Around Veritas Kitchen we have several favorite food topics. Homemade bone broth and meat stocks are certainly one of these topics. If you’re wondering, stock and broth are actually a bit different. In a nutshell, broth is made from bones and is cooked longer than stock. The longer the bones cook, the more nutrition is pulled out into the water. Stock, on the other hand, can be made from other things such as seafood shells or mushrooms or vegetables and aren’t cooked as long. You can use them pretty much interchangeably in a recipe and since this is the case I usually go ahead and just prepare bone broth for the extra nutrition it brings to my family’s life. At the end of the day, no matter what you call it (often the terms are still used interchangeably), it’s very handy and healthy to keep this “liquid gold” in stock in your home.
The process of preparing and putting up homemade broth is simple so don’t let the word count here alarm you. There are also many small variations on how to do this out there around the internet. Some folks like to make it in their crock pot and keep it going perpetually so they can drink it daily. Others may add a few ingredients or steps you won’t see here today but for the most part, broth recipes are largely the same. If you read of other steps or ingredients (such as roasting the bones first or adding vinegar to the water) that you want to incorporate, do so! This is hard to mess up.
Bone broth is good for you in unprecedented ways.
As Marty McFly would say, that’s a pretty “heavy” statement to make. But, it’s true! I don’t want to drag this post out forever and talk about aaaalll the ways and hows broth nourishes you and boosts your immune system but I will list a few of my favorites. So, before we tackle the stock pot there are a few points I want to cover before you get started.
- It is chock full of amino acids, beneficial enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are all very easy for your body to use because broth is very easy to digest.
- In fact, broth aids in digestion. This is a huge plus for most of us who have low stomach acid to begin with. For reference, here’s a video from Veritas Medical’s Dr. Ben Edwards.
- It works to heal and seal your gut lining. If there is damage to your intestinal wall due to leaky gut (which means partially digested foods, toxins and other micro-organisms can get through and into your blood stream causing inflammation and a domino effect of other health problems) then a regimen of gut-healing broth may be just what you need. Talk with your practitioner if you have any questions about whether this is for you.
- It is a good source of healthy fat (one of Veritas Kitchen’s other favorite food topics – FAT!) if the broth is made from the bones of a pastured animal. I don’t skim off the fat from the top of my finished broth. You can, if you like, but I recommend putting it in your belly.
- It actually DOES fight the cold and flu virus. I drink it and serve it to my family both when they are sick and regularly to prevent sickness or infection.
- It both reduces and fights inflammation (think, joint pain, among other things), supports your adrenals, makes your hair and nails strong and purdy, and is better for your bones and teeth than milk!
- One word. Gelatin. This is a favorite food sub-topic of bone broth many of you may have heard me talk about. Gelatin is a huge reason why broth can do many of the things I previously listed. Additionally, gelatin is good for your thyroid (bells are going off in many of your heads right now) and promotes the production of glutathione. You may have heard about glutathione if you’ve hung around the clinic much. Simply put, it’s the mother of all antioxidants. If you want gelatin in your life in addition to whats in your broth, this and this are recommended brands. You can find Great Lakes at many health food stores. Here in Lubbock look for it at Natural Grocers and Drug Emporium (Vitamins Plus). When you can consume gelatin in it’s holistic environment of the entire bone broth, this is the best.
Along with the health benefits of broth there is also what seems like a never ending list of culinary uses for it and the best stuff you can buy at the store still doesn’t compare to what you can make at home with quality-controlled ingredients. That goes for flavor, too! Plus, it’s much more frugal to make your own than to buy the expensive stuff at your grocery store. Keep it to make homemade soups and sauces or just season it with salt and drink a hot mug-full. Garlic or onion powder, dill and pepper are other great ways to season it up. Doing this often is a wonderful way to health-ify your diet!
***UPDATE: Since this post was written there is a brand of quality bone broth that has come to our attention. Epic brand. There are likely others as well. If you want to share a discovery with us or have a question about a specific brand please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact form on the Veritas Healthy Community website.
Real quick and then I’ll let you get started:
Go “pasture-raised” on the chicken/chicken bones (this goes for beef or other poultry bones as well). Why? Chickens should be healthy and without need for antibiotics. Chickens are omnivores. They should be out in the sun eating greens, grubs and other bugs, and kitchen scraps. If you can, make sure the chicken hadn’t been fed any GMO’s (soy, corn, cottonseed etc.) Admittedly, it can be difficult to source this kind of chicken and at a price that will work for your budget so if you can only find an organic chicken free of antibiotics and GMO’s, that’s good, too. Costco carries whole, organic chickens and to order a whole, pasture-raised chicken at a good price contact Alan Berkenfeld of Paidom Meats and he can set you up. Additionally, cows should eat grasses so same thing applies for them. Holy Cow Beef is a great place to source a variety of quality, grass-fed beef bones in and around the Lubbock area. Here is a link to their contact page – CLICK.
