Last week I walked the aisles of a chain vitamin store and chuckled at the sight of the new collagen powders that promise everything from younger skin to stronger bones, supple joints to thicker hair & stronger nails, even the eyes and brain can benefit from collagen. What makes me laugh is that while these powders fetch anywhere from $35- $100 a jar, my grandmothers’ soup cost her about 8 bucks, lasted all winter long- in batches in the freezer in her signature orange Tupperware and was loaded, I mean LOADED with collagen!
My grandmother made the best chicken soup. She really put a lot of love and good energy into it. Cutting and chopping all sorts of vegetables and placing them into a pot the size of Alaska, then she added either chicken, turkey or beef marrow bones- plenty of them. She left this caldron going over a low flame all day long. The result ; the most perfect golden stock, glistening with beads of chicken, turkey or beef fat that clung to my lips like some sort of Bonnie Bell Kissing Potion chicken flavored lip gloss. It was the answer to everything. Tired? “have some soup!” sniffles? “have some soup!” couldn’t go number two…? “go ahead sit down, I am making you some soup!”
Collagen is a protein in the connective tissues of all mammals. Collagen makes up more than 25 % of the proteins in our body. It can be thought of as the substance that holds us together. Without collagen we could not function. Like I said before it positively affects nearly every part of the body. It not only keeps you looking young by helping skin stay elastic and hair shine, it keeps your body youthful feeling.
According to and article written by my personal nutrition hero Sally Fallon entitled “Broth Is Beautiful” it not only contains collagen (she calls it gelatin)
Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.
In the past everyone made some sort of stock – nearly every traditional culture did. But the thing with good stock is that it takes time – hours and hours of time for the bones to release all of that beneficial collagen. The one thing we don’t have much of anymore in today’s high paced-mega-fast world is time.
Today stock comes in cans, dried cubes and powders, none of which contain any collagen. In addition to being devoid of any real health benefits, these new short cut stocks are loaded with commercial salt, additives like MSG and even sugar!
So what can you do?
Actually make a stock yourself! Go ahead, you can channel my grandmother if you like. It may take about 16 hours but once you make it you will have plenty for months. I like to pick a day when I will be in the house anyway, a day when I am cleaning and doing laundry or catching up on reading. I start in the morning and let the stock go all day.
Scroll down for my favorite recipe…
You can just order it online. We live in a great age when any and everything is available over the web. Many farmers offer traditional stock. You can go to http://www.westonaprice.org once you become a member they send you a newsletter with lists of farmers to purchase stock from. These farmers have high integrity and use only naturally raised/free-range animals, farmers feed these animals only what they were designed to eat.
Hit your grandmother/mother up. There is nothing wrong with phoning granny and asking her to make you some stock. She will most likely jump at the chance to lovingly nourish you.
Here is my favorite recipe for stock. I hope you enjoy it and start your own tradition of good health and gorgeous skin and supple bones.
2 pounds of chicken bones -necks, backs, breastbones and wings
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons white wine
1 large onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
3 celery ribs chopped
1 turnip chopped
1 bunch of fresh dill
1 bunch fresh parsley
Make sure to use all Farm-raised, free-range chickens and organic produce.
Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, wine and all vegetables except parsley. I use something called a “soup sock” that way it’s easier to clean up and it gets much less messy. http://www.kitchenkapers.com/regency-soup-socks.html Bring to a boil, and remove the foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8- 16 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley and dill. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
Remove the soup sock or strain soup in a mesh strainer. Let cool and transfer to glass jars making sure to leave about an inch of free space at the top of each jar, place in the refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and keep in refrigerator or freezer.