A long time ago chicken stock didn’t come out of a can just a couple of times of year for holiday stuffings. Families used to make it themselves using the bones of the whole chicken. Homemade bone broth isn’t just economical, it’s incredibly nourishing as well. Its well worth your time (minimal) and effort (barely any) to bring homemade bone broth back into your family’s daily diet.
What is a bone broth? Bone broth is basically just water simmered slowly with bones and herbs, and/or vegetables for an extra layer of flavor. There is some confusion over the differences between a broth and a stock. Broth typically refers to the home cook (such as in this article) and sometimes indicates that more meat has been simmered than actual bones. Stock typically refers to a professional kitchen and sometimes can indicate use of bones only without meat. However, these days the words “broth” and “stock” are often used interchangeably.
Why is bone broth so beneficial? Slowly simmered bones release beneficial nutrients gelatin, collagen, and various minerals. When you simmer animal bones with a little bit of acid, like vinegar or wine, you draw out all of the minerals and collagen found in the bones and connective tissue. Gelatin is collagen that has been broken down. Gelatin attracts and holds liquids which help to support good digestion. Gelatin intake in our bodies helps to give us healthy nails and hair. Gelatin is made up mostly of the amino acids arginine and glycine. Arginine fights inflammation in our bodies, so consuming bone broth is a wonderful way to get the benefits of gelatin’s anti-inflammatory power as it soothes the lining of our intestines. If you’re suffering with food sensitivities, IBS, Crohns, colitis, and reflux it can be an incredible healing addition to your daily routine.
Many other nonessential amino acids are found in bone broths. Even though our bodies can produce these amino acids without obtaining them from food, when we are feeling stressed or fighting a virus or bacteria our bodies fall behind. Ever wondered if there was any truth to the statement that chicken soup heals you of your colds? Well, it certainly doesn’t hurt anything! The amino acid arginine also boosts your immune system and helps to heal wounds. Glycine helps to prevent the breakdown of muscle, supports your body’s ability to detox and supports healthy sleep. Glutamine helps to fuel your cells. Finally, the amino acid cysteine thins mucus which helps your body to expel it more efficiently.
Bone broths are incredibly nutrient dense and super easy to digest. In addition to the health benefits and economic benefits to making your own bone broth, it will add a wonderful dimension to your home cooking! Using your own bone broth you can reduce it down to a wonderful and flavorful sauce to accompany your meals, cook rice or grains in it, or use it as a base for a soup or stew. Broth is also so easy to store! It can be made a week ahead and stored in the fridge, or frozen in small servings for several months. You will know that you have drawn out all of the rich collagen if when you chill your broth it “jellies” together. Keep reading to see how easy to make bone broths at home!!
Homemade Chicken Bone Broth
What’s the secret here? While I believe that homemade broth simmered slowly on the stovetop makes the most flavorful broth, the truth is that rarely do we have that many hours to commit to being home while our broth slowly works it way down. Crockpots are a lifesaver here, they make it easy to let your broth simmer slowly away while you can be on your own busy way, in and out of the house. If you can stand it, put your chicken bones into the crock pot before you go to bed, the broth will be done when you wake up in the morning, or can even be left until you get home from work the next day.
-One or two chicken carcasses, use two if you can get them both into your crockpot!
- 2 Tbsp vinegar or white wine
- Leftover vegetable scraps, carrots, onion/leeks, celery tops. You can use whatever you have on hand here! I like to freeze vegetable scraps in a bag and take them out as I need them to make stock
-Several sprigs of fresh herbs, rosemary, thyme, and parsley are good options.
-COLD filtered water
Put all ingredients except herbs into your crock pot and set to low. Let cook for several hours, at least eight, as many as twenty-four. If you can, the last hour or two that you are simmering your broth, throw in several sprigs of fresh herbs. Let cook until you can handle it and then strain into shallow dishes, this will make it much easier to skim all of the fat off. When the broth has chilled the fat will rise to the top and you can simply skim off with a spoon. Hopefully your broth will have “jellied” I have been using David’s Pasture’s chickens to make my bone broth for the past several years and have never had a batch of broth that did not gel as it chilled. Healthy chickens lead to healthy broth! If your broth is thin and watery, you may just need to boil it down a little, using a crock pot here means that no water was able to evaporate and it may just need to cook down a little. You can store your broth in the fridge for five days, or freeze into one or two cup measures to store for several months. Remember when you taste it that no salt was added, to enhance the flavor you will need to add salt before tasting!