The Benefits of Gelatin (and How to Get More in Your Stock)
The hydrophilic nature of the gelatin in homemade meat broths has the unusual property of attracting digestive juices to itself. This is in the same manner as raw foods.
There is an extensive amount of research on gelatin benefits in the diet. Gelatin obviously aids digestion by rendering digestive juices more effective by attracting them to itself. It also has been found successful in treating digestive disorders such as IBS, colitis, and even Crohn’s disease.
Anemia and other blood disorders respond in healing fashion to gelatin in the diet. Interestingly, the first known reference to gelatin is from 204 AD. Chinese writings of that time describe gelatin as an agent to arrest bleeding or hemorrhage.
Benefits of Gelatin as a Home Remedy
Homemade stock is indispensable when a stomach flu makes its way around a household. It can slow and stop diarrhea when small amounts are consumed every few minutes.
In addition to stopping the runs, gelatin assists in neutralizing whatever intestinal poison is causing the problem. Unlike anti-diarrhea medicine from the pharmacy which only masks symptoms, gelatin goes to the root of the problem and facilitates healing.
Households where gelatinous broths, soups, and sauces are frequently consumed often get passed by when a stomach bug is making the rounds. Time spent in the kitchen preparing this age old remedy will be repaid many times over with fewer sleepless nights from ill children. No doubt fewer visits to the doctor and ER too.
How to Enjoy More Gelatin Benefits
A frequent question from folks new to Traditional Cooking who are enthusiastically seeking the benefits of gelatin to health, is “how do I get my stock to gel?” What does this mean? A successful batch of homemade bone broth turns into a jelly like substance in the refrigerator. This is due to the gelatin solidifying into a semi-solid state as it cools.
The #1 most common reason for stock that does not gel in the refrigerator is too much water was used to make the stock.
The amount of filtered water should just cover the bones. As the water boils off, feel free to add more water as the stock simmers for the required 4- 24 hours (or up to 72 hours if making beef stock), but only ever add enough additional water to cover the bones.
Stock can always be boiled down on the stove if too much water was inadvertently used. You can even boil it way down to a very concentrated, syrupy, reduction sauce, known as fumee, and then reconstitute with water when you are ready to use it.
Get More Gelatin in Your Stock
Is your stock is already gelling nicely but you want even more gelatin in the final product? Then be sure to ask your local poultry farmer for the feet and heads from your pastured chickens. Chicken feet and heads add loads of nutritious and healing gelatin to stock.
Another tip is to scald the chicken feet in boiling water to remove the skin before placing them in the stockpot. This will allow even more gelatin to get into your stock.
One final tip is to always start with cold water. Let the bones sit in the water with the bit of vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour before turning on the heat. This allows the fibers of bones and cartilage to open slowly. When this occurs, the maximum amount of flavorful juices and gelatin are released.
Source: Gelatin in Nutrition and Medicine, Gotthoffer
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.