Monday, February 24, 2014

wholefood step-by-step: #8 broth is your new best friend

The weather cooled rapidly here last week and with the changing breeze came a few sniffles and coughs, my first thought was to cook chicken broth.

Home made broth is one of the most nutritionally dense wholefoods that you can add to your diet. It is made by simmering bones of chicken, fish or beef with vegetable scraps, traditionally carrot, celery and onion and herbs such as parsley, thyme and bay leaves. (The difference between broth and stock in case you are wondering, according to this post on The Kitchn, is seasoning - broth is seasoned with salt and pepper, stock is not).

Wholefoods legend and cookbook author, Sally Fallon, dedicates a whole chapter to stocks in her wholefoods bible Nourishing Traditions. On page 116 she writes, "Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth."

Need I say more? Well yes I had because I know there will some of you out there who are phobic about the process of making stock, "it's time consuming", "the straining is messy" and so on. Changing your mindset is as important when embarking down this wholefood path as changing what is in your pantry.

It is so important to replace thoughts about cooking from scratch as time consuming with reminders of how nourishing real food is and how vital it is for long term good health of people and planet. Processed food cannot do this. The cost of convenience in the long term is often illness. Pre made stocks found on the supermarket shelf are generally full of nasties, lots of numbers, flavour enhancers and way too much salt. To really get the low down on this check out Claire's excellent post on her Real Food Real Change facebook post about commercially made stock. And don't miss Australia's Queen of Stock, Alexx Stuart's post 10 reasons to make your own stock.

Bone stock in my kitchen takes the form of chicken broth or lamb shank soup. A cup of chicken broth is a great alternative to having a cup of tea or coffee, it is perfect for an after school snack on cooler days and if your kids are reluctant to eat it add some gluten free noodles and watch them slurp it up!

Wholefood chef Jude Blereau writes about stock in her excellent book Wholefood for Children:

"Bone stocks have been used by just about all traditional cultures for nourishment and healing - Dr Alfred Vogel, one of the early organic, wholefood and natural food advocates, describes their use in Europe for healing; in New York, chicken soup is known as Jewish penicillin (chicken fat contains palmitoleic acid - a powerful immune-boosting monosaturated fat); and throughout Asia, fish stock is believed to be the restorer of chi (life force), and is also a rich source of iodine."

This is how I make my chicken stock:

2 organic chicken carcasses (and yes it does make a difference whether they are organic or not)
1 medium brown onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
2 sticks celery with leaves chopped
4 whole black peppercorns
1-2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
filtered water

Place all ingredients in a large heavy based pot and cover with filtered water. Bring to the boil and then lower heat to a simmer and cook for 6-12 hours. The longer the better. You will need to add more water during the cooking process.
Once your stock is made and cooled you can freeze it in one cup portions to have on hand for soups, casseroles, risotto or as a healing, cleansing broth to drink on its own with some seasoning. Drinking a warm cup of this is an instant pick me up. These pictures and recipe were taken from a previous post I wrote about stock, you can read it here.

For a nourishing vegetarian stock or broth, simmer some celery, carrot, onion, ginger, garlic and shitake mushrooms in a pot with filtered water.

Go on, give this a go during the week.

Happy cooking! Tune in on Tuesday for a new series - what's for dinner?

Share your thoughts and stories about stock in the comments below.


  1. I thought it was too hard until I realised I could use the slow cooker. Now I cook stock for 24 hours and its easy!

  2. I'm loving this series. We love homemade stock around here. Where do you source your organic chicken carcasses?

    1. Great thanks for the feedback Jo. We buy organic chicken carcasses from Rosebud Health Food store here on the Peninsula in Rosebud. The health food store sells organic meat from Cherry Tree Organics and we place an order to make sure we don't miss out for chicken carcasses and lamb shanks. We keep them in the freezer and then when we are running low we make another order so we always have some on hand. I hope that helps. If you need some help sourcing them in your area email me and let me know where you live and I will see if I can help. x

    2. Thanks, a great idea to keep them in the freezer. We live in Geelong. I've had a bit of a look around but haven't come upon any organic carcasses yet. Love to hear if you come up with anything. x

  3. I never realised there was a real difference between stock and broth. It seems all this time I have been making broth! I have never thought of adding ACV but will definitely try it this weekend... Just last night I used our last container from the freezer and have set aside Saturday to make some more! Luna. xx

  4. I just made a big batch yesterday! It makes me so happy to know that I've got about 5 cups in the freezer. I make a batch about every two weeks. (I find it tricky to get as much into Olive as I'd like, so I do things like cook her rice in it, and add it into everything I can.) I had a friend who made bone broths every day for a year, as a base for home made formula when she couldn't breastfeed her son (I'm planning to tell her story on my blog soon!) and she's given me some amazing tips ... like to use chicken necks and feet as well as the carcass (the feet - so gross!) because they are extra gelatinous, and to make sure you let the bones sit in the water with the vinegar for half an hour before turning on the heat first, as this draws out the minerals from the bones. Great post. More broth! Kellie xx


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