Beef Bone Stock: The Nutritional Powerhouse “Good broth resurrects the dead.”
When the weather becomes wet and cold, one great addition to the winter kitchen is the addition of bone stock. Stock is a super food for nourishing our body and keeping it healthy and strong.
It is perfect in times of sickness and rehabilitation plus stock is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, trace minerals, chondroitin, sulphates and glucosamine. Many of these nutrients released from the broken down cartilage and tendons are fantastic for joint issues and arthritis. Stock can be consumed as a preventative for bone and connective tissue disorders.
I often recommend stock to woman who tend toward blood and yin deficiency. Signs of yin and blood deficiency include dryness, heat in head and hands, hot flashes, memory challenges, insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, eye issues, fatigue, paleness and scanty menstruation. Those with absorption issues may also benefit from consuming bone broth. In addition, a diet designed to support fertility such as with preconception, pregnancy and lactation must include stock .
Cartilage & Marrow The cartilage in bone stocks can enhance immunity, support the healing of arthritis and joint diseases, plus reduce the inflammatory issues associated with bowel diseases. The marrow contains myeloid stem cells, which are the precursors to red blood cells, and lymphoid stem cells, the precursors to white blood cells and platelets, which aid immunity and blood formation.
Glycine & Proline Amino Acids Glycine is a simple amino acid and is a vital component in the production of heme, the part of the blood that carries oxygen. It is also involved in glucogenesis (the manufacture of glucose), enhancing gastric acid secretion to aid digestion and wound healing. It is a precursor amino acid for glutathione and large amounts are needed for the liver to detoxify after chemical exposure.
Because of the glycine, broths are ideal for modified fasting and cleansing programs. During fasting, because little or no food or energy source is being consumed, protein tissues such as muscle often break down. With broth, glycine is consumed and used for gluconeogenesis which limits or prevents degeneration during the fast.
Proline is an amino acid essential to the structure of collagen and is therefore necessary for healthy bones, skin, ligaments, tendons and cartilage.
Collagen There are at least 15 types of collagen in the human body, making up about a quarter of all the body’s protein. It is found in bones, ligaments, tendons, skin, cartilage, bone marrow and lymph. Poor wound healing, bleeding gums, and bruising are often been attributed to vitamin C deficiency, however the problem is actually a collagen deficiency, as vitamin C is needed to synthesize collagen.
Basically, collagen is the same as gelatin. Collagen is the word used for its form when it is found in the body, and gelatin refers to the extracted collagen that is used as food. Bone broth produces a rubbery gelatin when cooled.
Dr. N. R. Gotthoffeer spent 20 years studying gelatin and found that convalescing adults who have lost weight due to surgery, dysentery, cancer and other diseases fare much better if gelatin is added to their diet. Gelatin has also been found to help heal the mucus membranes of the gastrointestinal tract in cases of inflammation such as irritable bowel syndrome or in "leaky gut syndrome".
Minerals Minerals are necessary for the development of connective tissue and bone, create electrical potential that facilitates nerve conduction, and are catalysts for enzymatic reactions. Many people in the U.S. are deficient in one or more minerals, usually due to dietary deficiencies or poor absorption. Broth offers easily absorbed extracted minerals and supports utilization of the minerals by promoting the health of the intestinal tract.
Calcium Calcium is necessary for healthy bones, muscle contraction and relaxation, proper clotting and tissue repair, normal nerve conduction, and endocrine balance. Calcium deficiency includes symptoms of osteomalacia and osteoporosis, brittle nails, periodontal disease, muscle cramps and spasms, palpitations, depression, insomnia, and hyperactivity.
Phosphorus Phosphorus is necessary for the generation of energy in the body and helps regulate intracellular pressure. A deficiency in phosphorus can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, muscle weakness, celiac disease, osteomalacia, and seizures.
Magnesium Magnesium is one of the most common dietary deficiencies in the U.S. This mineral is vital for over 300 enzyme reactions, is a cofactor for vitamins B1 and B6, and is involved in the synthesis of proteins, fatty acids, nucleic acids and prostaglandins. Proper nerve transmission, muscle contraction and relaxation, and parathyroid gland function are dependent on magnesium. Stock is a great source for this nutrient need.
The Recipe: A Simple Method
There are lots of fancy bone stock recipes out there which recommend roasting your bones first for example, but I really want to make this simply for you so you WILL make stock for yourself and your family and eat it all the time!
For the winter months, November-February, I recommend a dedicated crock-pot on the counter, which is ALWAYS simmering stock on low. This is old-school kitchen culture here. That means you will always have a soup base, liquid for grains and simple broth with noodles available in seconds.
In that crock, I place my beef bones. I like to use a combination of marrow bones, neck bones and gelatinous bones which Marin Sun Farms in Inverness (my local organic butcher) will package for me. I use about 3 pounds of bone placed in my crock and add water and a splash of apple cider vinegar to help release the minerals from the bones. You could also create stock from a large fish head such as salmon, yum! I don’t usually make chicken stock in my crock but save that for when I make soup and will freeze some of the stock for use at a later time. If your have wild game or lamb bones, these would also serve well for great stock!
To this, feel free to add leftover cuttings from your veggies throughout the week.
(Avoid cabbage and the brassica family vegetables; they will not blend well with your stock)
If you want to make the stock and then freeze it, I recommend simmering your stock for a minimum of 24 hours and best after 72 hours! Then you can put it in ice cube trays for small quantities or quart jars for larger ones.
Chinese herbs such as Huang Qi (Astragalus) and Dang Shen (Codonopsis) may be added to increase the medicinal properties of the broth. These support digestion, build energy, and strengthen immune function. Gou Qi Zi (Lycii berries) may be added for additional blood support.