Nourishing Benefits of Fish Broth

Fish Broth

Fish broth has been on my to-do list for months. The medicinal and nutritional properties blow all the other broths out of the water. Not only does it help build strong bones like the others, it also contains iodine, thyroid-strengthening substances and fat-soluble vitamins.

For fish broth you use the whole head and carcass of any non-oily fish. Most white fish are non-oily, like red snapper, sole, rock fish or halibut. The oil from fish like salmon or tuna are susceptible to rancidity. Omega 3 fat found at high levels in these fish are delicate and cannot be heated over a certain temperature.

I stopped by my local fish monger and bought a whole red snapper. Yes, I have a fish monger in my neighborhood. If you need an alternative source, ask any seafood counter at a grocery store to save the fish head and carcass for you. They typically throw them away so they may even give them to you for free. I’m going to try this tactic next time. I wanted to practice my fish filleting skills so I paid for the whole fish this time.

Cooking a fish head can be uncomfortable. Just think of it as similar to steaming a lobster. Keep the fish in the bag you bought it in until it’s ready to go in the pot. Then drop it in. Don’t look at it and you’ll be fine.

Sally Fallon wrote the book on traditional food preparation and the neccessity for bone broth as a daily food. Broth is a magic ingredient. In her book, Nourishing Traditions she writes, “meat-based broths, from which all the kitchen’s healing goodness flows.” In previous generations, “it’s aroma filled the house, cosseting all who inhaled it with deep well-being, as if the very air were filled with nurture…..and a far more essential nutrient: love.”

I’ll be honest, it gets quite fishy in the kitchen. Make sure to keep the lid on the pot while the broth is cooking. And it’s a good idea to keep a window open when you’re straining the broth. Our house smelled like China Town on a hot summer day. Have some vinegar ready for clean-up. You’ll need it to deodorize your entire kitchen. Pour some in the pot with warm water and allow to sit for an hour, covered. And keep the window open!

Fish broth is more nutritious and cooks in an eighth of the time of all other broths, two hours compared to 24 hours. The benefits are worth the stench.

Add the stock to Ramen, use it to cook vegetables, soak rice in it, or make a simple soup with shrimp, mushrooms, scallions and broth. When you have stock on hand, you can whip up a quick, delicious soup in 15 minutes.
Fish Broth

Fish Broth Fish Broth

Fish Broth

Nourishing Fish Broth
Nourishing fish broth to add to soups and cook with vegetables.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
  1. water to fill ¼ of large stock pot
  2. 1 lb red snapper head and carcass
  3. 2 tbsp Braggs apple cider vinegar
  1. ►Fill a large stock pot a quarter the way full with water. Bring water to simmer, add fish and apple cider vinegar then bring to boil. After boiling for three minutes remove any scum that has risen to the top of the water. I use a ladle for this.
  2. ►Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2 hours.
  3. ►Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Strain the broth and store in glass containers (link) in the fridge or freeze. Cheese cloth is an easy way to strain. Fit a piece over a glass jar and hold in place as you pour the broth into the jar. Discard the cheesecloth.
  4. ►Freeze any broth you will not use in a week.
Adapted from Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions
Sparkle Kitchen


Broth is Beautiful,

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Bone Broth: Why & How To

Bone Broth

It’s getting back to the philosophy of using the whole animal. No part is wasted. Making broth from bones is steeped in as much tradition as it is in nutrition. Broth serves as the base for key cultural dishes the world over, from French Onion Soup to Shoyu Ramen.

My only memory of any sort of broth making was with the turkey carcasses post Thanksgiving. My grandmother is of the farming generation that lived on the land and knew the importance of using every animal part. She would simmer the carcass until the house filled with its comforting aroma. The turkey stock lasted for several months turning into various soups and stews. Thanksgiving kept on giving through the winter.

Broth can transform the most bland of meals into something rich and rounded. I use it in soups, stews, chili, sauces and to cook any vegetable. The nourishing properties of the broth are quickly absorbed. Add it to a big pot of turnip greens and you’ll never cook with water again.

According to the Weston A Price Foundation, the benefits may even outweigh the flavor. Bone broth has a list of essential minerals including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. It is also rich in glycine and proline, which are amino acids that build strong cartilage and bones. When the collagen attached to the bone breaks down into the water, it creates a natural gelatin. This gelatin acts as an aid to digestion, can reduce inflammation and improves irritable bowels.

Bone Broth

Broth is a simple, basic recipe. It only truly requires two ingredients, broth and water. Heating the two breaks down the bones and all their nourishing content. Apple cider vinegar is added to help draw out more of the minerals, specifically calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is definitely not necessary though. You can still have delicious, beneficial broth without acid added.

Use bones that have a lot of cartilage. Knuckle, neck and feet work well. If you’re intimidated, just ask your butcher for their recommendation. The right bones will produce the best results. When the broth has cooled in the fridge, it will form into a gelatin and jiggle like Jello.

I scoop out a few tablespoons of the gelled broth into my favorite over-sized mug then add a cup of boiling water. Stir together and enjoy as I write in my journal each morning. I’ve even added broth to tea. It offers a comfort similar to snuggling under a cozy blanket by the fire. Writing that sentence, even sends a warm feeling to my heart. You can keep it for 5 days in refrigerator and after that it is best to freeze.

For a list of FAQs on Bone Broth, Whole 9 offers a fabulous explanation.

Bone Broth

2 lbs of bones (I used beef knuckle and marrow bones)
1 tbsp Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
8 cups water

►Preheat oven to 350 degrees
►Place bones in a large cast iron pot and cook in oven for twenty minutes. This browns the bones so the broth has a richer flavor.
►Move pot to the stove top. Add in water and apple cider vinegar.
►Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 to 24 hours. As the water cooks down, add more water every six or so hours.
►As an alternative, you can cook the broth covered in an oven at 200 degrees. This works well overnight. Or if you really want to simplify it, use a crockpot.
►Pour into glass jars and refrigerate up to 5 days. Before use, skim off the fat on top and reserve it for cooking later.