by Kaya Konopnicki
In our house we call it Duck Juice. Over the past few months it’s become a staple in our kitchen and a new pot is generally simmering away every few days making the house smell wonderful and homey.
From conversations with customers, massive amounts of research on the internet and (lastly) trying it myself I can say I’m a convert. The health benefits are many and the flavour it adds to dishes is unparalleled.
At Greens Eggs and Ham we have a large selection of bones for bone broth and every day we get questions from customers about what should go into it, how do you cook it and what are the benefits.
It’s a big topic with tons of information. First we’re starting with some definitions on bone broth compared to broth and stock (well, at least some more commonly accepted definitions). Next we’ll outline some of the health benefits. Lastly we’ll focus on how to make bone broth and some yummy recipes you can use it in.
Broth, stock and bone broth are sometimes used interchangeably but digging a little deeper there are distinctions between what a ‘broth’, ‘stock’ and ‘bone broth’ are. That being said, there is no overall governing body or industry standard so this all varies greatly depending on your source of information. The information provided below is an amalgamation of several sources (1, 2, 3, 4) and is by no means definitive. We encourage you to do your own research to fully understand this topic.
First, lets be entirely clear that what you buy in the grocery store in those little cubes is nothing more than dried bits of chemically modified things. Yes, it adds flavour but other than that it has NONE of the properties outlined below.
First Factor- Time
From the articles online the factor that seems to set broth, stock and bone broth apart really comes down to time. There are countless recipes on what ingredients to start with but the single most distinguishing factor comes down to time: broth is made quickly (2.5 hours); stock takes longer (6-8 hours); and bone broth is a long process (18-24 hours). The idea behind stock and bone broth is to extract gelatin and in the case of bone broth, minerals. Both stock and bone broth should ‘gel’ when cooled whereas broth will still be fluid.
Second Factor- Meat v. Bones
The second factor between these does involve the starting ingredients. Mostly commonly broth is made with meat that may or may not have the bones whereas both stock and bone broth both focus on the bones (which may still have a little meat attached) as the primary ingredient.
You can read further below for a more detailed breakdown but keep in mind these are just guidelines and as mentioned above there is disagreement depending on the source of your information.
Broth: The primary ingredients are meat (with or without bones), vegetables and aromatics. It has a higher proportion of meat to bones than either stock or bone broth. It is simmered for between 45 minutes – 2.5 hours. Generally it is light coloured and remains fluid (not-gelatinous) when cooled.
Stock: Primary ingredients are bones (with or without meat attached), vegetables, aromatics and may use joint bones with connective tissue attached (feet, wings, knuckles). Any meat found is whatever is left on the bones. If the stock contains bones with connective tissues (i.e. feet, wings, knuckles) it is a better source of gelatin then stocks made without those bones. Bones can be fresh or roasted. It is simmered for between 4-6 hours. This extracts the gelatin from bones but does break down the bones to release the minerals.
Bone Broth: Primary ingredients are bones (with or without meat attached) and joint bones with large amounts of connective tissue (i.e. feet, wings, knuckles). Some recipes call for the addition of vegetables and aromatics. It is simmered between 18 – 48 hours (dependent on the bones) to break down the bones, purportedly, release the minerals in the bones. Bones can be fresh or roasted. It is then strained and when cooled it becomes gelatinous (jello-like).
Let us know what you think is important to making a broth, stock, and bone broth.
Next week we’ll discuss the health benefit claims of bone broth and sort out the scientific fact from the noise of internet fiction.