for a very flavorful sipping broth. Some cool it and skim all the fat off of the top. Personally, I skim off half (or less) of the fat when barely room temp and never when cool because I do not want to lose the gelatin. If you are eating a healthy animal (grassfed, locally and humanely raised) then animal fat is GOOD for you. Yep, that's what I said, good for you. If the meat is commercially raised, well, I recommend not eating it, but definitely do not eat the fat...fat stores the most toxins, but that is a discussion for another time really. Soon, I think.
What you are getting from this broth nutritionally can not be found in muscle meats alone. There are more available minerals than you could imagine (we used some vinegar to break down the minerals in those bones remember?), marrow, protein, collagen and gelatin from cartilage and all the other wonderful nutritional benefits of meat times one thousand. The minerals available: calcium, magnesium and potassium, among others, are commonly known as electrolytes. Does that open up some ideas of how we can use this broth? It is the ultimate food to revive sick ones, weak ones, old ones, all ones. After a workout, ditch the gatorade and the protein powder, go for the bone broth. Right now, we are using this to hydrate and nourish our family back to good health after some of us had violent stomach viruses and others are experiencing an upper respiratory one. Light and easy to digest, it is the perfect sick food whether acute or chronic.
Broth is also exceptionally healing for anyone with immune disorders, whether over active (like food or seasonal allergies) or auto-immune diseases. Adrenal deficiency, under-active thyroid, hormonal imbalance or anyone having fertility problems or anything else related to the endocrine system is well treated with this mineral rich food. Osteoporosis or osteopenia? Bone broth is the answer. A daily cup drank alone or used in other foods would be adequate but the more the better really. Gut damage from candida, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, and food allergies is best healed with broth taken often. If you feel stressed, fatigued, depressed you need broth. Did I leave anyone out? Even if you consider yourself perfectly healthy, all diets will be enriched with this amazingly nutritious food.
Homemade bone broth needs to be brought back to its respected position in the kitchen and in our lives. We waste less and gain so much by using the complete animal, showing it more respect than using less nutrient dense muscle meat only. For more info check out the book Nourishing Traditons by Sally Fallon, and if you want to know more about the benefits of fat, read the book she co-authored with Mary Enig, Eat Fat Lose Fat.
This post was inspired by the The Nourished Kitchen's Real Food Challenge. A 28 day program to get you started on a traditional whole food diet or re-inspire veterans. Click on over and give your cupboard an overhaul. I will be following along with the program and commenting here in the blog when I see fit ;)
Support Williams Island Farm and give your local economy an overhaul. You can contact them for info now or see them at the Main St Farmer's Market this spring.
BTW...meat eating can be a source of controversy with those pursuing health. Know that I welcome ALL comments and discussion on the topic. That is what a blog is really, right? Public discussion, not just me blabbing all the time :)