Bone broths are a traditional healing tonic used in many cultures.
In Chinese Medicine, bone broths are used to support the digestive system, strengthen the kidneys, and build the blood.
Bone broths are a delicious base for soups, but they are also a nutrient-rich and easily digested medicine for everyday health. Broth is a mineral-rich strengthening food for healing support during recovery of an illness or surgery. Bone broths are used to strengthen the bones and support joints and tendons. And broth is one of the best post-partum recovery tonics.
Another benefit of broths is that they are a way to sustainably eat meat- we can utilize the whole animal and make a healing food. For example, I suggest roasting a whole chicken, eating the meat, and saving the bones in the freezer. You can use the bones to cook into a bone broth.
The broth can then be used to make soups and stews or as a liquid to cook grains or beans. You can also simply add a pinch of sea salt and sip on it for a warming drink. (Bone broth is a wonderfully warming drink to put in your thermos on a cold day).
I usually freeze half of the stock I make in Pyrex glass containers for future use. My freezer is stocked with chicken and beef stocks that are perfect in times of colds, flu, and digestive discomfort. But truthfully, I use stock in my cooking almost on a weekly basis throughout the year.
I highly suggest including broths in your life. Here’s a simple recipe:
Basic Bone Broth Recipe
- Bones-from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, pork, lamb. You can use raw bones (with or without skin and meat ), a whole carcass or parts (feet, ribs, necks, knuckles, etc.). Raw bones may be browned in a pan in the oven at 350 degrees to enhance flavor and separate some of the fat. You can use cooked bones, with or without skin and meat from a previous meal. **Use organic, grass-fed meat and bones which you can often find at your local farmer’s market or health food store.
- Cold Water (enough to cover the bones)
- A splash or two of Vinegar (apple cider, rice, balsamic, red or white wine) or Lemon juice. Adding an acidic substance helps draw out the nutrients from the bones.
- Optional: Add Vegetables (such as peelings and scrap ends or entire vegetables like onion, leek, celery, carrot, etc.) and Seasonings (fresh ginger, black peppercorns, bay leaf, etc).
Combine bones, water, and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that rises to the top. Cover the pot, reduce heat and simmer on low (6-24 hours for chicken stock, 8-72 hours for beef stock). Adjust the temperature low enough that you see small, gentle, slow bubbling. Check the broth every once in a while to make sure that the water level doesn’t get too low. You can add more water if needed.
You can also use a crock pot to make broth.
You can add the vegetables and seasonings at the beginning of cooking for flavor. Optionally, add fresh vegetables in the last hour or two of cooking to increase the mineral content of the broth.
Once done, allow the broth to cool. Strain broth through a colander and discard the bones, vegetables and seasonings. Reserve the meat for soup, salads, or other recipes.
To skim the fat, use a fat separator, or refrigerate the broth and skim the fat that hardens at the top of the broth. Broth may be frozen for months, or kept in the refrigerator for about four days.
To store broth in the freezer, I suggest using Pyrex glass containers (with rubber lids) or canning jars. Leave an inch or two of space to the top of the container to prevent the container from cracking when the stock freezes and expands. I first store the stock in the refrigerator until it is completely cool, then I will transfer to the freezer. If using Pyrex containers, you can stick the completely cooled broth into the freezer. If using canning jars, you need to make sure the lid is loose when putting into the freezer. Once the stock is fully frozen, you can tighten the lid. (This step will prevent the jar from cracking)
- Soup- add vegetables, beans, grains, and/or meat to make a soup or stew.
- Cooking liquid- use broth to cook grains and beans.
- “Tea”- add sea salt and sip broth like a tea.
To learn more about the benefits of bone broths, I suggest these links: