I love that I can take all of these ‘scraps’ of food that would be put into the food waste bin and put them together to make something so nourishing and delicious with little effort. It feels good to not waste and it feels good to feed my family nourishing food. It also feels good to do very little work for a huge nutrient pay out. Cheap, easy, delicious and nutrient dense — my favourite type of food!
Why am I claiming that this bone broth will lower your inflammatory load? Well, intestinal permeability (or leaky gut) allows larger particles through your intestines than the body would prefer. Your immune system reacts to these larger particles by mounting an immune response. Immune activation equals inflammation. This bone broth nourishes the intestinal lining helping to keep those gap junctions between your intestinal lining cells nice and tight, therefore reducing the likelihood that larger particles will get through.
This recipe for chicken bone broth is so quick and easy to throw together. I cook it in my slow cooker on low for ages but you could simmer it at a really low temperature covered on the stove top or in a covered casserole dish in the oven at a low temperature.
Bone broth is so nutrient rich. The slow cooking and the apple cider vinegar in the recipe help to pull minerals out of the connective tissue matrix and into your broth. Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulphur, fluoride, sodium and potassium, chondroitin sulfate, keratin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and elastin will all be boiled out of the bones and other connective tissue into the broth making your broth full of healing nutrients for your intestinal lining, skin, joints and your own bones. The nutrients in the broth will be easily absorbable as they are coming in food form that your body recognises and can utilise right away.
Bone broth is cooked for a long time to ensure you are pulling as much of the goodness from the bones as possible. You can smash up the bones a bit before cooking to cut down on cooking time. I usually put my chicken broth on the evening after we have a chicken for dinner and allow it to simmer away in my crockpot for almost 48 hours. So if we have a chicken on Sunday I will start the broth on Sunday evening and use the finished product in a meal for Tuesday dinner. Monday the house smells of deliciousness all day and the whole family is salivating. My daughter said to me, on a Monday that a batch of bone broth was simmering away, that she loved waking up to the smell of delicious food and that it felt really cozy.
I keep an empty container in my freezer that I add veg scraps to it as I am cooking. I add celery tops, onion peels and ends, carrot tops and peelings, fennel fronds, you name it, I wash it and I save it. When I have a nice big container full I order an organic chicken and add a roast chicken to the menu plan. With my stock I do add a full onion and a whole bulb of garlic along with the chicken scraps as I love the flavour of garlic and onion and they are full of goodness too. So, in they go!
After you have made your delicious broth you can use it as a base for soups, cook your whole grains in it like rice or quinoa, add it to stews, pasta sauces, casseroles, mashed potatoes or drink it as a warm beverage. However you use it you will be adding extra nutrients and protein to your diet so get it in there. If you are not going to be using it right away pour it into clean jars and freeze it for when you do need it. I like to freeze it in either 1 or 2 cup (250mL or 500mL) portions in wide mouth jars so that even if I forget to take it out I can pop the jar in a bowl of warm water and by the time I am finished prepping veg for my meal it should be thawed out enough to get out of the jar and use.
If you are making this in the spring you can add a cup of nettles to the pot to boost your nutrient concentration. You know how I love my nettles!
I strongly recommend that you use the healthiest, happiest chicken you can for this as you are boiling it for so long to leach all of the goodness out of it you will also be leaching any nasty bits out too so splurge on an organic chicken knowing that you are getting this broth for next to nothing.
Chicken Bone Broth
Makes 12 cups of broth
1 organic chicken carcass including the skin picked clean of meat except for the wings (You can add extra wings for flavour if you like or chicken feet for a collagen boost. I don't and it is still tasty.)
1 bulb of garlic cut in half horizontally, skin on
1 onion cut in half or quarters, skin on
Approximately 4 or 5 cups of vegetable scraps (if you do not have scraps use carrots, celery, onion, leeks, whatever veggies you have in the fridge)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 bunch parsley
A few sprigs of rosemary and thyme (or use dried herbs)
1 teaspoon whole peppercorn
If you like you can add all manner of spices here, depending on your taste and how much flavour you want in your broth. I keep it pretty simple and then plump up the flavour when I use it in recipes.
2-3 teaspoons of good quality salt (not white table salt) (you can use less or none if you are on a low sodium diet)
12-14 cups (3-3.5L) water (to cover the carcass)
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook, covered, on low for 7-48 hours. The longer you wait the better the broth.
Strain the solids out and pour your broth into sterilised glass jars, leaving a little space at the top for the liquid to expand when you freeze it. Leave to cool before storing it in the freezer until you need it. Make sure to freeze the broth with the lids off to begin with to prevent your jars from cracking. Once your broth is frozen you can pop the lid on.
I would love to hear your bone broth adventures.