Broths made from bones have been used throughout human history. Nearly every traditional society boiled bones of meat-giving animals to make a nourishing broth.
I consider myself lucky to have grown up watching my mother and grandmother prepare traditional meals from scratch. Stews, roast meats, jams and chutney were staples as leftovers were always used in creative ways. Homemade broths were also a staple and made frequently, usually with leftover bones from the Sunday roast dinner.
The rewards of homemade broth are plenty. Bone broth is extremely nutrient dense and according to many specialists, it can be helpful in treating over 50 diseases ranging from things like inflammation, hypertension, fatigue, depression, hyper activity, diabetes and food sensitivities.
Unfortunately, broth making has become a thing of the past. More and more people use commercially prepared broths or stock cubes and homemade is fast becoming a distant memory. We are all too busy to make our own, and the lure of convenience nearly always wins.
Commercially prepared broths are inferior to homemade in many ways. Quality cannot be assured and even organic broth lacks the essential qualities that homemade broth offers. Traditionally made broth uses bone and cartilage from pasture raised animals. It produces a gelatin rich, flavorful base for soups, sauces, gravies as well as providing a cooking medium for grains and vegetables.
Gelatin has many beneficial effects. It is a great aid to digestion and has been used in the treatment of many intestinal disorders including hyper acidity and Crohns disease. As well as, diseases of the blood, diabetes and cancer. Even when no other food is tolerated, such as in illness, or with cancer treatments, patients often do better when gelatin is added to the diet. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, gelatin is classified as a tonic herb, specifically used to tonify the blood.
Making your own broth is really easy and very cost effective, using the leftover bones from a roast meat and whatever vegetables you have in the fridge couldn’t be simpler. The pot simmers on the stove for hours so there is no need for constant checking, you can do other things!
I prefer to buy my meat directly from the farmer, that way I can be sure of the quality and healing benefits. You can also buy chicken with its head and feet still on, which is great for providing that extra gelatin. Using vinegar in the water to soak bones before cooking helps draw all those beneficial minerals into the finished broth. The recipe below uses chicken, but you can easily substitute beef bones or lamb bones too.
Pastured Chickens make excellent broth! These chickens are from .
BASIC BONE BROTH (From Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon)
- 1 whole chicken (feet and head of chicken are optional)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 quarts cold filtered water
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
You can either roast the chicken prior to making the broth, and use the leftover bones or cut whole chicken into pieces and put into a large pot. Place all ingredients into a large pot except the parsley and let stand for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil and remove the scum that rises to the top. Continue to simmer for 6 to 24 hours. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, add the parsley. Strain the broth into a large bowl and cool in your refrigerator until the fat rises and congeals. Skim off this fat and transfer the broth to containers you want to store it in. Use the broth as a basis for nourishing soups or use to cook rice, quinoa and stews.
I use ziplock freezer bags and store them in the freezer, using 2 cups per bag. I usually get 12 – 14 cups.
* If you use beef bones, use approximately 4 pounds along with 2 pounds of browned rib bones*
For more information on the healing power of broth read this on Weston A. Price Foundation website.