A stomach virus has run through my family for the last two weeks. Five of the seven members of our family have come down with it. Even though I was one of the ones affected with illness, I was able to make a nutritious stock to aid my family’s health.
There is a difference between stock and broth even though most people use the terms interchangeably. A simple distinction is that stock is made predominantly from bones and meat. Broth is made from meat only.
The bones impart minerals of bone, cartilage, and marrow. The addition of a little vinegar helps draw out more calcium, magnesium and potassium from the bones. Any vegetables added, like carrots, onions, celery, give the stock electrolytes, which are important to regain balance in your body.
Gelatin, a product from the bones, aids digestion and helps treat intestinal disorders. To tell how much gelatin your stock has in it, chill the stock. The top of your stock should develop a layer of gel or thicken up substantially. This is a great sign. As soon as you heat it up again, all the gelatin will dissolve.
Making beef stock is not difficult. I like to begin it in the evening and let it simmer all night in the crock pot. Soup bones are a standard cut in our grass fed beef quarters. Most half or whole orders choose to receive soup bones also. You can choose to get them meaty or not. I always choose meaty so that my stock will have a combination of both meat and bone, but the bone is the most important aspect.
1 package of grass fed soup bones
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 quarts cold, filtered water
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 onions, cut in sections
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
sea salt and pepper
Turn your crock pot on high and add the olive oil to the bottom. Place the meaty bones in one layer. Season to your liking with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover with lid. In 45 minutes to one hour, flip the bones to brown on the other side. Cover. After another 45 minutes to one hour, add the water, vinegar, and seasonings. Cover. Allow to cook on low for 12 hours or longer.
I have a huge crock pot that handles this recipe beautifully. It works just as well in a stockpot on the stove, but I would begin it in the morning and keep my eye on the stock all day as it cooks. If undesirable “scum” rises to the top, skim it. This is normal.
Once the stock has cooked, remove the bones. I press out the bone marrow into the liquid mixture. Then I shred or cut the meat in small bites. At this point, I drank several cups a day to keep up my strength through my illness.
The stock can be used as a base for great pinto or red beans. You can add rice or other vegetables to make a soup. There are seemingly limitless possibilities. And, the stock freezes nicely. You can strain it right into freezer containers or freezer bags. Just make sure you label them.
With cold and flu season approaching, it would not be a bad idea to make healthy stock now for when you might need it. Even if you are not ill, the addition of stocks in your diet is a great idea.