Who doesn’t enjoy a steaming hot soup with rich, nourishing broth?
Who just scoots the carrots and celery out of the way so the best and last drops of broth can be slurped from the bowl?
Who knew that it’s the broth which makes chicken soup so legendary for healing?
As I have jumped into the research for rethinking wellness, I have been so thrilled to learn just how wonderful many of the traditional foods really are! Bone broths are at the top of the list!
Some time ago, the meat industry began appealing to the working mom’s plight of preparing dinner with as little fuss as possible. With the availability of de-boned chicken breasts, many of us grabbed the boneless, skinless chicken breast packages from the grocery store and threw together the family favorite casserole. Such a time-saver… no bones to deal with. Well… as with countless other modern conveniences… we have unintentionally removed from our diets some of the most nutritious parts of our meals! Bone broth comes from those “pesky” bones. Those bones that we were so happy to have removed for us! So guess what we are re-discovering at the Perkins’s home…
Recently I had the pleasure of attending one of the national premier nutrition conferences of the year. The annual conference for the Weston Price Foundation was in Atlanta, Georgia this past fall, and I was absolutely exploding with delight to learn from some of the best voices in wellness. One of the lessons I now apply in my kitchen is the addition of homemade bone broths. With all the added expenses of using organic items, I am so delighted to find a way of doing something so inexpensive and so powerful for the human body — simmering and keeping my own broth!
I want to tell you some of the reasons that you, too, could benefit from this simple staple utilized in kitchens around the world:
For chicken broth, I purchase an organic chicken — the highest quality I can find since I don’t yet raise these little birds. Immerse the whole bird in good water. (I do avoid tap water for this too. We have well water, but actually I use reverse osmosis water purchased at healthy grocery store or co-op.) Toss in all the veggies you like for flavor. I add 1 or 2 onions, many peeled whole carrots, sometimes celery, bay leaves. The ingredient that I didn’t know to add before my recent research was an acid to pull the nutrients from the bones. Very important little ingredient! I add 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s brand) or juice from an organic lemon. That’s it! I bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for about 3 hours. After 3 hours, I remove the chicken and take away the chicken meat that I will use later in the week for soups, etc. I continue to cook the “carcus” for another couple of hours… even as long as 24 hours! Crockpot would be best for these long simmering sessions.
I have learned that when the digestive tract needs some healing, the shorter simmered broths are better to start enjoying. The longer simmering does yield higher amounts of certain nutrients that can actually be difficult for some to digest… especially autistic children, for example. If you aren’t working to heal some troublesome digestive concerns, then the longer you can simmer the broth, the better! I have read that even 72 hours of simmering is delicious and so good for you. Shorter simmering is best for “easing” into healing the digestive tract. Absolutely wonderful for the lining of the gut!
So there you have it! Few hours in the pot. Let it cool. Strain out the bones and the veggies to capture the nourishing broth. I use lots of Ball jars around my kitchen these days. The broth needs to cool before going into the refrigerator. I use the broth for nearly everything I make during the week and then next weekend, I start over with a new organic chicken. The routine is actually something that I look forward to and enjoy quite a bit.
The joy of sipping a mug of lightly salted (unrefined sea salt please) and peppered, warm chicken broth after a day at work is one of those very simple pauses that replenishes in profound ways.
Beef broth is made much the same way. A local dairy farmer sells a 2 gallon bag of raw beef bones to us for just $4! You can make a whole lot of broth with 2 gallons of bones! I place 4-5 bones in the largest pot I have, cover with good water, add the veggies and sometimes a few mushrooms, little apple cider vinegar, and repeat the simmering as with the chicken broth. When 3 or more hours have passed, I strain away the veggies and place broth in jars to cool. The broth is even shared daily with my dogs. I warm a small bowl and pour over their dry food each morning. They are wild about it. I am happy to share with them.
And, another very obvious treasure for keeping homemade broth on hand — beyond the awesome health benefits for you and your family — is the amazing flavor you will be adding to all your favorite soups, stews, gravies, sauces, casseroles! No more buying the cartons of broth at the grocery that are made from cheap meat and added who-know-what to give it flavor. Your homemade bone broths will be superior in every way!
If you would like more information on bone broths, consult with Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions (please click here to read review from the RETHINK LIBRARY) or visit the Weston Price Foundation site. Most French cookbooks refer to this wonderful staple… again, Julia Childs did not lead us astray! Even this morning as I was preparing this post, my husband turned on the radio and guess what? I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I heard Dr. Josh Axe sharing about the healing properties of bone broth! The program was KBLRadio.com hosted by one of my beloved chiropractors, Dr. Pete Sulack! Another great resource online for great insights.
Thanks goes out to all the Grandmas who knew instinctively to give the generations healing from their loving wooden spoons. While taking so many “convenience” shortcuts, we have inadvertently done the same to our lifespans! Let’s rethink wellness. Let’s get in our kitchens with a plan… Bone broths!