I believe in broth

Who doesn’t love a good soup in the colder months? Even if the ground is showing through here in Connecticut, and I no longer ice skate as part of my commute to work, it’s still not too warm. And nothing warms as well as a good broth.

Broth is beautiful, as the Weston A. Price Foundation puts it. Good broth is packed not only with flavor, but a slew of minerals: calcium (especially if you add vinegar to the soaking process, it helps break down the calcium in the bones), magnesium, phosphorus, and a host of trace minerals. Broth is also very easy to digest, and these minerals will be absorbed by the body. There’s a reason chicken broth is dubbed Jewish penicillin. If you’re very sick, you aren’t likely to have much desire to eat food. Broth will keep you hydrated and give you good minerals and fats. And when you’re well, broth will keep you well and make you stronger.

Broth is also VERY frugal. If you look for meat at the supermarket, you usually find better deals on cuts which have not been deboned. Keep those bones! I always have a stash in my freezer. You will get double duty out of that meat purchase. Plus, the broth can be used in more than soups. It can be used in cooking meat, as well as cooking grains (like rice) in place of water. Using broth to cook your grains will also boost their nutrient content, not to mention add a punch of flavor.

For this batch of chicken broth I used primarily chicken feet. Feeling squeamish yet? I hope not. Feet add an extra punch of gelatin to the broth, which is something you want in there. Plus, the frugality angle. Can you imagine a wife on her farm 150 years ago tossing out parts of the chicken (which was then seldom eaten since they were pricier) simply because they offended some sensibilities? I certainly can’t picture it.

The actual process of making broth is quite easy, it just takes a lot of time to simmer. Thankfully you don’t need to hover over the pot for that. The instructions I am presenting can be applied to making other bone broths as well, though I would recommend doing a little research. For example, with beef broth, you can get very elaborate, using multiple types of bones, and I’ve seen recipes which call for roasting the bones before they go in the pot.

How to make chicken broth
1. Throw your bones (and feet) into a pot and put in lots of cold water. Add about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (but watch out for “apple cider vinegar” simply made by adding food coloring to white vinegar) and let soak for about 30 minutes to extract more minerals.

2. Chop up and add in a lot of vegetables.
Definitely start with onions. Quarter them as is and throw in everything. I also save the ends and papers from onions I have chopped for cooking since they’re still good! I keep them frozen for just this reason.

Celery. I cut these so they’d fit in the pot.

Carrots!

A leek.

I found a daikon radish at the farmer’s market last weekend and KNEW I had to add it.

3. Throw everything in the pot and let simmer on low heat. The longer you let it simmer, the more minerals you get from the bones and veggies.
… and because I am me, before starting to put in the veggies transfer your bones and water to a bigger pot because that first one will certainly not accommodate all the vegetables.

4. About 15 minutes before turning off the heat, add your herbs. Here I’ve added parsley. I waited until the end so they would not be overcooked.

5. Take off heat, let cool, and start fishing out the solids from the liquid.

6. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth and strainer to get the smaller solid bits out.

7. Put the broth in the fridge to cool and allow the sludge you want skimmed off to rise to the surface. I am at this point with this current batch of broth, so, no photos.

8. My favorite way to store broth: freeze in ice cube trays. They don’t take up much room and you have as little or as much as you want on hand at any time.

9. Enjoy often!

Do you make your own broth? Have any tips you would like to share? Do you know where I can find a good source for duck so I can make duck broth?

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, and Fresh Bites Friday. Be sure to check out the carnivals for more traditional food goodness.

You can always find me over on Facebook and Twitter.

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16 responses to “I believe in broth

  1. Oh yes, broth is definitely delicious and a wonderfully frugal way to stretch your nutrition dollar.

    I don’t usually flavor mine with veggies unless I look in my crisper or onion drawer and realize something “needs eating up”. In fact, I sometimes make vegetable broth out of onion skins, carrot peelings, celery tops and other veggie leftovers.

    I also do the chicken carcass thing a lot. I know you’ve seen me discuss it, but for your readers: Roast a chicken and serve for dinner. Whatever is left over gets stored in the fridge. Next day, the carcass gets tossed in the crock pot and covered withcold water (the process of heating up slowly releases the gelatin better). Let cook in the crock most of the day. Strain out the stock and let the carcass cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, pick the meat off the bones. Take some of the stock, toss in the leftover meat, and any veggies or spices around the house that looks good. You now have a wonderful frugal meal.

    If you don’t feel like soup that day, freeze the stock for anything you’d normally use stock for, and save the meat for chicken salad or something.

  2. My favorite way to store broth: freeze in ice cube trays.

    but make sure you have some regular ice around too, or when you accidentally pour boiling water over your hand while making tea, you’ll find yourself heating up a ziploc baggie of chicken soup with your burnt hand… or does that only happen to my friends? 😉

  3. I have heard of making broth out of the chicken feet……… how do you clean the feet? I have chickens but I am not going to use their feet for broth w/o a good path as I KNOW where their feet have been.
    thanks.

    • Norma, I got the feet in a big package from Wellness Meats, so I am not sure how to clean them. So far I have yet to see anyone on the blogs talk about actually cleaning chickens for prep. Maybe soak the feet in water beforehand?

  4. Good article, I never know how to make broth before. I will definitely be trying this out sometime soon.

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