• Focus on the Foods: Bone Broth

    Although the creation of a health supportive grocery has always been the goal of the kitchen, there exists a bit of a whirlwind of options the kitchen must negotiate. Originally, the idea was to create as many ways to access this food as there are ways to learn the world around you: through classes, feasts, events, personal cheffing, volunteer opportunities, the store, the CSK club boxes and other outreach. I realize in all of this the focus turned away from the foods themselves and rested on the accessibility modalities. I’ve created systems and community (love this one), experiences of one another, vehicles for offering a positive experience of food and one another as well as giving folks back the ability to customize their experience of traditional foods BUT I have neglected the foods themselves.

    Now that the community exists, the paradigm is supportive, I feel compelled to step back just a bit to honor yet again the foundational piece of Salt, Fire & Time: The foods!!! I want to educate you on the value, the why and how of what makes these valuable, delicious and powerful healing components of any diet. I want to help you develop your relationship not only to one another but to the foods that brought us all together — these foods create community and have since the beginning of society. This is paramount to taking the initiative to engage one another — if you don’t crave this one, then the whole house of of SFT falls apart and the funny thing is that it’s an easy one to do. The foods romance you all on their own, but please allow me to introduce you to Bone Broth, Cultured Vegetables and Fermented Sodas…
    Bone Broth: the ultimate peasant food panacea is the most foundational part of my pantry. Auguste Escoffier said, “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking..without it nothing can be done.” He is so romantically correct. Stocks and broths are the beginning of building flavor in any food tradition. They begin the process of digestion too. Bone Broths are the process of taking what’s left after the meats have been removed and slowly drawing out the minerals, amino and marrow into solution to create a gelatinous multipurpose portion of your pantry artillery. Like all things good, it takes time but no real expertise, unless, like me, you wrestle with patience. One of my students suggested that we start a “forget about it” cookbook, since so many of the processes require you to leave them to the work without much intervention. Bone broth is one of them. Taking your collection of miscellaneous and mixed bone parts, acidulating some water, bring the whole mess to about 180 degrees F and then leaving it to gurgle for at least 8 but sometimes as much as 72 hours! Truly, you have to just train yourself to Forget-About- It for a bit. The result is pregnant with marrow, life essence, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace elements as well as gelatin/collagen and amino acids like arginine and glycine. Though not a complete protein, it is enough of one to support someone struggling to recover for whom the true act of mastication is a challenge — For the rest it aids digestion by drawing digestive enzymes to cooked food in the gut, tones the intestinal tract, helps to prevent and mitigate infectious diseases and soothes the nervous system. It is a folk remedy for just about anything and in our present day palate vernacular, one of the most mysteriously satisfying foods — especially for transitioning vegetarians! ha! I can work it into just about any part of my day and often do as a snack, breakfast, a quick pick me up or a gentle warm cup before bed. This begins to create a foundation for health regardless the condition or necessary nutritional support. Bone Broth is both protocol and preventative for things like cancer recovery, diabetes, weight loss, autism recovery, heart disease, inferitlity, pregnancy support, chrone’s disease and colitis, among others…but most importantly for general wellbeing and optimum health.

    Of course, not all bones are created equal…it is imperative that the bones your source come from pastured animal farms. It is also important that your water is clean and your vinegar is clear (like a cider, wine or rice vinegar), beyond that you can choose your own adventure and follow what your palate prefers. Here are some quick notes to guide you…

    Fish Bones (particularly the heads) are a great source of iodine and a folk remedy for thyroid issues (weight gain, heart disease, inability to concentrate and depression) and verility. I like to include the spines and tails too. A bit of white wine and a few aromatic herbs make this a true perfume!
    Lamb Bones – the neck and rib bones make the best gelatin and have great flavor
    Chicken Bones (the traditional remedy for asthma, colds and flu) are the most user friendly. I prefer to use backs, necks, heads and feet as well as the leftover carcasses form dinner.
    Pork Bones — often overlooked, these make a very mild and sweet broth, great for getting kids into broth be sure to include the skins!
    Beef Bones are my favorite. Be sure to include joints, tails and split the long bones if you can.
    A Basic Recipe:

    1 pound mixed bones/quart of purified water
    a splash of raw apple cider vinegar
    1/2 handful of aromatic herbs
    1 onion, split — include the skin
    1 carrot broken in half

    Place all the ingredients in a heavy stock pot and allow to sit at room temperature 1 hour to begin the process of drawing minerals out of the bones. Bring the contents to a low boil, check your temperature for about 180 degrees F and allow to gently simmer, bubbles just coming under the surface, for at least 8 hours. Trust me the lower the temperature for a longer amount of time, the better your broth will be. When you are ready, strain out the bones and vegetal material, and package your broth in whatever containers you choose. It freezes well. Some folks like to store it in ice cube trays for easy access. You can also use a pressure canner to store it in your pantry a room temp (saves fridge and freezer space). If your gelatin set isn’t what you were hoping for, not to fear, consider just adding in a pastured gelatin like Bernard Jenson’s Beef Gelatin (available through Radiant Life Catalog) to get the desired effect.
    This will become the basis for your soups, stews, braises, sauces, gravy, use it to cook your beans and grains in or any other creative space you can think of!

    For more information click here to check out the Townshend Letter on Bone Broth (by Dr. Allison Siebecker)