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During the Fall and Winter seasons, when the temperatures drop, the leaves fall to the ground, and germs are running rampant, there is one food remedy that has graced the hearth of homes for centuries, but is only just now being studied for it's awesomeness in helping boost immune function during an illness. In the Hippy world, it's a well-known fact that there is nothing like a good cup of bone broth when you are feeling under the weather, and today we're going to learn ALL about bone broth and how to EASILY make it at home!
Bone broth does a body good
Your mom was onto something when she gave you homemade chicken noodle soup every time you got sick as a kid! Bone broth is a rich source of minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium) that is easy for your body to absorb and is needed for healthy gut and digestion, muscle repair and growth, a balanced nervous system, and even a strong immune system. In fact, a study of chicken broth that was published in CHEST: The Journal of the American College of Chest Physicians found that the amino acids that were produced when making chicken stock reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. The gelatin in bone broth can help to heal a leaky gut, which may be of specific benefit those with inflammatory or autoimmune disorders. These compounds also reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation, prevent bone loss, and build healthy skin, hair, and nails. In tonight's episode, we're delving deep into the many benefits to the bone broth as well as just how easy it is to make with just scraps from your fridge!
What to put in your bone broth?
Bone broth isn't made of just bones. Any good broth is made with a complex array of vegetables and spices to compliment the flavors you are looking for. In different regions around the world, these additions can vary based off of the local fare, but you can add whatever you wish to your own broth. Some of my favorite additions to bone broth are:
- Bones – You can use any animal bones that you might have on hand, and can even mix what bones you use, though most prefer to use just one animal to keep continuity in the flavor. Bones commonly used for bone broth are; chicken, beef, turkey, duck, goose, fish, pork, venison, buffalo/bison, etc.
- Gizzards – This is an optional addition, but if you are preparing a whole chicken (that comes with them packaged and stuffed inside the chicken) and normally throw them away, your broth is a great place to use them! They don't change the flavor and they are jam-packed with nutrients to add to your broth!
- Vegetables – Who doesn't love vegetables? Full of all sorts of different vitamins and minerals, you can flavor and tailor your broth to your needs easily. The greatest part is you can save all the peels and scraps throughout the year, in your freezer, for use in your broth! The most common vegetables added to broth are onion, carrots, and celery, but there are even more that can be added, such as; squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, garlic, leek, green onion, cucumber, spinach, radishes, hot peppers, mushrooms, red bell peppers, etc. Avoid using broccoli, turnip peels, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, collard greens, or mustard greens, as they will make your broth bitter.
- Herbs & Spices – Herbs and spices can be added to your broth, both for taste as well as for their medicinal properties. There are many different herbs that can be added, including; parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, garlic, cilantro, ginger, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper (black, red, white, etc.), cardamom, horseradish, cayenne, chili pepper, turmeric, etc.
Homemade Slowcooker Bone Broth
This bone broth recipe can be made with whatever types of bones you have on hand but is written as I am making this with the carcass of my organic whole chickens that I recently cooked. I like to save them (along with other veggie scraps and gizzards) in the freezer, for when I am ready to make more broth! This
- 1 – 1.5 lbs. chicken, beef, or fish bones (or 1-2 chicken carcasses. Save all of your bones from your meal!)
- the gizzards (optional – I always like to add these because for all the vital nutrients present!)
- organic veggies (while you can always do the standard onion/carrots/celery, you can also add other veggies you might have on hand including scraps, from the list above!)
- 2 Tbsp. raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (to help leach out all the nutrients and minerals faster!)
- 2 tsp. salt
- herbs and spices for flavor and medicinal value
- filtered water
- Add your ingredients to your crockpot and then cover with water.
- Cover with the lid and turn your crockpot on low.
- Let your broth simmer for the recommended time based on which type of bones you are using:
- Chicken bones: 8-24 hours
- Beef bones: 8-72 hours
- Fishbones: 6-24 hours
- Strain your broth using a mesh strainer, jar and store in your fridge for up to a week (I keep mine in the back where it's coldest) or freeze in your freezer (leave enough space for expansion if using glass jars, so you don't break your jars). If you use ice cube trays that are one ounce (1 oz. = 2 Tbsp.), 8 cubes = 1 cup of broth!
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