If your grandmother or great grandmother ever used chicken soup as medicine she wasn’t just using an old wives tale. True chicken soup can be medicine!
We have become used to our soups and broths coming in a can or carton from the grocery store, full of chemicals, flavorings and, oftentimes, MSG. This is not real food, folks.
Chicken soup (or any broth) made the traditional way as a bone broth is full of healing properties! I always have some bone broth on hand, either bubbling away in my crockpot, cooling in my refrigerator or stored in the freezer for future use.
Bone broth is one of the most simple, nutritious, versatile, economical nourishing foods you can have in your kitchen!
What is Bone Broth?
Many people (including myself) use the terms broth, stock and bone broth interchangeably. When I use the different terms, I am almost always meaning bone broth.
There is a difference, however. Jenny from Nourished Kitchen talks about the difference on her blog, which I have summarized here.
- generally made with meat, a small amount of bones. Broth is simmered for a short time, usually under 2 hours. Broth is very light in both flavor and texture but can be rich in protein. Broth can be quite tasty on its own.
- generally made with bones and water and simmered for about 3-4 hours. Stock can be rich in minerals and gelatin and is usually used as a base for soups and stews.
- Bone Broth:
- generally made with bones and cartilage, possibly a little meat. Many times bones are roasted first (especially for beef bone broth) to improve flavor. Bone broths are simmered for a long period of time (at least 24 hours) in a crockpot or on the stovetop. Bone broth is dense with a variety of minerals, gelatin and collagen. Many times, when the bone broth is cooled, it becomes a solid jelly-like mass due to its high gelatin content.
It is important, if at all possible, to use quality bones from pastured animals. Bones from conventional factory farmed animals are not the same as nutrient dense bones from healthy grass fed animals. If you want the most nutrient dense bone broth, use bones from animals raised properly! I do, however, think any bone broth is better than no bone broth.
There are many benefits to bone broth as opposed to stocks and simple broths. These are why I generally only use bone broths in my home. The myriad benefits of bone broth always astound me!
Benefits of Bone Broth
Bone Broths can be used in your kitchen in a variety of ways.
- soups and stews
- drink as a tea
- make sauces and gravies
- braise vegetables and meats
- as a cooking medium for rice, quinoa, beans, etc.
- to add moisture when reheating food
- to deglaze a pan when sautéing
- use in any recipe that calls for some sort of stock or broth. Often can be used in place of water in recipes (if the flavor profile makes sense).
The cost savings alone are reason enough to make bone broth. Eating real food can be expensive but with some adjustments in the kitchen, many people can afford real food!
- A quart of organic chicken or beef broth can easily cost $4 or $5 at the grocery. You can make quarts of healthier and tastier broth for pennies, using bones that would have been discarded.
- This is a great way to maximize the money you spend on quality meat. If you are buying a whole pastured chicken for $20, you get the meat from the chicken AND quarts of stock from the bones.
- Often you can get bones for free from your butcher. Just ask!
- If you use veggie scraps you can stretch your dollar even further.
- Bones can be reused in broths until they begin to disintegrate. I have read that beef bones can be used up to 12 times and chicken bones up to 3 times. I will say if you reuse your bones, the subsequent batches of stock are significantly less flavorful.
- Want to really get the most out of the bones? Try Perpetual Bone Broth! We do this a lot when we are recovering from illness or an injury.
- A great source of minerals from bone broth which are easily absorbed by the body
- Trace minerals
- Fats in bone broth can help restore gut health which will help with absorption of minerals.
- A great source of gelatin and collagen
- helps support connective tissue
- helps hair and nails grow well and strong
- can help heal the gut.
- helps keep joints healthy
- want even more gelatin? Add chicken or calves feet to your broth. Ask your farmer or butcher!
- Used to treat adrenal fatigue
- A great source of the amino acids glycine and proline.
- Proline is essential to the structure of collagen and is necessary for healthy bones, skin, ligaments and tendons.
- Glycine helps detoxify the liver and is necessary for the body to produce the powerful antioxidant, Glutathione. Glycine also helps promote muscle repair and growth.
Storage of Bone Broth
Now that you have made your bone broth, how should you store it? I like to have a freezer full of quarts of bone broth to have on hand. It is amazing how much bone broth we go through!
- Keep bone broth refrigerated for 3-5 days in a mason jar or other storage container.
- Freeze bone broth in smaller freezer safe mason jars. I usually use pint size jars. (The quart size mason jars are usually NOT freezer safe. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they crack. Learned this the hard way!)
- Freeze bone broth in ice cube trays and then put cubes in a zip top bag. A great way to have small portions on hand for adding to recipes.
- Freeze bone broth in a zip top bag. Lay the bag flat to freeze. Then you can stack the bags.
- Freeze bone broth in quart size plastic containers. (I use yogurt containers often for this purpose)
- Thaw the bone broth in your refrigerator.
All right! Are you ready to make some broth???
Purchase Bone Broth:
Don’t want to make the broth? You can buy quality bone broth here!
You can also add dried gelatin and collagen to your foods. It isn’t bone broth but still a great way to get some in your diet!!!
For More Info:
The Beauty of Traditional Bone Broth from Mary Vance
The Benefits of Bone Broth and How to Make Your Own from Life From the Ground Up
The Top 4 Benefits of Bone Broth from Whole Green Love
Bone Broth: One of Your Most Healing Diet Staples from The Paleo Mama
How to Super Charge Your Body’s Natural Detoxification System from Butter Nutrition
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