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Does fish stock gel?

Whenever I make chicken bone broth (with a couple carcasses, necks, backs and sometimes feet simmered for 24 hours) it turns out perfectly silky and gelatinous when cooled.

I just recently have been trying to make fish/crab stocks from spent bones and shells (simmered only an hour or so) and while the stocks are delicious they do not gel when cooled.

Has anybody else achieved a gelatinous fish stock? Or beef stock for that matter?

When I make elk and beef stock from spent and roasted bones I have never achieved a viscous/gelled stock either.

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  1. All of my beef stock gels as does my deer stock (I don't have access t elk). It could be your technique in this case.

    Fish stock from bones and shells won't gel, but fish stock from a lot of carcasses heads and skin does gel. My particular favorite is stock from Chilean sea bass heads and frames.

    1. Don't ask detals other than the name sterlet. Imperial Russian cookery has gelled fish stock that, so they say, came from the backbone. I had it once in Praga restaurant in Moscow and it was interesting. As with so many other Slavic foods, you wonder what someone in the West would do with it. Not, of course, necessarily improve it but, withal, might have some fun

      no doubt there are experts Out There who can build on this little notion.

      1. All my stocks gel.

        Chicken, duck, pork, beef, fish, etc.

        The only exception? Vegetable.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Interesting - you've managed to get lobster stock to gel?

          1. re: wattacetti

            Yes, make sure to include the head (cleaned of poop)

            1. re: ipsedixit

              heh, ipse said 'poop' snicker... (Ok that joke usually works with 10 year olds)

              d'ya mean stuff like the tomalley? I thought that would be good in stock, isn't the whatchamacallit vein down in the thorax?

              1. re: hill food

                Yeah, the tomalley.

                And hell no am I using that for stock.

                That's scooped out an reserved to be enjoyed by the stock maker ...

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  isn't the tomalley the liver?

                  The vein down the tail is the poop.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                Yum, poop like that never tasted so good. Spread it on a cracker.

          2. this might be a terribly naïve question, but when you buy gefilte fish in a jar, the broth is jellied, right?

            Is that done from the bones and such of the fish to make the broth/stock?

            (this coming from a goy, who served piping hot gefilte fish for Passover once)

            1 Reply
            1. re: cgarner

              Yes, it is. Enough heads and frames, and the stock will gel.

            2. Yes, fish stocks will gel. You need the head though. There's a tremendous amount of gelatin in the head.

              Beef stock will gel too as long as you have the right cuts in there. Tail is where the jello's at.

              1 Reply
              1. re: joonjoon

                mmmm beef tail jello
                (why does that sound so delicious to me?)

              2. Wow a little late on my part but thank you for all your answers! Obviously it is my technique that is at fault...I'll take wattacetti's and joonjoon's advice and use fish frames/head and beef tails in my stock from now on.

                1 Reply
                1. re: FoxReindeer

                  You're looking for cartilage to make it gel...so things with lots of cartilage tend to make good gelled stock -- Feet, joints, tails, and jaws all have lots of connective tissue.

                2. Yes, gels for me, too. There are even marshmallows made with gelatin from fish bones, incidentally.

                  1. My beef stock always gels...I use raw marrow bones and oxtails. Gelatinous goodness! Your problem may be that your bones are already spent and roasted - the good stuff has already rendered down into the juices from the roast.