The goodness of fish bone broth
Bone broth - the ancient superfood that everyone's talking about these days. Recently it has popped up on many podcasts i've been listening to, mainly from the alternative medicine practitioners when talking about autoimmune disease. Or open-minded doctors, plant-based or paleo cooks looking to heal their own health issues.
I initially stumbled across it after experiencing 8 months of hair loss post diagnosis. I started looking for ways to help my hair and collagen came up again and again. I invested in a good quality marine collagen powder to add to my smoothies which I use daily, but really wanted to be able to drink the broth as well. It seemed like the perfect savoury, winter warmer.
Then I realised I could make my own! light bulb moment. Then I also realised I could make it with the wild caught fish frames left over from Bens fishing, and store it in the freezer to eat at my leisure - double light bulb moment.
Ben had done this many times before so I dont know why the penny hadn't dropped earlier - probably becuase beef bone broth is the most popular and i'd never realised that fish frames were an option. I had also separated bone broth and stock in my head as being 2 totally different things when really, if a stock is made with bones then it's a bone broth too. So not only can you use it as the base of your recipes, you can have it alone as a healthy snack.
Don't worry if you don't have a fisherman in the house - you can get fish frames from your local fish monger for free. Just make sure its the non-oily kind of fish and check if they have any wild caught frames over farm raised, for the best nutrients.
The healing powers of bone broth happen when you boil down the fish frames or bones of an animal and all the connective tissues, collagen and nutrients come out of the bones into the stock. This being the perfect ingredient for healing and repairing a leaky gut, which is commonly believed to be the root cause of autoimmune disease by alternative doctors. It also strengthens our hair, skin and nails and keeps our joints lubricated and pain free.
The making of bone broth and it's healing powers date back thousands of years. If you ask your grandmother she probably won't be surprised in hearing about it and possibly even made a fair few batches herself.
"In Chinese medicine, whose origins date back over 2,500 years, bone broth is used to support digestive health, as a blood builder, and to strengthen the kidneys. Then, beginning in 12th century Egypt, physician Moses Maimonides was known to prescribe chicken soup as a medicinal remedy for colds and asthma. Maimonides was a rabbi and revered Jewish philosopher so maybe that’s one reason chicken soup has been a part of traditional Jewish kitchens for generations. It even earned the nickname Jewish Penicillin for its anti-inflammatory benefits and as a longtime remedy for cold and flu symptoms. Cultures far and wide have nourished their families with bone broths and handmade stocks throughout history." - barebonesbroth.com
Here's the recipe I've been using in case you want to make it too.
Make sure you have lots of windows and doors open and plenty of ventilation when you make it as it can get a little smelly - definitely shut the bedroom doors.
FISH BONE BROTH RECIPE
Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: Varies depending on pot size; these ingredients are sufficient for 1 gallon of broth
5–7 pounds fish carcasses or heads from large non-oily fish such as halibut, cod, sole, rockfish, turbot, or tilapia (see Notes)
- 1–2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
- 2 ribs organic celery, including leafy part, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- Purified water to just cover the bones in the pot
- 2 bay leaves
- 1–2 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon bouquet garni or a small handful of fresh parsley and 4–5 stems fresh thyme
- Wash the fish and cut off the gills if present.
- In a large stockpot, add a little water to cook the carrots, celery, and onion, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
- Add the fish and enough water to cover it by 1”. Increase the heat to medium and bring the water to a bare simmer. Use a shallow spoon to carefully skim the film off the top of the broth. Add the bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and bouquet garni and reduce the heat to low. Cook at a bare simmer for about 50 minutes, uncovered or with the lid askew. Continue to skim the surface as needed.
- When the broth is done, remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs and/or a large slotted spoon, remove all the bones. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids.
- Let cool on the counter before refrigerating. You can skim off the fat easily after the broth is chilled, if desired. I chill mine in the fridge for a night in a big glass container. Then skim the fat off the top the next day and add it to ceramic coffee cups to freeze in cup sized portions. When chilled, the broth should be very gelatinous. The broth will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator and 3 or more months in your freezer.
Notes: Non-oily fish is necessary because the fish oils in fatty fish such as salmon become rancid in cooking. The cartilage in fish bones breaks down to gelatin very quickly, so it’s best to cook broth on the stove top.
For a quick snack I usually do the following...
- Take 2 frozen cups out of the freezer, run the sides under hot water till they loosen - flip the cups over into a pot and they should slide out easily
- Heat about in a saucepan on the stove till melted, then I add a little of the following...
- Fresh grated ginger
- Fresh crushed or diced garlic
- Ripped kale leaves
- Small amount of chilli flakes
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Really small amount turmeric (can be quite over-powering)
- Any other veges you like - spring onion, carrot, celery, spinach - anything can be added, just dice thinly so they cook
- A few dulse flakes (don't overdo it they're rich and salty)
- Anything else you want to add
Cook till all the vege is steamed and it's nice and hot.
Hope you enjoy!!
Let me know if you have any great fish bone broth recipes that you've tried or have any improvements to this recipe that would elevate it. I'd love to know more about creating super tasty broths as I think this will be another staple for us now.