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15 Interesting Facts About Beef Stock

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Beef stock is an essential base for many dishes in the kitchen. This flavorful liquid adds body and richness to soups, stews, gravies, and more. From its health benefits to how it’s made, beef stock has some fascinating facts behind it.

Here are 15 interesting tidbits to know about beef stock:

Facts About Beef Stock

  1. Beef bones are typically used to make beef stock, including marrow bones, knuckle bones, oxtails, or neck bones. These bones impart lots of collagen, gelatin, minerals, and flavor.
  2. It takes hours to extract all the nutrients and taste from beef bones when making a stock. Many chefs simmer their beef stock for at least 3 hours and up to 48 hours for maximum extraction.
  3. Homemade beef stock has more protein than commercial stocks. A hearty beef bone broth can have around 6 grams of protein per cup thanks to all the bone, marrow, and cartilage used.
  4. Bone broth is considered one of the world’s first foods. Early hunter-gatherers would boil down whole animals, including bones and connective tissue, to get every last nutrient out. This was an early form of beef bone broth.
  5. Beef stock should never actually “boil.” As counterintuitive as that sounds, boiling causes impurities to get mixed into the stock and turns it cloudy. Gentle simmering extracts the most nutrients and flavors.
  6. Many cultures have their own beef bone broth traditions. Osso buco in Italy, caldo de res in Mexico, and phở in Vietnam all rely on long-simmered beef marrow bones as their base.
  7. It can help joint health. The collagen and gelatin abundant in beef bone broth can help ease joint stiffness and pain. The glucosamine in marrow bones also supports cartilage.
  8. Beef stock should gel when chilled. A good gauge of beef stock is that it solidifies like jello in the fridge, thanks to all that luscious gelatin from long cooking.
  9. Many chefs roast beef bones before making stock. Roasting brings out deeper flavor and color through the Maillard reaction. It caramelizes the bones for a richer-tasting stock.
  10. Some bone broth fans drink it daily. From athletes to dieters, bone broth has become a popular daily health tonic for its dense nutrients and gut-friendly properties.
  11. It freezes exceptionally well. Home cooks can freeze surplus stock in batches for months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using again.
  12. Cartilage and tendons boost the gelatin. Joints like knee knuckles, shank cross-cuts, oxtails, and chicken feet provide connective tissues that melt into luscious gelatin.
  13. Marrows impart flavor and nutrition. Inside bones like femurs and humerus are marrow caches with healthy fats, vitamin K2, iron, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
  14. Most recipes call for water and bones only. Beyond bones, standard beef stock typically uses minimal ingredients: water, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, peppercorns, and bay leaves. The bones do the rest!
  15. It beats canned or boxed. Homemade beef bone broth has exponentially more protein and far less preservatives than commercial stocks. For health and flavor, it can’t be beat.

In Conclusion

Beef stock made from simmering beef bones makes for a nutrient-dense broth perfect for enhancing stews, braises, soups and gravies. With its high collagen content from bones and connective tissue, beef stock promotes joint health while also packing a savory punch of flavor. From its incredibly long cooking times to its insanely high gelatin content, beef stock is truly fascinating. Next time you make soup or stew, try starting with a homemade beef stock. Your tastebuds and your body will thank you!

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