How To: Good Ol’ Immunity Boosting Bone Broth
Bone broth where have you been all of my life and why haven’t I been making out with you on the regular? No matter. We’re together now and nothing can tear us apart. It’s you and I forever and like a good samaritan I shall share of your beneficial healing properties and pocket friendly ways like a good believer should. Glory be.
As my learning about food and treating food as medicine deepens, my knowledge base on the healing properties that come from different foods grows wide and strong. Old sayings about food and traditional recipes mean more to me now than just something fine on my tongue and satisfying in my soul and tummy.
Most of us have a had a mom or a grannie or an auntie prepare us chicken soup when we were sick. A recommendation that wasn’t built solely on the soothing feeling of that savoury warmth trickling down a sore throat. Chicken soup is more than just comfort food for the sick. The base, the broth that makes it all so wonderful is truly a medicine…
If you’re wondering what the big deal is, or if there’s any difference between stock, broth and bone broth…there is. They’re all created on the same basic traditional food practice of simmering water, bones and/or bones and meat, vegetables and seasonings.
BROTH is your quick route to getting some mineral dense broth, by simmering some meat with bones and water for a short period of time (45 min or so).
STOCK is made with bones and some of the meat left on those bones and simmered with water for a few hours.
BONE BROTH is made the same way as stock, except you simmer if for as long as 24 hours (I’ve done some batches for 36!) with the addition of vegetables and seasonings (optional, but you totally want that flavour) and chicken feet (organic, hormone-free is highly recommended here peeps, because CHICKEN FEET.) Why? It adds gelatin, which supports digestive health! The sign of a fantastic broth is that when chilled it solidifies and gels up. You’ve hit the holy grail of bone broths right there if you make that happen. Why simmer it for so long? Every last mineral is pulled from those bones and makes for a nutrient rich broth. So much so that the bones can easily disintegrate when pressed and I’ve heard tell that many traditional foodies blend some of the soft bones with the marrow and add the paste to the broth! Full printable and instructions for chicken or turkey bone broth below.
White Stock is good and all, but I honestly don’t make it when I can have a rich Brown Stock. I don’t follow traditional culinary food instructions when making sauces, I’ve used brown broth for velouté and other derivative sauces. All is fine and mighty tasty. Why? Roasted bones make for a much more flavourful sauce and I don’t have time to be making multiple bone broths. Perhaps if I were making roasted beef bone broth I would end up with a far darker brown stock and that would be problematic for making white sauces, but I don’t. So.
Money Saving Tip: Most of you know by now that we only eat local, hormone-free meats; organic as often as we can. Yes, this is more expensive, although not by much especially when I save the carcasses of our roast chicken dinners to make our bone broth. I typically use 2 or 3 chicken carcasses (next time I’ll be adding a couple of chicken feet for the first time courtesy our awesome butcher), to make a big batch. I also strain off the jus from the bottom of the roasting pan as shown below and use some for a dipping sauce now and then and stash the rest in the freezer to add to the stock pot come time. Slightly related…do you brine your bird overnight before roasting it? Get on that. Moisty, tasty city.
Bone broth Improves digestion, allergies, immune health, brain health, and much more! If you want an in-depth lesson on every last mineral and nutrient that lives in bone broth, a multitude of broth recipes, all of the ways you can use bone broth as well as some amazing recipes and a bunch more valuable traditional food resources, visit one of my favourite places on the internets…Nourished Kitchen.
Large stock pot
Ladle and serving spoon
Quart sized wide-mouth mason jars
- 3 - 4 pounds chicken bones with or without bits of meat, (which works out to about 3 large carcasses), including a couple of feet if you're feeling frisky
- (I used a huge turkey carcass this round as you can see in the pictures, but I typically use chicken!)
- 16 quarts of cold water
- 2 Tablespoons Bragg's apple cider vinegar (the acid helps draws the minerals out of the bones)
- 2 large onions, quarter
- 3 big carrots, quartered or halved
- 3 celery sticks, quartered or halved
- 1 big bunch of parsley
- 1 bunch of thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon or more of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 head of garlic
- You don't need to peel anything if it's organic. On that note you don't have to use the vegetables but it will be far better tasting if you do!
- Roughly chop up your chicken parts and toss them into your stockpot with the cold water, vinegar and let it sit for 15-20 minutes to facilitate the vinegar's job along.
- Add the vegetables and other seasonings and bring to a low boil, removing the scum/foam that rises to the top with a spoon every 20 minutes or so in the first hour of simmering. I use a cheesecloth lined serving spoon as this does a great job of soaking up the impurities that float to the top. (Throw that stuff away.) Happy meat (hormone-free and grass-fed), produces very little scum anyways.
- Reduce heat to minimum, cover and simmer 12- 36 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the more rich and flavourful it will be!
- Remove your aromatic, golden brown stock from the heat and let cool. Strain the stock through a cheesecloth lined mesh strainer into a large bowl in sections, or another large stock-pot if you have one, (I use my canning pot). I strain it twice just for kicks.
- Ladle or use a 4 cup measuring cup to scoop and pout your liquid gold into wide mouth mason jars, leaving at least and inch in breathing space from the top. Let the jars sit until they are pretty cool, then freeze (for up to 6 months) or refrigerate (3-5 days). Wide mouth jars, leaving space and letting them completely cool off before freezing are all VERY important steps to follow in freezing your stock or else you could end up with some explosions in your freezer. NOT FUN. (Yep, I learned the hard way.)
- Tip: If you don't want the fat in your stock, put them all of the jars in the fridge before freezing and when completely chilled there may be a small layer of fat on top. Skim it off and save the fat from each jar into a separate jar and freeze for gravies! Then win all the prizes for best gravy ever
- Why not can? Because the only safe way to preserve stock safely is to pressure can it, and I don't have one of those, that's why. Also, I have a glass-top stove, which doesn't work for the use of a pressure canner, so. Won't be happening in the near future anyways. But yes, do occasionally dream of having a six burner, vintage mint stove.
How Do I Use It?
I’ve gotten into the habit of having a warm mug (especially in the fall and winter), in the morning and when someone is sick I add some crushed garlic, ginger and fresh lemon. I use it for homemade soups, stews, gravies, sauces, braising meats and vegetables and a little bit here and there in pretty much any recipe I want to add some extra flavour and nourishment.
I really hope you get to making some of your own bone broth! I have found it to be addicting because it’s so easy to make and so rewarding to be able to pull my own out of the freezer instead of buying it at the grocery store.
Feel free to add in any tips or other recipes you use your bone broth in (if I’m preaching to the converted), I’d love to hear!
Until the next. XO