“Good broth will resurrect the dead.” South American proverb
When I first began changing over our family’s diet to traditional foods, the first task I wanted to accomplish was learning how to make chicken broth. I’d never in my life done such a thing, and at that point in time, it seemed quite a steep task. I can chuckle at that thought now, because I quickly found out how easy it is to make broth! In fact, I know I’ll never go back to buying those ridiculously expensive, bland-tasting plastic boxes of broth from the store. No, siree!
Why would I want to learn how to make broth? Bone broth is highly-nutritive, and it’s one of the easiest to digest foods on the planet. It is incredibly soothing to the intestines, especially if you have any sort of digestive problem (which I do - more on that later). Every traditional culture made and ate animal and/or fish stocks. Not only were they being resourceful by using every part of the animal, but they were also being smart because broth provides bountiful benefits to the body.
Have you ever heard the term, “Jewish penicillin”? This name was given to the chicken broth made by our Jewish ancestors because of its ability to heal colds, flus, and many sicknesses. It’s not just an old wives’ tale; science validates this long-held belief. The broth you make today will do the same.
The Power of Broth
The best part about broth is that it contains numerous minerals in a form that is most easily assimilated into the body: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, and many other trace minerals. Broth also contains amino acids that help to detoxify the body. The cartilage and tendons that are used to make broth provide chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine that help with arthritis and joint pain - both of which are pricey supplements sold in health stores today.
Bone broth is rich in gelatin. Gelatin, probably the magic ingredient in broth, helps with a multitude of symptoms and sicknesses: ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, jaundice, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and the list goes on. Fish broth, especially, is an excellent source of iodine and other substances which strengthen the thyroid.
As I mentioned earlier, bone broths are excellent for the digestive system. Many of us suffer from various intestinal issues: leaky gut, IBS, Crohn’s disease, etc. Bone broth is a warming and therapeutic drink that is particularly gentle on the stomach. It strengthens the gut wall and helps to reduce inflammation.
Store-bought, canned or boxed broths, and bouillon cubes pale in comparison. Many contain MSG, other additives, and salt in a form that’s not beneficial to you. Additionally, these broths are generally lacking in the all-important ingredient gelatin. The benefits of homemade broth trump store-bought broth, but what about the cost comparison?
The Frugality of Broth
Compared to a quart-sized box of bone broth which may cost you $4.25, especially if you’re purchasing the organic version, making broth at home will cost you pennies - possibly only the electricity used to cook it. I use the bones leftover from the chicken I’ve already purchased for our family to eat. I freeze the bones and giblets until I’m ready to make broth. When I’m ready, I put it all into a big stock pot, throw in leftover vegetable scraps, eggshells from pastured hens (for added calcium), and possibly a few chicken feet (great for gelatin). Then I douse it all with a couple tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar. The vinegar helps to extract the minerals from the bones. I heat the soup for about 24 hours, and in the end, I have a rich, fragrant, golden masterpiece. If you consider the price of the vegetables and vinegar, then the broth might cost a couple dollars and that’s being generous - this makes over a gallon of broth! Bone broths are both nutritious and frugal - you can’t beat that!
Uses for Broth
Our family goes through at least a gallon of bone broth a week. I am currently following the GAPS Diet, a scientifically-designed diet to heal the intestinal tract. This diet calls for drinking copious amounts of bone broth, so we tend to make and eat lots of soups. However, even if I wasn’t following the GAPS I still would simmer a gallon each week, not only because it’s frugal and healthy, but because it’s delicious, too! In addition to soups, broth is a great base for gravy and sauces. Cooking vegetables and grains in broth adds both nutrition and rich flavor. Use it to baste meats, braise vegetables, or heck, just pour yourself a mug, add some sea salt, and enjoy.
Are you ready to bust out that stockpot? Why not save yourself some money, add some flavor to your family’s meals, and help them stay healthy by making it a goal to make a nutritious bone broth this week. In my next post I’ll teach you how to make lip-smacking, health-promoting chicken broth. After you make it once, you’ll be hooked. I promise!