I know that several of you probably already make your own chicken broth. And I am sure that some of you know how good homemade chicken broth is for your health. But a few of you might not know what makes this broth so wonderful, therefore I am going to share the what’s and how’s for you today!
Remember when I posted about cold remedies and boosting your immune system? I mentioned chicken broth as a remedy. It may sound like folk-lore or something Grandma used to say, but the truth is…homemade chicken broth can seriously halt an on-coming cold.
Chicken soup (mainly broth) has been used for centuries as a cold remedy. James Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods says, “Not only does the soup provide the fluids you need to help fight off viruses, but studies have found that it reduces inflammation, which can lead to colds.” Although researchers haven’t pinpointed exactly which ingredient in the broth makes it so effective against colds and flus, many believe it is the combination vegetables, herbs, chicken and bones that help to sooth and fight symptoms.
Making a hearty, healing broth does take some time, but its effects are well worth the wait!
How to Make Homemade Chicken Bone Broth
You will need:
- A roasting hen or other bone-in chicken
- 1-2 nice sized onions (great medicinal food)
- Several cloves of garlic (great medicinal herb)
- Black pepper and celtic sea salt
- Other veggies (celery/carrots) or poultry herbs of your choosing (I used thyme, sage and parsley)
- Filtered water
- Large bowl
- Colander or large strainer
To start, pull out your crockpot and set aside. Quarter your onions and garlic cloves, leaving the peel on and throw them into the bottom of the crockpot. Next prepare your chicken…I usually don’t do much to it. Sometimes I remove the skin, but that is about it. Place your chicken on top of your veggies. Sprinkle your herbs on top of the chicken. (I don’t measure anything, so put as much or as little as you would like. I personally put quite a bit.) Cover everything completely with water, with an inch extra over. Cover and cook overnight.
I use a crockpot for several reasons. First, it is easy…just plug it in, press start and walk away. Second, I feel that I get better medicinal values from food that is slow cooked at a lower temperature verses quickly boiled. Lastly, I like to start my chicken right before bed, so the next day I have time to separate the meat from the bones, start the second phase of the broth and be able to have a nice soup by dinner. You can do this with a stove top method, but I just prefer to fix it and forget it!
Okay…here is where the fun begins! Once your chicken is tender, practically falling off the bone, it is time to start the separating adventures! As you can see I already started mine. I had four chicken hind-quarters to cook, and cook they did! I carefully pulled out the chicken and separated mine into three sections. I left the broth in the crockpot…it’s not quite done yet!
One for human consumption…
One for canine and feline consumption…
And one for continuing the broth. That is right! Don’t throw those bones out!!! They contribute to the medicinal qualities of your homemade chicken broth! Watch…I will show you. Gather up all the bones you can from the chicken carcass.
Taking a bone between your hands, break the bone in half (or in pieces, which ever happens is fine). Then put the broken bones back into the broth that is still in the crockpot.
These are the only ones I don’t bother with. They are too twiggy and don’t offer much marrow anyway. I suggest throwing them away, especially out of reach of those drooling puppies! The chicken bones will splinter and cause terrible GI complications for pets, so don’t give them to your pets!
Anyway… after I have put all the broken bones back into the crock pot, I cook the broth another 6-8 hours on low. Here is what mine looked like. The broth is very dark and the veggies are spent.
So now comes the last part…separating the good stuff from the used stuff! Grab your large bowl and colander. I put my colander inside the large bowl.
Now carefully pour all the contents of the crockpot into the colander.
Now, you can take some whole grain noodles or rice, your pre-cooked chicken from earlier, and some fresh veggies and have yourself a wonderful, healthful bowl of chicken soup! Or you can save the broth for later like I am. I poured mine into a 2 quart glass jar to save for later use. I store it in the refrigerator if I am going to use it within the week. The broth will turn into a gelatin when cooled. And if I don’t use it all I will divide it into zipper locking bags and put in the freezer. It works great in bags since it solidifies when cool.
I can’t wait for you to try this if you haven’t already! I would also love to hear your variation, comment or question…so please, comment below!