Perhaps consuming only the meat around the bone has been one of the misdirections of modern food culture for so many decades. In our industrialized food system, we've gotten used to eating certain parts of the animal and have forgotten about the bones and organs that retain key nutrients. Yet, in the last several years, there has been an increasing trend in consuming bone broths in particular. You can order bone broth on tap from 350-square foot shops in New York, or even purchase directly in drinkable servings from your local grocery story.
Today we're diving into the difference between meat stock and bone broth. We'll review the beneficial properties of each and how to make them. While we draw a distinction between meat stock and bone broth, the nomenclature is not something that's officially written in any lexicon or dictionary. It's the cultures and practices behind these names that help to get the word out about the differences and benefits of each.
- Meat stock is short-cooked bones with meat on it. It's typically simmered for two hours or less for chicken, or three to four hours for heartier meat like lamb, bison, beef or pork.
- Bone broth is much longer cooked and has a much lower concentration of meat on the bones. It is cooked with primarily bone, marrow, and more connective tissue. Traditionally bone broth is cooked at least 24 hours, at times 48 to 72 hours to break down the minerals and nutrients from the bones and flavor the broth.
While ancient cultures around the world have known about the benefits of meal stock over bone broth for thousands of years, modern Western cultures are just now bringing scientific information to light about long-cooked bone broth:
Meat stock vs. bone broth
Short-cooked meat stock, which is the base for all of our postpartum soups and stews, supplies important amino acids and other nutrients and minerals in balanced concentrations that your body needs to function and heal properly. Meat stock is less digestively complex than pure bone broth and actually contains higher levels of collagen. Collagen is known for two very important amino acids glycine and proline, which are like the glue that holds our bodies together. For the general digestion by supporting connective tissues like intestinal walls. In postpartum nutrition, collagen is essential for strengthening and healing our connective tissues including pelvic floor, abdominal muscles and uterus.
Short vs. long-cooked methodsThe short-cooked method is our preferred method for extracting balanced nutrients and minerals. Most of these nutrients are pulled out of the bones and connective tissues during the first several hours of cooking. Since meat on the bones supplies a higher concentration of collagen (and flavor), it requires a shorter cook time to extract the optimal concentration of nutrients.
The long-cook method typically used to prepare pure bone broths extracts both more flavor and more nutrients overall. However, it also extracts much higher concentrations of glutamic acid (an amino acid) and histamine (a neurotransmitter) in the final product. Both are very important chemicals that act as cell messengers (neurotransmitters) to help our bodies perform essential functions in the brain, immune, digestive, and nervous systems. However, consuming an overabundance of each can lead to sensitivities like headaches and inflammation that don't serve your body.
We use only short-cooked meat stock, made of grass-fed beef or grass-pastured chicken, as the base for all of our postpartum soups and stews. Even our soups that are packed with colorful, in-season vegetables and dreamy soft lentils are built on the nutritional foundation of short-cooked meat stock. We love meat stock not only for its nutritional value for postpartum healing but also for helping you stay hydrated.
It's simple to make delicious and nourishing meat stock, so we are sharing one of our favorite recipes with you so you can continue to experience benefits during postpartum and beyond. Get our Recipe for Beef or Chicken Stock