Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicken Broth

Even before I knew about the health benefits of bone broth, I was making chicken stock.  Every time I cooked a chicken, I would throw the bones in my crockpot and boil it for a few hours.  The next day I always made chicken soup, using the stock and the leftover chicken.  It just seemed like the frugal thing to do.  I have learned since then that it is also the healthiest thing to do.  Stock made from bones has tons of health benefits.  It is full of proline,  glycine, and gelatin which you can read about here and important minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals.  There are many places on the internet where you can learn about the benefits of bone broth (here and here) and how to make it (Look here and here and here).  Bone broth is an easy, inexpensive way to boost my family’s nutrition, and chicken broth is the easiest and most inexpensive type of broth. 
When I make broth, I usually make a soup or stew that day or the next but I don’t use up all the broth for that one meal.  I take what’s left over and pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it.  I put all the little broth squares into a freezer bag.  When I am cooking and need to add water to the pan, I throw in a broth cube instead, adding a few more minerals to whatever I am making.  I also use the broth to cook white rice, instead of water.  Rice by itself is not particularly nutritious—just a bunch of starch.  When it’s cooked in broth, however, it absorbs all the goodness inherent in the broth and becomes much more nourishing.
As an added note, canned or boxed stocks and broths have none of the health benefits of homemade broth and have added preservatives, sugar, and junk.  Bouillon, on the other hand, is downright toxic, full of MSG.  Accept no substitutes for delicious, healthy, homemade chicken broth.
Here is how I make it:
Chicken carcass
2 peeled carrots cut into 1 inch chunks
2 ribs of celery cut into 1 inch chunks
1 onion cut into 8 pieces
A few whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
A shake of dried thyme
A little salt
¼ cub apple cider vinegar
Filtered water to cover
Put everything in a stock pot or slow cooker.  Let it sit for about an hour so that the vinegar can begin leaching minerals from the bones.  Turn on the heat and cover, letting it simmer for 4 to 24 hours. 
Strain out the bones and vegetables (My daughter loves to eat the carrots that come out of the pot). Store the broth in the fridge (you can skim the fat off the top after it chills, if you want) for up to a week and then freeze it.

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