Having food allergies in the family means I have spent a lot of time learning about food and nutrition and experimenting with new foods. Homemade bone broth/stock is one of my favourite discoveries. I consider it to be a superfood, tastes delicious in recipes, and yet it costs pennies to make! I just love that I can make something that is so tasty and so good for you with something that would normally be thrown away. If you’re on a dairy-free diet for any reason it’s a wonderful source of calcium and other minerals. If you have any tummy issues in your family such as food allergies and intolerances, coeliac disease, acid reflux or IBS (among others), it’s very healing and soothing for your digestive system.
Normal, shop bought stock cubes are full of fillers and additives and although they taste nice, they have no nutritional benefit. A quick review of the supermarket shelves shows that stock cubes can contain any of the following: glucose syrup (i.e. sugar), maize starch, palm oil, palm fat, and even monosodium glutamate (MSG). The concentrated stock pots contain gelling agents like xanthan gum and locust bean gum and preservatives like potassium sorbate, all of which are difficult to digest so are not ideal if you have a sensitive digestive system. From a nutrition and health standpoint, plain water would be a better option. Shop bought pots of ‘proper’ stock are better, but are quite expensive considering it’s so cheap and easy to make it at home. I still use stock cubes sometimes for convenience, but I prefer to make my own as often as I can.
In researching this post, I’ve found that there are huge lists of the benefits of bone broth. It contains a wide range of nutrients and minerals that play many different roles in the body. I’ve come to believe that it’s really important for my family’s health to consume bone broth regularly. Here are the key nutrients that I think are most important for families, especially those with digestive issues or food allergies:
- calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous; essential for bone health and teeth
- amino acids glycine and proline; good for digestive health, reducing inflammation in the body and essential for a healthy nervous system (read The Paleo Mom’s explanation of the science)
- healthy fats; particularly important for babies and children, and especially so if dairy-free
It’s a great base for soups and stews. I particularly like making Asian noodle soup with mine, using buckwheat (soba) noodles, and my kids like risotto and ‘orange soup’ made with butternut squash and sweet potato. I also use it when I’m making ‘saucy’ things like shepherd’s pie, add a little bit to bolognese sauce for richness, and it can also be used as a base for homemade gravy.
I make mine in the slow cooker because it’s just so easy. Just pop in your bones, a splash of apple cider vinegar, along with any veg and herbs you are using, fill it with water, and leave it to simmer slowly for 12 – 48 hours while you get on with your day. I’ll be sharing my full recipe for making slow cooker bone broth in my next post.
If you’d like to read further about the benefits of consuming homemade bone broth, here are my favourite links on the topic:
- The Health Benefits of Bone Broth by The Paleo Mom (also linked above)
- How to Make Bone Broth by Wellness Mama
- Food for Thought: Health and Nutrition of Traditional Homemade chicken Broth/Stock by Kitchen Stewardship
- Bone Broth, Broths and Stocks by Nourished Kitchen
- Cooking with Bones by Mark’s Daily Apple