The health benefits of Chicken Stock and How to make homemade stock

What are the health benefits of a good chicken stock?

1. Homemade stock is a source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus – the main minerals that make up your bone matrix. These minerals are especially important for women aged 40yrs + where the sex hormone, oestrogen is declining and you need to maintain strong bones as you age to prevent fractures and breaks. They are also important for young children going through a spurt of growth.

2. You get some of the cartilage that sits between the joining bones  of the animal and this provides us with collagen, elastin and other materials needed to repair our bone and cartilage matrix. Cartilage is very slow to repair in comparison to our other tissue such as skin as it is poorly supplied with blood. A food dose via broth every week or more often, may help.

3. You will notice how homemade stock looks like jelly(gelatin) once it cools. Gelatin calms and sooths the lining of our gut and improves the digestion of milk/dairy, beans and proteins such as gluten e.g. gravy with meat is a perfect combo. Homemade stock is an excellent choice for anyone with gut disorders such as IBS or IBD.

4. Homemade Stock provides collagen, a major component of our skin and is helpful for skin healing, repair and maintenance.

Buying a chicken:

When we move and exercise, we build stronger bones, bigger muscles and as a result we have less fat on our body. The same principle applies to any living species. Battery chickens are fatter and less muscular and a poorer quality protein choice. I recommend buying a free-range chicken. It is worth the money.

Making Chicken Stock:

After each chicken meal, freeze the leftover chicken bones & carcass until you have 3 whole chickens to make a good supply of stock.

Place 2 to 3 chicken carcass and bones into a large pot and cover with cold water. Ensure all skin is removed. Add about 30ml of vinegar as the acidity helps to leach the minerals from the bones (calcium, phosphorus and magnesium).

Roughly chop 2 celery sticks, 4 carrots, 2 onions, 5 peppercorns,3 garlic cloves and a bay leaf to the pot. Bring to the boil and turn the heat down and allow it to simmer for 3 hours.

Skim frequently to remove off any frothy material and fat that is on the surface. You can quickly cool the stock by placing the saucepan in a sink of cold water (re-fill sink 2-3 times).

Cooling the stock quickly prevents any bacterial growth or spoilage.

Strain and the liquid is your stock. Bin the bones and vegetables. Add ice-cubes to the cooling stock to help congeal any fat to the surface and remove.

Store in the fridge if you intend to use in the next 3 to 4 days. It becomes a gelatine substance. The more gelatine, the better the stock.

Freeze in batches for future use. Put a little stock in ice-cubes trays to use for gravies.

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