Go “organic” on your veggies and other ingredients and go “filtered” on your water. Why? Any impurities you’re cooking out of your ingredients are staying in the final broth that you’re going to drink. You want clean ingredients going into the pot. Also, filtered water: I don’t think anyone around here would argue that no chlorine, pharmaceuticals, fluoride, etc. in your food or water is a good thing. If you’re going to go to the trouble to purchase and use bones from a quality source, not to mention spending the time to make a healthful broth, don’t skimp anywhere if you can help it.
This recipe says “chicken” but you would make beef bone broth the same way only with beef bones.
If you would like to learn more about bone broth here are a few books we recommend:
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride
- Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T Daniel
- broth and stock from the Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther
Bone Broth – chicken (or beef)
makes about 6 quarts of “Liquid Gold”
5 minutes or less
12, 18, or 24 hours. Some folks will even let it go as much as 48 hours! I recommend a minimum of 12 hours.
Tools & Utensils:
1 large stock pot with a lid – 8 qts is the size I use and it yields 6 qts of broth
1 large bowl – mine is stainless steel and is big enough to hold all 6 qts of broth at once
1 medium to large size fine mesh sieve/strainer (like this)
Containers to hold your finished broth – I use 1 qt size food grade plastic or glass jars with lids. You can use smaller containers if 1 qt portions are too large. In a pinch I have used 1 qt Ziploc freezer bags and stacked them flat in the freezer.
1 carcass from a roasted free-range/pastured and/or organic chicken OR 1 small, whole, raw chicken OR 3 lb chicken pieces – thighs, wings or drumsticks are best (bone-in)*
- 2 stalks celery, organic is best
- 1 onion, organic is best
- 2 whole carrots, organic is best
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, optional (and, you guessed it, organic is best)
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, optional
- 2 dried or fresh bay leaves, optional
- filtered water to fill pot and top off throughout cooking
*Don’t forget to include the skin, neck, giblets and EVEN the feet, if you have them. It’s all excellent sources of nutrition for your finished broth. If that eeks you out, don’t worry. In the end you’ll never even be able to tell this stuff was in there!
- Place your whole chicken or bones/pieces or parts down in the bottom of your stock pot. Sometimes my chicken stuffs are frozen because I’ve been saving it for broth-making time. If this is also the case for you just put it in the pot frozen. No need to thaw first.
- Next, put in the veggies and, if you’re using them, the peppercorns and bay leaves. Again, sometimes I keep celery, carrot or onion scraps in a bag in the freezer for when I need to make broth. You can throw these things in frozen, too. Don’t add any fresh herbs such as the parsley just yet.
- Now, fill the pot with filtered water to within 2 inches of the top. You probably don’t want to fill it any higher or you’ll have it running down the sides of the pot once it starts boiling.
- Place your pot on a burner you don’t need to use a lot, if you can. A back burner keeps it out of the way of dinner and breakfast-making.
- Cover with the lid and bring to a boil. This could take a while especially if you’re contents were frozen.
- Once the water boils, allow it to bubble like that for 15 minutes or so. After 15 minutes check the top of the water and skim away any grayish froth that may be floating there. It wouldn’t hurt you if you left it but, um, it just looks like something I don’t want in my broth so I get rid of it.
- Turn the heat down to low. How low, exactly, will vary from stove to stove. What you want is a simmer. Just make sure it is bubbling slightly but consistently before you leave it to its own devices. You don’t want to go to bed and wake up to find it’s only been really hot all night but not simmering. Keep the lid on.
- About 20 minutes before you’re done cooking your broth add in the parsley. It only needs to cook a short time as it’s more delicate than the other ingredients.
- After a minimum of 12 hours take your pot off the heat and let it cool a bit. I usually start my broth in the evening so it cooks overnight. Some convenient time the next day I remove the pot from the heat and work through putting it away.
- Place your large metal bowl in the sink and set the strainer over the top. Pour your broth off into the bowl, straining out any bits and chunks that may come out while you’re pouring.
- Set the bowl of broth on the counter and cover with a sheet of foil or a towel. Allow it to cool for a time. Again, I’m pretty laid back about these steps and work through them as I have a moment between doing other things. You could do it all quickly and work with hot broth. It’s up to you.
- Once your broth isn’t piping hot work on dividing it into the containers you have prepared. The best way I have found is to use a measuring cup with a spout that can pour the broth accurately.
- Make sure you leave an inch or more of space at the top of your jars or other containers. The broth will expand in the freezer and you don’t want a cracked vessel!
- Place any broth you aren’t going to use within 3 days into the freezer. To thaw, run the containers under room-temperature tap water (or hot water if your containers are not glass). Once the broth is loosened from the sides dump the frozen block into a pot on the stove and turn the heat on. It melts very quickly this way. DO NOT MICROWAVE YOUR BROTH. You’ll kill it and it will probably come out tasting off.