So why in the world you should want to consume something called bone broth or stock?
Well, I’ll tell ya. Because it’s amazing. Remember grandma making homemade chicken noodle soup when someone was sick? Well, there is actually truth behind that “old wives tale”. Broth, when properly made (we aren’t talking about Progresso or Campbells, folks) is a nutritional powerhouse. It is one of the most nourishing foods you can consume, is easily digested by most people with food allergies or intolerance, and speeds the healing process and recovery from a cold or flu. True nutritional Gurus drink several pints of it every single day. I’m not there yet, but we consume a lot of it when anyone is feeling under the weather, or when an illness is going around. I drink it plain or use it to make soup.
Oh, and the only difference between broth and stock is that broth incorporates the cooking of some meat, while stock uses only bones.
It’s packed full of protein, gelatin, calcium, chondroitin and glucosamine, collagen, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and sodium, as well as numerous other vitamins and minerals. This makes it fantastic for bone density, joint health, eye and brain function, digestive health, etc. It has properties that fight free-radical damage and contains electrolytes and is also used as a natural remedy for rheumatoid arthritis.
Ok, so now that you just can’t wait to get your hands on some, I am going to show you how truly simple it is to make. Here is what you need:
Crock-Pot Bone Broth/Stock
- whole chicken (organic, local, pasture-raised is best!)
- bones – knuckles, joints, feet, etc. from chicken, beef, lamb, elk, venison, bison, etc. (grass-fed & pasture raised is best, and I prefer some with a little meat on them) The more joints you have, the more collagen you will get. if you can get ahold of some chicken feet, these are excellent to throw in for the gelatin! Other cultures routinely toss an entire chicken, head and all, into their stock pots! You can easily and cheaply find bones by asking for them at any butcher, farmer’s market, or store where grass-fed meats are sold.
- 2 T. raw, organic apple cider vinegar
- purified water
- veggie scraps (optional, but I always add them for flavor!)
If you are using bones, roast in a pan on 350 for about 45 minutes., then skip to step 4.
if you are using a whole chicken, you can either roast it, or place it in the crock pot with purified water – fill leaving 1″ below the lid.
- cook the chicken in the crock on low for about 4-5 hours until done.
- remove from crock and let cool just enough to pick the meat. I use a large spoon, stuck in the chicken to lift it out of the hot broth and onto a plate for picking.
- pick off the meat and set aside in the fridge or freezer. this meat is excellent for soups or in chicken salad. discard the skin and excess fat.
- place the bones back in the crock with the existing broth. if you are using roasted bones instead of the entire chicken, put enough water in with the bones to cover them, leaving about 1-1 1/2″ at the top of the crock.
- throw in veggie scraps. Any time I am preparing vegetables I wash the outside with vinegar and water before cutting (I only use organic scraps for broth), and throw them in a jar in the freezer. and by scraps I mean scraps – tops of carrots, ends and skin of onions, beet tops and greens, etc.(nothing rotten or wormy). I will also throw in a sprig of rosemary, a fresh smashed garlic clove, wilted herbs, or old, sad veggies from the fridge. These all add flavor to your stock, and I LOVE using every single part of the foods that we buy. It’s always fun to use beet scraps as it creates a pinkish purple broth.
- add apple cider vinegar. don’t skip this step! it helps to pull the nutrients from the bones!
- add water as needed to fill the crock up again, leaving 1″ below the lid, so it doesn’t bubble over. cook everything on low for at least 8 hours. I have found recipes that cook for a week! On this batch I cooked it for 24 hours, removed a quart of stock, added back enough purified water to fill the crock with 1″ remaining at the top, and continued cooking everything for another 24 hours. The bones will nearly disintegrate, and will crumble easily between your fingers when they are finally depleted of all their glorious nutrients.
- pour into glass mason jars using a ladle or coffee cup, through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. seal with a lid and refrigerate.
- your result will be a gel-like broth with fat at the top. I remove the fat, then, leaving at least 1″ at the top, put the lid on very loosely and freeze. (If you fill it too full or screw the lid too tight, your glass will break and you will need to toss the entire thing.)
When you are cooking this for someone who is sick, just leave the crock going for a week, drinking it throughout each day and adding in more water each night. I like to put mine in the laundry room so that it isn’t taking up space and heating up the kitchen. My mom places hers on the back porch in warm months for the same reason – genius!
Just add salt to taste when serving or cooking. I don’t like to add it in before because it can become too salty if you are using it for soups.