The nutritional benefits from traditional, homemade broth were always known, but I always felt a little intimidated by it. It’s funny because I had no issue ever making my mom’s chicken soup (with BOXED broth, blech!) which is more work than letting broth come together in my crock pot for 24-48 hours! I have come a long way from when I first started experimenting with bone broth over a year ago.
We have such a “GO GO GO” lifestyle and it has been harming our health in more ways than one. Our parents’ generation were the ones who started going more and more for boxed and convenience packaged food. This allowed our great-grandparents’ prepared foods become a thing of the past. With that trickle down effect of relying more on processed foods, our health has declined. It’s the norm to buy canned soup, or grabbing boxed broth off the shelf to make homemade chicken soup. Not only is it more expensive to do it this way, it’s not as healthy! With those canned soup and boxed broth you are getting MSG, preservatives, cancer-causing BPA, and not getting the unbelievable nutritional benefits that traditional broth provides.
Bone broth is one of the most nourishing foods on the planet. In fact, I plan to start my son on bone broth once he is ready for food other than breast milk because not only is it loaded with nutrition, the nutrients it contains are readily and easily absorbed. You see, we are only as healthy as the nutrients we absorb and assimilate. You can take all of the vitamins you want, or eat fortified cereals, but if you aren’t absorbing those vitamins and minerals (all while compromising your gut) then what’s the point!?!??
Let’s talk about the benefits of making traditional gelatin-rich bone broth at home:
- Properly prepared meat stocks contain the minerals of bone, marrow, cartilage and vegetables as electrolytes, which is a form that is easy for our bodies to assimilate.
- The act of preparing stock with vinegar (the traditional way) will help to draw out the calcium, magnesium and potassium into the broth.
- The hydrophilic nature of the gelatin in homemade meat broths attracts digestive juices to itself for rapid and effective digestion.
- Gelatin acts first and foremost to aid in digestion, and has been used to successfully treat colitis, IBS, and Crohn’s disease.
- Gelatin helps your body to utilize the complete proteins that you consume. If you are unable to afford eating a lot of pasture-raised meats regularly consuming gelatin-rich bone broths is crucial.
Consuming traditional bone broth on a regular basis will help to protect you from many health problems.
Nourishing Chicken Bone Broth
Adapted from: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
what you’ll need:
- 3-4 pounds of bony chicken parts from pastured chickens (such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings. I often freeze carcasses from roasting a whole chicken)
- 4-6 chicken feet (optional, contains the most gelatin for added benefits)
- 4 quarts cold, filtered water
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s “with the mother”)
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch parsley
If the chicken wasn’t pre cooked (so if you bought raw bones) you can place chicken parts and place them in a pan, such as a cast iron pan, and brown them. (This step is optional/personal preference, it will darken the stock and add flavor.)
Place parts in a crock pot or large stock pot and add apple cider vinegar, vegetables (not parsley) and cover with filtered water (just add enough water to cover the bones and veggies, I usually leave about an inch or so above it). Allow it to sit in the crock pot or stock pot for 1 hour, no heat. After an hour turn it on high. During the next hour skim the scum that rises to the top. From here, keep it on low for another 8-24 hours. You want it at a low roll, not boiling. I usually have to keep the lid slightly ajar. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add parsley. From there take out all of the chicken and vegetable pieces with a slotted spoon and then strain broth through a mesh sieve into a bowl. Note, the water needs to be at steady 200-212 degree temp to break down the collagen. So depending on your crock pot, you may need to cook longer.
- When making a whole roasted chicken, save the carcass in a freezer bag to make stock later.Tip: one 3-pound chicken when meat is removed will not be 3-pounds of bones. Collect bones from 2-3 chickens.
- Go right up to your butcher and farmer and tell them you are making chicken stock. They should know what parts to send you home with.
- Never add salt and pepper when making stock. It should only be added to the end product (when it reduces the salt content will be much too high if added in the beginning)
- When freezing be sure to leave room for expansion in your mason jar! Otherwise the glass container will explode and ruin your batch!
- 2 pounds of chicken parts for stock cost around $3.00-$4.00. Making stock is one of the cheapest, most nutritious foods on the planet!
- You can get even more bang for your buck by making a whole chicken, then saving the carcass to make stock!
- Be sure to use bones from pastured chicken, otherwise it will not be as nutritious, and you will not get the full benefits.
- Keep the stock simmering and a low roll, not a high rolling boil.
- Always keep vegetable scraps such as onion, carrot and celery to freeze. Skins, tops and all!
- Herbs such as parsley easily go to waste. Always freeze to use in stock later.