The basis for all good soups, stews, and casseroles is a good broth or stock. With our busy lives it’s all too easy to turn to a store-bought stock cube which dissolves in hot water within minutes. However, if you can find the time to make your own broth your meals will be enhanced and you’ll never go back to stock cubes again!
Broth, stock, bone broth: what’s the difference?
The three terms are typically interchangeable, but there are some differences in how they’re made and the benefits they afford to your health and cooking:
- Broth: This is typically made with meat, although it can contain a small amount of bones. It is simmered for a short amount of time, usually 45 minutes to 2 hours. Broth tends to be light in flavour, thin in texture, and rich in protein.
- Stock: This is made from bones and may contain a small amount of meat – whatever is attached to the bone after stripping. The bones should be roasted before simmering in order to get the best flavour. Stock is typically simmered for around 3 to 4 hours and is rich in minerals and gelatine.
- Bone broth: As with stock, bone broth is made primarily from bones, with small amounts of residual meat. The bones are roasted before being simmered over a long period of time, typically in excess of 24 hours. This helps to remove as many of the minerals and nutrients from the bones as possible.
The health benefits of bone broth
Bone broths are made from the bones of mammals so they contain an incredible amount of nutrients and minerals that are essential to the human body:
- Glycine: This amino acid plays a vital role in the body’s detoxification process, and it is used in the synthesis of haemoglobin, bile salts, and other naturally occurring bodily chemicals like gastric acids.
- Proline: When this amino acid is paired with vitamin C it supports good skin health.
- Arginine: Although our bodies are able to produce this amino acid, we can’t produce enough so it needs to be supplemented through diet. Arginine plays an important role in healing wounds and the overall function of the immune system.
- Gelatine: Our bodies require gelatine in order to improve our collagen and the overall health and condition of our skin.
The culinary benefits of bone broth
Bone broth is actually really easy to make. Try making it in large batches and freezing into portions for future use. Use your bone broth as a delicious and nutritious base for a variety of meals including soups, casseroles, and stews. Bone broth can also be used to braise vegetables or meat; a much healthier method of cooking them than frying or roasting in fat.