Fish Stock: Locally caught, prepared at home:
Recently around 1/2 dozen or so large mouth bass were caught in the large pond up and over the hill on the property just south of us. We’ve had permission to fish there for years from former owners ( dairy farmers across the road ) and for sometime now, from the new owners of the property.
After my son filleted I told him I wanted the heads / carcasses – minus the guts for fish stock .
The next day I pulled one of my bigger stainless pots out and opened up to page 119 of Nourishing Traditions to follow the basic fish stock recipe because I planned on freezing the broth after for future use.
Notes in Nourishing Traditions about meat and fish stocks tell us of how our modern society has taught us to not cook like our ancestors and rely on ready packaged because of our hurry up and throwaway society mentality. Isn’t that the truth! While both have universally been used in traditional cuisines in countries such as France, China, Japan, Africa, Russia and others while it’s nearly disappeared in our American culture. Thankfully today we are seeing a change amongst many of us that are realizing the need to remove industrialized food products from our diets and return back to traditional made from scratch foods that nourish our bodies. Using foods that we grow our own and / or bought locally from farmers.
Fish Stock ( meats also ) are high in nutrition. Because of how they are prepared, our bodies can properly utilize the minerals in the bones,
cartilage and marrow. Using wine and / or vinegar the minerals, especially calcium, magnesium and potassium are drawn out into the broth. This I am afraid is not what you find on your grocery store shelf labeled as broth. As far as I’m concerned the broths you find there are nothing more than flavored water with high amounts of refined salt. When you make your own fish stock especially using the heads you reap higher benefits. Stock made using the heads of the fish give us so many nutritional benefits because the heads contain the thyroid glands of the fish that has iodine an essential trace element and other properties to enhance the health of our own thyroid and our whole body.
Iodine is stored in our skin, teeth, nails, all the organs, and bones.
Some of the benefits of iodine are:
Helps in the maintenance of our energy levels each day.
Helps to maintain a healthy weight level.
Helps your ability to tolerate cold temperatures***.
Plus, normal digestive activity, full and shiny hair, normal skin and supple fingernails.
*** In regards to body heat my husband recently started taking 1 drop of Lugol’s Iodine 3 times a week at supper time. We put the one drop into a gel capsule, then he takes it with a glass of water along with his cod liver oil and a few other meds he is on. It made a 180 degree turn around in his body heat. Going from being cold all the time even in warmer temps to not being cold anymore. Eventually we will drop back to 1 drop per week for maintenance.
So Iodine in our diets is a very important trace element that we all need.
And getting it in our foods is a good way to do that.
Recipe I followed was as written in Nourishing Traditions.
3 – 4 whole carcasses, including the heads of non-oily fish
such as sole, turbot, rockfish, snapper and others.
2 tablespoons of butter ( do not substitute )
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
several sprigs fresh thyme
several sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1/4 cup vinegar ( I used Bragg’s Apple Cider )
3 quarts cold water
**Please note, I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand so I used dried and it worked just fine. I didn’t measure, just second guessed as to how much per each to substitute dry for fresh. Also, I double the recipe for the amount of carcasses I had.
In a large stainless steel pot melt the butter, then add the carrots / onions. Cook them gently for about 1/2 hour, until they are somewhat soft.
Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the fish carcasses and cover with the cold water. Add the vinegar.
Bring to a boil and skim off the scum impurities as they rise to the top. This is of importance because the scum impurities can made your stock go foul.
NT say’s to tie the herbs together ( if your using fresh ) and them to the pot after your finished skimming.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 4 – 24 hours.
I did the 24 hours simmer.
Note that if your going to do the 24 hr. it’s a good idea to start it say in the morning so your finishing the next morning.
Once done, remove from the heat source. Take a tongs and remove the carcasses. The with a fine meshed stainless strainer, pour the stock through for a beautiful clear stock. Pour into small size jars – 1/2 pint / pint size or any jars you have around that are small. Fill each, leaving good head space. Put the jars into the refrigerator to completely cool down. Once cool skim off the congealed fat before transferring to the freezer for long term storage. Clear stock will keep in the refrigerator about 5 days, longer if reboiled and for several months in the freezer.
Sarah over at the Healthy Home Economist has a great Fish Stock 101 tutorial you can watch below, to show you just how easy it is to make it yourself. Just another step in adding more nutrient dense foods to your families diet.