As a fitness professional, I have found homemade bone broth to be a great source of protein elements not found in the typical consumption of primarily “muscle meats” sought by most exercise enthusiasts. Many people seek to eat only boneless, skinless (and tasteless) chicken breasts while ignoring the rest of the animal.
Properly prepared stocks are extremely nutritious and beneficial to fitness goals as they contain copious minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is very easy for our body to assimilate.
We go to great lengths in our training efforts to perform intense weight lifting and metabolic conditioning. Logging our progress and tracking our successes is exciting, but when it comes to nutrition to maintain health for the long haul, many of us fall short.
We look to fulfill our nutritional needs with processed protein powders filled with chemicals and additives, packaged and processed foods or nutrients in a pill.
True nutrition is found in nature, not in a package. Why people keep trying to go against and defy this basic nutritional truth I have not figured out. There is no substitute for whole foods.
The wise fitness trainee uses gelatin-rich broth on a frequent basis to provide continuous protection from many health problems, better recuperative abilities and as an invaluable aid to the body in more fully utilizing the complete proteins taken in.
My mother made wonderful homemade chicken and beef soups which I enjoyed while growing up. I had gotten away from homemade stocks in my 20-40’s and started making them again about 5 years ago after finding the Weston A. Price Foundation and meeting Sarah.
The one stock I had never tried and some people seem to shy away from is fish stock. This has become one of my very favorites and my husband and I consume it almost on a weekly basis in many delicious chowders and sauces. The following excerpt is from Nourishing Traditions. . .
“Another traditional belief is that fish head broth contributes to virility. Fish stock, made from the carcasses and heads of fish is especially rich in minerals including all-important iodine. Even more important, stock made from the heads and therefore the thyroid glands of the fish, supplies thyroid hormone and other substances that nourish the thyroid gland.
According to some researchers, al least 40% of all Americans suffer from a deficiency of the thyroid gland with its accompanying symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, frequent colds and flu’s, inability to concentrate, depression and a lot of more serious complications like heart disease and cancer. We would do well to imitate our brothers from the Mediterranean and Asian regions by including fish broth in the diet.”
I find consuming foods with fish stock very rejuvenating, giving me more energy and restoring mental abilities. I have noticed after having fish chowder in the evening I sleep incredibly well that night. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
One of the secrets is to start with quality ingredients. Anyone living in coastal areas should be fortunate enough to have a friend or relative that fishes. Simply have them save you the heads and carcasses of the fish they catch and freeze until you are ready to use. If not, your local fish market should be willing to do the same.
One of my favorite recipes using fish stock is conch chowder, which I’ve shared below. You may substitute milder tasting shrimp stock or lobster broth if desired.
Hope you enjoy it!
Bahamian Style Conch Chowder Recipe
Nutritious, classic recipe for conch chowder blended with spices that add an island flare. Perfect as an appetizer but hearty enough to serve as a main meal. Makes fabulous leftovers for the lunchbox.
- 1 quart fish stock
- 1 lb conch ground or chopped
- 2 Tbl butter preferably grassfed
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1 red pepper seeded, chopped
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 small sweet potato chopped
- 6 sprigs parsley chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5 cups fresh tomatoes chopped
- 1 Tbl apple cider vinegar
- sea salt to taste
- cayenne pepper to taste
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Saute the onion, celery, carrots, pepper, potato, thyme, red pepper, allspice and bay leaver for 5-7 minutes, until they begin to soften.
Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil; immediately lower to a simmer.
Blend in the conch and cook for 35 minutes, uncovered.
Add the vinegar, parsley, scallions, sea salt and cayenne and simmer for 5 more minutes.
If you find the conch too tough to pound with a meat mallet, then chop it up with a sharp knife instead.
The thing about using mason for jars for storage is that BOTH the jar and food HAS to be at the same temperature: hot jars, hot stock; cold jars, cold stock. If you put hot stock into hot mason jars, you MUST let the jars cool completely at room temperature before freezing them to prevent thermal shock (which causes them to break). The easiest way to use mason jars for freezing stock is to let the stock cool completely in a separate vessel at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight, skim off the fat, pack into jars leaving 1 inch of headspace, then freeze (don’t forget to label and date!). If you’ve stored your jars in a hot room (above 72 degrees), you will need to chill them slightly before packing stock into them.
Someone asked about canning stock for moving/traveling. I don’t recommend this, because you would need to use a pressure canner in order to reach a safe temperature. Pressure canning is dangerous if you are not familiar with it and/or haven’t done it before. Also, the temperatures reached for pressure canning (in excess of 212 degrees, above boiling) is likely to destroy a large portion of the gelatin in stock. Instead, If your traveling time is not more than 8-10 hours, I recommend freezing the stock in jars and then packing it in a styrofoam cooler with dry ice. Seal the cooler with duck tape and then pack carefully in a cardboard box with adequate padding. This should work fine.
I just looked at the picture on this site of all the jars in the freezer, and the jars I’m referring to are the ones in the middle row.
