Bone broth…sounds strange and a little barbaric. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not, and has been a common practice in humble kitchens around the world for centuries to have large stock pots full of simmering bones and vegetables to produce beautiful and nutritious golden stocks.
Not convinced? Maybe these facts about bone broth will persuade you.
- Contains Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Silicon, Sulfur, and trace minerals: There’s a reason you always want a nice bowl of hot chicken soup when you’re sick. It truly is healing and helps restore much needed minerals back into the body.
- Contains Gelatin and Collagen: Gelatin is so great for the gut. It heals the intestinal lining and helps aid in digestion. Gelatin and collagen are also fantastic for your hair, skin, and nails. It’s the ultimate beauty food as the collagen in the broth will help tighten saggy skin and fill in lost collagen that cause wrinkles. I drink and consume it regularly to help the loose skin on my belly from pregancy. Another benefit that my husband loves is impact on joint health. It contains glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). You certainly have heard of one of the shining stars: glucosamine. Glucosamine is just one of the many joint supportive and lubricating GAGs found in bone broth. So if you have digestive issues, leaky gut, allergies, saggy skin or achy joints, you NEED some bone broth in your life!
- Healthy fat: helps absorb the vitamins and minerals in the bone broth
- Support adrenals, bone health, and healthy teeth. (Great article on this topic)
- Stretches food and reduces your need for protein: You can stretch food so much with broth. You only have a few vegetables and some broth? Great! You’ve got the makings for a fantastic soup! It is an excellent way to get lots of nutrition in your diet but still being frugal. It also contains protein and makes your need for protein lessened by up to 50%. (Excellent audio on this topic)
One of the main reasons that I don’t lean towards the vegetarian/vegan side of things is because of bone broth. There are just too many beautiful benefits that I have experienced first hand to take it out of my diet. We love it around here. Simple, frugal, nourishing, and delicious…all my favorite things.
Now, this is part of my Frugal Friday series for a reason. One of the most beautiful things about bone broth is that it uses scraps from your kitchen that most people throw away. You know me. I don’t like to waste very much and definitely like to pinch my pennies. Making your own chicken stock/bone broth is a great way to stretch those food dollars. Buying chicken broth from the store would cost you about $3 for 4 cups. That’s a big rip off because you are mainly buying flavored water when you buy it at the store. It will NOT have the benefits I listed above. You mainly get sodium and water. Making it yourself costs practically nothing if you have leftover meat bones and water. One chicken frame can yield a couple of crockpots full of stock. That’s a lot of bang for your buck if you ask me.
Ok, so how do you make it?
This method that I’m using here is so easy that anyone, and I mean anyone, can do it.
Earlier in the week, I showed you how to make a delicious whole chicken and gravy in the crockpot. Remember?
Oh yeah! **drool**
Right after you finish dinner, take the rest of the meat off of the bones, and throw the bones and cartilage back into the now empty crockpot that you used to cook dinner. Yay! No extra dishes to wash! I also had some bones that I had saved in the freezer from some baked chicken legs we had eaten over the last month.
Next fill the crockpot with water so that the bones are covered.
You may add chopped carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, or other veggie scraps that you have on hand. I didn’t this time because I was lazy, but they do add some flavor and a bit more nutrition. You can also add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to help draw out the minerals in the bones. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Sue me.
Turn the crockpot on low and forget about it for 24 hours.
After 24 hours has expired, strain out the broth, let cool slightly and put in mason jars for storage in the fridge or freezer. Some people also like to freeze some in ice cube trays for quick sauces, gravies, or even individual cups of broth to drink like morning coffee or tea.
If your bones are still hard, you can add more water and do the process all over again. Talk about frugal! I would discard the veggies though, if you had put any in there.
Now you are free you use in whatever manner you desire. I like to use it in soups, casseroles, cook grains in it, make gravies and sauces, and just drink straight up. You will notice there was no salt used while cooking, so you WILL need to add salt to this broth before using it. It will NOT taste pleasing if it doesn’t have salt.
After refrigerating, the broth will look jelly-like and jiggly. That’s the gelatin, baby, and the hallmark of a great stock. The stock in the picture above is moderately jello-like. If it doesn’t gel, you may have added too much water. Don’t stress though, the gelatin is still there, just a bit diluted.
Now, get yourself a chicken or start saving your bones, and make your own frugal and delicious chicken stock!
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