By Georgia Harding, Well Nourished: Food Blogger and Naturopath
Would you love one reliable immune building, stress combatting, deliciously digestible tonic to nourish the whole family and keep them well through winter? Well, grandma’s old recipe book is where you will find it – good old fashioned chicken bone broth. The king of nourishment, nutrition, healing and repair and, it takes only a couple of minutes to prepare!
The use of bone broths to heal and nourish is steeped in history – chicken broth or ‘Jewish penicillin’ was considered a powerful remedy to fight a respiratory infection. This is due to many factors including the presence of the powerful immune boosting fat palmitoleic acid, found in the fat of the chicken. In Chinese medicine, bone broth is considered a potent digestive and blood tonic. Today I will focus on chicken broth, though the many healing benefits are common to all meat-based stocks.
Sadly, with the advent of processed ‘stocks’ and stock cubes, bone broths have all but disappeared off the menu in most family homes. Unfortunately, these processed varieties yield none of the nourishment or healing qualities of the real thing. It’s time to pull out your biggest pot and start simmering! Or alternatively purchase bone broth from the shop, Free Range Chicken Bone Broth, Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth
So why is real bone broth so nourishing?
Well getting back to digestion, bone broth is not only a very rich source of many bio-available minerals (especially calcium and trace minerals), but it also contains other nutrients which repair the gut, further assisting digestion and all of the other important roles the gut plays.
It is a concentrated source of gelatin which is essential for repairing the gut wall. If you suffer from any digestive complaints, food sensitivities, allergies, mood disorder or suffer from an autoimmune condition – then you need to consume bone broths regularly. Gelatin is what makes the broth wobbly or congealed. The gelatinous consistency of your broth (when cold), lets you know you have succeeded in extracting the good stuff!
Bone broth also provides your body with a group of collagens known to maintain and promote joint function and repair. You would have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin perhaps, which are two of the many collagens found in bone broth. These collagens are not only plentiful in bone broth, but they are delivered in a form that your body is able to absorb and benefit from directly. It’s much more beneficial and a lot cheaper than supplementation.
In a last ditch attempt to get you consuming bone broths, we are going to appeal to your sense of vanity! It is not only the joints that love and need collagen but the hair, skin and nails. Seeking everlasting youth? Then this may just be your answer.
As well as collagen and gelatin, bone broth contains the amino acid glycine. Your liver is reliant on the availability of glycine to break down toxins. Drinking bone broth is not only incredibly nourishing, healing and repairing but also detoxifying to your body.
Forget super foods from some far away place, bone broths tick all the boxes and at a fraction of the price.
The best part about making bone broths is that it’s all the cheap cuts of the chicken, that give the best result. But just one word of warning. Use only the very best quality produce. You don’t want to extract a heap of toxins from the bone, its counter productive.
How to make it?
There are many ways to make bone broth but this is the way I find easiest and one I can incorporate into my routine:
- Firstly, I buy a big organic chicken to roast for dinner. I roast up a storm and when I remove it from the oven, I collect any juices from the cavity (into a bowl).
- Then once the flesh has been served up in a delicious meal, I take the stripped carcass and even all the bones left over on the plates (it doesn’t matter if they are chewed up, they are going to be boiled) and throw them into the bowl with the reserved juices.
- I put it in the fridge overnight and the next morning, place them in a big pot with a pack or two of other cheap cuts – think all the gross bits like necks, legs, feet, wings or more carcasses, vegetables, vinegar and simmer all day.
- If I don’t have time to make broth within a day or so, I freeze the cooked bones until I do have the time. I also often freeze the offcuts of vegetables like kale, broccoli and cauliflower stems, or any vegetable that has almost seen better days to throw into my next broth -waste not want not. FYI I throw it all in from frozen (it just takes longer to reach a boil).
Making broth is not a pretty process, but it couldn’t be simpler (it literally takes me two minutes to get the vegetables chopped up and on the stove with the carcasses). I usually get this going as soon as I wake up so I can keep an eye on it until it starts to boil. Once I’m happy it’s simmering gently, I can forget it until dinner time. Like many of my other recipes, there are no rules and you can’t possibly stuff this one up.