I was frustrated with glass jars breaking when I froze liquids in them, and have found that when I use the pint sized jars sold as suitable for freezing, there isn’t a problem. These jars have straight sides, with no indentation just below the area where the bands screw on.
In my area I can’t buy quart sized jars in that style, but occasionally I find them in thrift stores. I have been told that they aren’t being manufactured any more, but I’m not sure on that.
There are also straight sided jars sold as jelly jars that are approximately 5 inches tall, and I use those also.
I was told that if a person freezes liquid in any type jar with the lid OFF, the jar won’t break either. I haven’t tried it.
I’ve been making broth now for several years, and am reaping the health benefits. I have some areas on my teeth next to the gum line that were hyper sensitive, but now they are remineralized to the point there is NO sensitivity. I don’t attribute this to broth alone, because I basically eat a Weston A Price diet in all areas, but I strongly feel that the broth is a big factor.
I hope the tips on the jars are helpful.
Thanks so much for mentioning that about your teeth. I’ve got the same problem and have been discussing with my dentist the possibility of doing gum grafts. Now I think I’ll try adding bone broths and FCLO/HVBO to my diet and see if that takes care of the problem. Fingers crossed!
Thank you for your informative post. I will try to make my own fish stock.
Are there any fish that should be avoided when making stock?
I was taught in my uber-classically French culinary training not to use anything but white fish for fish stock. Other red-fish like trout, tuna, and salmon will sometimes give off flavors to fish stock and will also produce a stock that is murky and too greasy (the fat doesn’t solidify for easy removal since most of it is not saturated) for many cooking applications. You can also make shell-fish stock with shrimp, lobster, and crab shells, but be careful because these stocks literally only take 45 minutes to cook.
I usually stick with snapper and grouper. Any mild, lean white fish will do. Avoid oily fish like salmon, macekrel and trout.
Shellfish stock is delicious also but like Roxanne said it only takes about 45 mins to cook.
I make shrimp stock from the heads and tails–great for soups and sauces also!
Would you mind sharing your shrimp stock recipe? Thanks!
I think it tastes wonderful straight but if you are bothered by the taste occasionally, try stirring a tiny bit of miso, soy sauce, etc. into it; lovely!
It is SO exciting to see this suggestion come across my iPhone while I am cooking this morning! I have been making chicken broth for several months and today am in process of making my very first beef broth! Now I am being encouraged to consider fish-stock. The fear is gone. I love the support and receive it with gusto!
I often just drink my gelatin-rich broth straight up, with fried eggs (in BUTTER) for breakfast! 😀
Actually, sometimes I fry my eggs in bacon fat. (That’s what I did this morning) 🙂
That sounds delicious! I am going to try that, what a powerfully healthy breakfast. I love my eggs in bacon–try duck fat sometime to mix it up–equally yummy.
fried eggs in duck or chicken fat – I agree! Amazing!!!
We do the same thing! Fried eggs and a mug of hot broth for breakfast. My boys (ages 10 and 7) love it.
All of that broth is beautiful and tasty looking. How do you freeze it in glass without it breaking?! I gave up on glass a long time ago because I lost the food and the jars. Yes, I would leave plenty of headroom. I would only fill the jars 2/3 full to see if that would help but it was to no avail. What is your secret? Can broth be canned without losing the nutrients? We will be moving. I have a load of bones that I want to turn into broth and take with us if the nutrients will survive the process of canning.
Hi Sarah, I have never had any problems with my Mason jars cracking or breaking. After I strain the broth through cheesecloth I usually will let it cool overnight in the refrigerator. You can skim off the fat if you like but I prefer to leave keep it in the broth. Then I fill the Mason jars leaving about 3/4 to an inch room at the top.
Paula, you have inspired me to try freezing in glass again. I had a terrible time with them breaking and gave up and went to big plastic jugs as I tend to use a gallon or two of stock at a time.
Maybe the secret to not breaking the glass in the freezer is to cool it down in the fridge first, as well as to leave enough head space in the jar….. just a thought. I have had good success with freezing in glass.
I think my problem is that I used huge mason jars, 1/2 gallon size. I see Paula’s are quite small.
I use 3 different sizes: half pint, pint and quart which are behind the smaller ones.
i freeze mine in freezer bags that i put in plastic shoe boxes size labelled chick beef fish or whatever but i also label the bottom of the bags so i can see what it is with a permanent sharpie and date it juuust in case
I like the bags because they stack flat.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Can I just say that being a gal of French descent, crawfish etouffee is definitely one of my all time favorite Cajun dishes. I serve mine over spinach pasta ribbons (soaked of course), not an option for Primal eaters but as for me, I do like to eat my grains and find them beneficial to my overall health and metabolism when consumed in moderation and prepared traditionally 🙂
Sarah, do you make your own spinach pasta ribbons or do you buy them??
I buy them and then soak them for 24 hours prior to cooking.
How do you soak the pre-made pasta? Thanks!
I guess I am asking how you soak the pasta without it turning to mush…