Bone broth is all the buzz in the health food world these days. And I’m not talking about broth or stocks that come in a box or a can. These shelf-stable soup bases don’t have the same nutrients and vitality of a homemade broth. They can be fine in a pinch but they don’t share the same superfood status of bone-stewed liquid gold. True bone broth comes from the slow-simmering of animal bones, together with scraps of meat and lots of nutrient-dense veggies. The result is a flavorful elixir of health.
Bone broth is like a fresh-pressed juice for protein and minerals.
Just as the good stuff in juice becomes highly bioavailable once you remove the fiber, slow-cooking bones, meat, and vegetables deposits concentrated nutrients into the broth for easy absorption. Bones, such as those from chicken, beef, turkey or even fish, transfer their minerals to the broth, which in turn, help us to strengthen our bones and teeth. Bone broth also delivers ample protein, like collagen, which helps our joints stay strong and flexible. The abundance of amino acids free-floating in bone broth is highly effective for rebuilding our tissues too.
Not only can sipping homemade bone broth promote healthy skin and quick wound healing, it can also boost digestion and immunity by reducing inflammation in the gut and healing the tissues that line it. The best part of broth is that it’s easy to enjoy at anytime: every morning, during illness, coming in from the cold, and even during a purification weekend!
Since bone broth is such a powerful source of nutrients, it’s important to make sure you start with good “clean” bones. If shopping in the grocery store, always choose organic bones and meat. If you have access to local agriculture, check with local butchers and ranchers to make sure their animals are healthy and raised on a clean diet before buying the bones. By getting to know your meat supplier, you can often find less desirable cuts of meat (like chicken feet), which will deliver more nutrients for less money!
Although time is a major ingredient when it comes to making your own bone broth, the actual process of making it is very easy and hands-off. This recipe is great for beginners because it uses a common roasting chicken and any combination of organic vegetables. While basic and flexible, our recipe employs specific tips that will optimize nutrition. Soaking the bones in vinegar, for example, helps pull out the minerals while the addition of onions and garlic promote mineral absorption into our bones.
Ready to take the bone broth plunge? Be sure to leave me a comment below.
With bone broth love,
Back to Basics Chicken Bone Broth
Yield: 2 quarts
- 1 cooked chicken carcass (about 1.5 pounds of bones)
- 10 cups filtered water
- 1 TB. apple cider vinegar
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 10 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 cups chopped organic vegetables (carrots, celery, mushrooms, parsnips, zucchini, leeks, etc.)
- 2 TB. fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, etc.)
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. sea salt, or to taste
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1-inch chunk fresh ginger, sliced (optional)
- Juice of half a lemon
- Large handful fresh parsley, chopped
After removing all edible meat from the chicken put bones, skin, and connective tissues in a large crock pot. Add 10 cups of filtered water (and a bit more, if needed to cover the bones). Add the apple cider vinegar, cover, and let soak for at least 1 hour.
Add the onion, garlic, vegetables, herbs, seasonings, and fresh ginger (if using) to the bones and water. Turn the crock pot on low, cover, and cook for 24 hours or at least overnight. As the broth cooks, skim off any foam that forms on the surface. The liquid will cook down some but you may add more water if the level drops a lot.
A half hour before the broth is done, add the lemon juice and fresh parsley. Take a sip and adjust seasonings, if needed. When the broth is done, remove the lid and allow the broth to cool. Following food safety precautions, make sure the broth has cooled to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within 2 hours.
Once the crock pot is cool to the touch, pour broth through a fine sieve and/or cheesecloth to strain out all bits of bone, vegetables, and herbs. Refrigerate. Once chilled, a layer of fat may form at the surface. This fat helps the broth stay fresh longer and can be scraped off or added to cooking. If there’s enough gelatin in the broth, it may turn into a jelly which is great! To reconstitute, simply heat the jelly in sauté pan, adding a bit of water, if desired, to thin.
Broth will keep in the refrigerator for 5-6 days and it can be frozen up to 4 months.
Variation: Broth can also be made on the stovetop. Follow the same steps as above for soaking the bones. When it comes to turning on the heat, bring the broth to a boil first before turning it down to simmer at very low temperature for at least 8 hours. Exercise caution if simmering overnight!