We’re obsessed about homemade stock in our house. All the kids’ baby food was thinned with stock during weaning and we have a continuous supply in our freezer, in different sized compartments to suit our needs.
Stock is an easily-digestible nutrient-dense food. It’s an incredibly rich source of minerals (especially calcium and trace elements pulled from bone) all in the proper combinations to make them available throughout the body. It also contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons, things like glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates. Very healing and repairing to the gut it strengthens digestion, so you absorb even more nutrients. It helps build strong bones and teeth, boosts the immune system and nourishes the adrenal glands (great for an exhausted mum!).
Stock can be used for soups, stews, sauces and you can even use it to cook rice and grains, dramatically increasing their nutrient content. I recommend you avoid using commercial stocks. They often have lots of salt, and lack the rich, nutrient-dense bounty of gelatine contained in homemade stocks. Plus, to really extract all the goodness, real stock needs to be boiled for a very long time which just doesn’t happen with commercial products.
A cup of stock by itself is a traditional way of nourishment when someone is feeling unwell. It’s known as Jewish penicillin due to its remarkable immune-boosting properties and in Asia stock is believed to be the restorer of chi (life force) and supportive to the kidneys and adrenals. When my kids fall ill, I give them stock instead of water throughout the day to ensure they are getting a good dose of nutrients.
You can use any animal bones or make vegetarian stock, the recipe here is for chicken stock but you can easily substitute the chicken bones for beef, lamb, venison, fish etc or just use vegetables. All offer incredible health benefits.
It’s not the actual making the stock that takes time, it’s the cooking time – the longer the better to draw the nutrients out of the bones and vegetables. You also want to include some acid (lemon juice or vinegar is perfect) to draw even more minerals out of the bones.
I have different sized frozen stocks in my freezer – cubes to thin baby meals and offer as drinks, medium containers to cook grains and larger ones for adult soups. I especially love a spicy Thai soup made from homemade stock, it’s really tasty, healthy and the perfect antidote if you suspect you may be coming down with something. And try our French onion soup for a dose of anti-ageing nutrients.
Do have a go at making stock, it’s really easy and the health benefits by far outweigh any hassle. It’s so versatile and packed full of good nutrition.
We hope you enjoy having a batch of stock at home, it really is so easy so do give it a try and let us know how you get on in the comments below or on our facebook page and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive more recipes, nutrition tips and expert advice.