I've been making stock from vegetable scraps I've been keeping in the freezer (mainly carrots, celery, onion, tomato, and parsley). I read elsewhere that one could include egg shells in stock. Is this a good idea? How many should I include?
I've not heard of egg shells being used that way. I'm not sure what they would add.
The classic way of clarifying a meat stock to make it crystal clear (ie: for a consommé) is to whisk egg white (and I know at least one chef who adds crushed up egg shell to this mix) and finely ground meat into the cold stock and then gradually heat it. As the added ingredients cook they rise through the stock trapping all the bits that make it cloudy and the gunky 'raft' can be skimmed off the top.
Adding egg shells to a brown stock is a great way of clarifying the base. It creates a 'raft' which helps absorbs the impurity's which would otherwise spoil your stock.
All the ends and bits of vegetables, including onion skins, etc., are the most nutritious parts of the vegetable and lend flavor to the stock. It's great if you can save them and add them in.
As for eggshells, it's some of the most bio-available form of calcium (add a little vinegar when boiling), very similar to our own composition. I haven't tried it yet, but will be saving my shells from now on. It always felt a little weird to throw them out, and am excited now that I can stick it in the freezer collection bag.
A classic way to clarify stock is to stir in some beaten eggs and then bring the stock to a simmer. The egg proteins coagulate, rise to the top, and form a sort of strainer that filters out the bits and pieces that would otherwise make the stock cloudy. I've seen some recipes that instruct to you to break up the egg shells and mix them into the eggs before adding to the stock. I always assumed that the shells just add bulk and structure to the egg raft, helping it to hold together and form a better filter.
If you watch the Travel Channel episode on The God of Ramen -- renown ramen soup shop in Japan -- you will see that the chef there uses the egg shells to clarify the broth. That is all that is said about it. You will see the egg shells floating atop the soup, which also has lots of ground pork and other ingredients simmering along with them.
When they serve the soup, they ladle it into a strainer first, so that the broth is clear.
I was told by my head chef who hails from italy that putting the shells in your stock with actually make it darker. He said there is a specific vitamin in the shells that does this. Havent tried it yet though.
Like many other posters, I think egg shells will not change any culinary property of your stock significantly. However I do have heard about egg shells being used by people who want to increase the nutritional value (egg shells are rich in calcium)
However I never use them since I rather go with more a pure and traditional taste. Something for example that seems being forgotten (specially at homes) but still enhance the stock are chicken feet. If I were making chicken stock, I would make sure that above all things, the feet are not missing.
yeah right !
Hair has immense protein... why dont we put it in our broth and simmer for hours.. or even better start eating it raw ??
There are some stuff that is inedible and no matter how much mineral content they have, they will never be edible.. eating hair will kill you as it will just accumulate in your stomach and the body does not know how to get rid of it
Egg shells I can guarantee you is not edible and will get create sludge in your body
Perhaps its not as lethal as hair , but your system definitely does not know what to do with it if you can't actually EAT it .. I mean your powdering it and forcing it down because its INEDIBLE !