Simmering animal bones over low heat for an entire day will create one of the most nutritious and healing foods there is. You can use bone broth for soups, stews, or drink it straight. The broth can also be frozen for future use. It is high in minerals and collagen and extrememly healing when consumed on a regular basis. I recommend a cup of broth daily or at least a couple times a week. Bone broth can help with the following:
|Helps heal your gut, and promotes healthy digestion: The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestion
|Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, etc.: A study published over a decade ago found that chicken soup indeed has medicinal qualities, significantly mitigating infection
Reduces joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage
Fights inflammation: Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects. Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis (whole-body inflammation).
|Promotes strong, healthy bones:
Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation
|Promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth
Making your own bone broth is extremely cost effective, as you can make use of left over carcass bones that would otherwise be thrown away. The process is easy. It can also save you money by reducing your need for dietary supplements. As mentioned above, bone broth provides you with a variety of important nutrients—such as calcium, magnesium, chondroitin, glucosamine, and arginine—that you may otherwise be spending a good deal of money on in the form of supplements.
I modified the following recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, writing for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Her article also contains a recipe for beef and fish broth. (You could also use turkey, duck, or lamb, following the same basic directions.) I have chose to use a crock pot instead of a stock pot to make my chicken bone broth.
The most nourishing bone broth, whether you’re using chicken or beef, is to make sure they’re from organically-raised, pastured or grass-fed animals. As noted by Fallon, chickens raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) tend to produce stock that doesn’t gel, and this gelatin has long been valued for its therapeutic properties. As explained by Fallon:
“Gelatin was universally acclaimed as a most nutritious foodstuff particularly by the French, who were seeking ways to feed their armies and vast numbers of homeless in Paris and other cities. Although gelatin is not a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine in large amounts, it acts as a protein sparer, helping the poor stretch a few morsels of meat into a complete meal.”
Besides that, CAFO animals are fed an unnatural diet that is not beneficial for their intestinal makeup, and they’re also given a variety of veterinary drugs and growth promoters. You don’t want any of these potentially harmful additives in your broth, so make sure to start off with an organically-raised product.
Ingredients for homemade chicken broth
1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones, and wings
Gizzards from one chicken (optional)
2-4 chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water (or just fill wanter in crock pot about an inch above chicken bones and veggies)
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
Please note the addition of vinegar. Not only are fats ideally combined with acids like vinegar, but when it comes to making broth, the vinegar helps leech all those valuable minerals from the bones into the stockpot water, which is ultimately what you’ll be eating. The goal is to extract as many minerals as possible out of the bones into the broth water. Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar is a good choice as it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized.
There are lots of different ways to make bone broth, and there really isn’t a wrong way. You can find different variations online. Here, I’ll offer some basic directions using a crock pot. If you’re starting out with a whole chicken, you’ll of course have plenty of meat as well, which can be added back into the broth later with extra herbs and spices to make a chicken soup. I personally save my chicken bones and carcases and use them instead of a whole raw chicken.
- Place a whole chicken or chicken carcass and bones in a large crock pot (or stockpot). (A crockpot is recommended for safety reasons if you have to leave home while it’s cooking.)
- Add all vegetables except parsley and fill with purified
- Add 2 Tbsp vinegar ( I use apple cider vinegar).
- Turn crockpot on low (bring to a boil and remove any scum that rises to the top if using stockpot).
- Cook for 12-24 hours (reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer in stockpot).
- If cooking a whole chicken, the meat should start separating from the bone after about 6 hours in a crockpot or 2 hours in a stockpot. Simply remove the chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the bones. Place the carcass back into the pot and continue simmering the bones for another 10-18 hours and follow with step 8 and 9.
- If cooking bones only, simply let them simmer for about 12-24 hours.
- Fallon suggests adding the fresh parsley about 10 minutes before finishing the stock, as this will add healthy mineral ions to your broth (I add the last 30 minutes in my crockpot).
- Remove remaining bones from the broth with a slotted spoon and strain the rest through a strainer to remove any bone fragments.
- Put strained broth in a large metal or glass bowl or container and store in fridge until broth is chilled and fat rises to top and hardens. Skim fat off with slotted spoon. Separate mixture into storage containers and keep in fridge up to a week or freeze.