The Incredible Healing Properties of Broth: Not Just an Old Wives' Tale


“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!


What is your favorite type of bone broth: chicken, beef, lamb, fish? 

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
    http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-january-17-2012/

    Share your great fermented food recipes at my Probiotic Food Linky – open through Februray 6, 2012.
    http://realfoodforager.com/probiotic-food-challenge-linky/

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  2. Fish broth is my favorite. Miso soup is so tasty. I wish I knew how to make it myself so I would not have to go Japanese restaurants to have it.

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  3. I made a great snapper fish broth before. I'll have to post the recipe so you can begin making it at home. Haven't made miso soup though... perhaps a future project? :)

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  4. This is a wonderful post on broth! I love making broth too. I'm hosting a weekly blog carnival specifically for soups, stocks and chowders, every Sunday! I would love it if you would come over and post this recipe. Here's a link with more information:

    http://easynaturalfood.com/2011/10/17/introducing-sunday-night-soup-night/

    I hope to see you there!
    Debbie

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    1. Hi, Debbie! Thank you for your kind words. I will definitely hop on over to Easy Natural Food and check out your blog carnival. If I don't get there this weekend, it's because I have family visiting from out of town, but I will surely get there the following weekend! Thanks for your comment.

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  5. You're forgetting the cost of the chicken itself...which, I presume, must be only pastured organic chicken? Which isn't available to everyone. I doubt the benefits of a store bought Tyson chicken would be any better than the organic msg-free broth in a box that I buy. Not to diminish what you've written...just remember that not everyone has access to pastured meats.

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    1. Hi, Betsy. Thanks for your comment! I buy whole chickens for my family to eat regardless if I make broth, so I didn't count the cost of the chicken since I would already be buying it. A lot of times people just throw out the bones, another reason I wasn't counting the cost. You can make broth out of any type of chicken, but I don't recommend making it out of Tyson chicken. Many stores these days do have antibiotic and hormone free chicken, even if they are are not organic. If I couldn't get ahold of pastured chicken, then I would buy these. The broth you make from this chicken would cost much less than buying store-bought broth and it would be more nutritious. While the chicken itself would cost more than a box of broth, you can divide the cost between the gallon of broth it would make and the several meals you can get out of the meat. On a last note, I would suggest looking into sites such as eatwild.com. It can be tricky finding good quality meat in your town, but you'd be surprised how many farms that are outside of town will do monthly drop offs and such. Sometimes it seems like there aren't any options, but if you just dig a little further you'll find options (this is not to say you haven't, you may have searched all your sources and found none, in that case, you might consider raising chickens. Just a thought.)

      Blessings,
      Amanda

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  6. I have been making bone broth for several years now and I will never go back. The difference in taste and nutrition would make me buy bones even if I couldn't buy the whole chicken. (I know they don't sell just chicken bones but you get what I am saying right??)

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    1. Oh yeah! I'm so glad you posted your comment. This is EXACTLY it. Once you make homemade broth, you can never go back. It's just THAT good.

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  7. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with Sunday Night Soup Night! I'll be hosting weekly through fall and winter, so I'd love to see you again with your next soup/stock/chowder recipe.

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  8. GREAT blog!! I just came across this as I was typing up my own blog and wanted to reference some benefits of homemade chicken stock/broth. You will certainly be getting an honorable mention! :) I LOVE making my own and after reading into the GAPS diet a bit more because of food allergies 2 of my children have I was hooked! My youngest son has been drinking the broth daily or every other day and his egg allergy is gone plus a "mysterious" rash has cleared up. Yay! Thank you for great information all in one place!!

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  9. I must have to praise you for this extra ordinary piece of work. BONE HEALING

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