Home-made Broths have long been touted as magical cure-alls for everything from the common cold to prevention of osteoporosis. In Traditional French cuisine, stocks (homemade broths) are the staple of the kitchen. Almost nothing can be made without them. As a matter of fact, most traditional diets include recipes that call for some sort of bone broth, whether it be made with fish, chicken, or beef.
In my recent studies, I’ve come across a lot of research supporting the health benefits of bone broth. The sad truth is that many of us living in modern society do not cook from scratch. Some do (my sister is a mini Julia Child) but many of us surrender to convenience foods. Although many of these convenience “pre-cooked” or “pre-packaged” foods are organic, vegan or gluten-free, they are still missing some of the essential nutrients of slow-cooked meals. And even when we do cook from scratch, most of us do not cook and eat an entire animal head to toe. When we eat meat, we usually eat the muscle only (ex: boneless, skinless chicken breast.) And as a vegetarian*, I don’t even do that much.
Enter bone broths. Homemade broth /stock, provides the essential nutrients and minerals from bone, meat, fat, tendons, etc (and without actually eating all of those things.) These nutrients -calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, trace minerals and glucosamine, just to name a few- are readily absorbed by the body and used for every function imaginable. Many of these nutrients can be found in plant sources, but for some reason, the plant sourced minerals provide much lower concentrations.
Stocks and soups that are pre-packaged and found in grocery stores are often made with synthetic ingredients like MSG and soy. The only way to get the real thing is to make it yourself (of have someone do it for you.) Even as a vegetarian*, I experimented with making broth (and may do so once a month or more) in order to gain the minerals my diet was lacking. I do eat eggs and dairy, but wanted to try broth to see if I could do it without getting totally grossed out. Turns out, as long as I know the source of the ingredients and can hide the broth in other foods I like, I’m OK with it. I will keep you posted on any health benefits I experience.
So, what do you think? Is it worth the effort of making your own broth to gain a ton of extra nutrients, including nutrients needed for healthy skin?
Here’s a simple recipe for chicken broth, using an entire organic chicken (so that you can use the meat when you’re done making the broth.)
1 organic free range chicken (raw)
2 celery stalks
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 handful chopped parsley (I used Italian flat leaf)
Clean chicken and chop up into large pieces (I disguarded the neck and guts – but feel free to leave them in) and place into crockpot
Rough chop all veggies and add into crockpot
Fill crock pot with water so that everything is covered
Turn on high until mixture is heated through, then keep on low for 6-8 hours (more if needed)
Add parsley to crock pot and turn temp off
Strain mixture so that broth is collected in a bowl
Skin any fat at very surface and discard
Pour broth into jar or storage container, and place into fridge to cool completely
Broth can then be “skimmed” again to remove excess fat at the top, then it’s ready to use.
Rice (use half stock, half water to boil rice)
Sauces and Gravies
Mashed Potatoes (in place of cream)
For more information on Broths, read these great articles:
*FYI - I have been lacto-ovo vegetarian for more than 15 years as a personal choice, mostly because Id rather eat a plant-based diet and do not feel the need to weigh my body down with tons of meat. I simply lost my appetite for meat 15+ years ago and haven’t found it since. I also appreciate and love animals, and do not want to contribute to animal cruelty in any way, if at all possible. That being said, I do eat some animal products (dairy and eggs) to gain the nutrient benefits and have recently decided to try broth for health reasons.