Above and beyond the fabulous flavour that proper bone broth will add to your stews, soups and sauces, it is one of the most nutritious foods you can have. Bone broth / stock, in particular really slow-cooked beef bones, contain huge amounts of glucosamines. Many people now regularly take a supplement containing either glucosamine hydrochloride or glucosamine sulphate and this supplement often includes chrondroitin – a very expensive ingredient ususally derived from shell fish.
These supplements are well known to help with joint pain and cartilage issues. But, did you know, our own bodies can make chrondroitin from glucosamine, so no need to shell (no pun intended) out for chrondroitin. Also, the quality and quantity of the glucosamine in supplements cannot begin to compare to that which you get from boiling up your old bones! You get tons and tons and tons of glucosamines of different types, all of which will be very readily utilised in the body.
Glucosamine has also been shown to provide significant protection from several common cancers and heart disease, especially in women. Although the precise reasons for these health benefits aren’t yet clear, it is almost definitely due, in part, to glucosamine’s potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Making good stock takes time but virtually no effort. Most butchers will give you bones which you can add to any bones you have left from your roasts. You can also build up the amount of bones by freezing your bones until you have enough for a big broth-making session.
A slow cooker is great to use but this can also be done in the oven at a low temperature or on the hob. Adding a calf’s foot is a good idea as it has a high collagen content which will not only thicken your stock but will add even more benefit to your health as that collagen can be used by your body to improve the strength of your own collagen, helping your skin, tissues, tendons and ligaments to stay strong and taught.
Add the usual stock suspects: bay leaf, peppercorns, carrots, onions with skins on, carrots, celery, leek tops etc. Cover the bones with water and cook gently for a very long time, ideally 36 hours. This way the cartilage, bone marrow and other collagen-rich, nutrient dense contents of the bones will cook in to the liquor. It can then be reduced down if not thick enough and/or freeze in small amounts so you can use as needed or just defrost for a really nourishing, warming soup on its own.
It may seem like a faff but this is super-nutrition, super cheap. Stock cubes, liquids and even most fresh stocks will not have been cooked down in this way so will not contain the benefits but will usually contain lots of nasty additive and flavourings. So, give it a go!