Does fish stock make your list of the top 10 things you need to try?
It certainly didn't make mine!
The idea of it conjured up memories of swimming in the lake back home — and getting a mouthful of fishy water when I jumped in too fast. Yep, one taste was enough.
Yet… I'm a reader, and when I read about the health benefits of fish stock, I had to give it a try.
The Benefits Of Fish Stock
“Fish broth will cure anything.” –South American proverb
While all meat stocks are healthy, fish stock is in a class all its own! It has been revered for centuries. Chinese doctors actually used it to rehabilitate aging patients, noting that it improved their mental clarity.
According to a study from Norway…
“The nonusers had a somewhat poorer health status. The prevalence of several diseases was significantly higher among those who did not eat fish and fish products than among those who did. […] In the elderly, a diet high in fish and fish products is associated with better cognitive performance…” (source)
Fish stock made with the fish head is even better. With the fish head included and cooked in the stock, the fish's thyroid gland disintegrates, providing the thyroid hormone to anyone eating it.
All About The Thyroid
What is your thyroid? It's a gland in your neck that controls many of your hormones and body's functions. It creates the thyroid hormone which in turn stimulates growth, mental activity, and your body's metabolism.
If you have a thyroid deficiency such as hypothyroidism, you may experience:
- abnormal menstrual cycles
- bone loss
- chronic fatigue, weakness, loss of energy
- coarse, dry hair, and hair loss
- cold and flu symptoms
- cold (temperature) intolerance
- decreased libido
- deep, hoarse voice
- depression and irritability
- dry, rough pale skin
- low metabolism, fat retention, weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- memory loss and inability to concentrate
- muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
- slow pulse
Remember I mentioned that the thyroid hormone regulates the body's metabolism? This may not seem like much to get worked up about… at least until it doesn't work properly. That's where fish stock comes in!
Fish Stock & Metabolism
The thyroid gland regulates our metabolism — and our metabolism is responsible for turning the food we eat into energy. One consequence of a sluggish metabolism? Weight gain, or an inability to lose excess weight.
Not only does fish stock provide the thyroid hormone to give metabolism a boost, it also provides gelatin — a digestive aid that's essential to effective metabolism.
“Technically not a micronutrient, but as far as supplements to enhance metabolic function, [gelatin] is the single most important… Gelatin is massively important to the metabolic rewiring process.” –Ari Whitten, Metabolism Supercharge
Are you convinced about the wonders of fish stock yet? These are just a few of its secrets! It's both nourishing and affordable.
And, don't worry about it tasting fishy! It actually tastes quite pleasant. 🙂 I use in it place of water for nearly any main meal type recipe — as a base for soup, to boil pasta (or rice, or other grains), in homemade sauces and condiments like ketchup, and to saute vegetables.
How To Make Fish Stock
- 3 to 4 whole carcasses, including heads, of non-oily fish (sole, turbot, rockfish, snapper, or halibut)*
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- fresh or dried thyme
- fresh or dried parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 3 quarts water
Gluten-free, candida-diet. Adapted from Nourishing Traditions.
Melt butter in a large stainless steel pot. Sauté vegetables until just soft. Add white wine and bring to a boil. Add whole fish carcasses and cover with water. Then add vinegar and bring it to a boil once more. Skim off any scum that rises to the top. Add thyme and parsley.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 4 hours or as long as 24 hours. Strain liquid. Store in labelled pint-sized jars or containers. Store in fridge or freezer. Use in place of water as a base for soup, to boil pasta (or rice, or other grains), in homemade sauces and condiments like ketchup, and to saute vegetables.
Pick meat away from the bones (it will fall off by this time). Refrigerate or freeze to add to soup later, or use as you would canned tuna fish.
*According to Nourishing Traditions, fish stock is ideally made from the bones of sole or turbot. Unfortunately, in America, sole is usually pre-boned. Snapper, rock fish, and other non-oily fish work equally well. You may just have to ask your fishmonger to save the carcasses for you.
Oily fish like salmon shouldn't be used for making fish broth, because the highly unsaturated fish oils may become rancid during the long cooking process.
Do you know how to make fish stock? How has it benefited you?
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