When someone’s sick, the first food that pops into your head to feed them is usually chicken soup. Why? Because it’s medicinal of course. Or is it? Well, it turns out that our grandmothers were wiser than we probably give them credit for. Their chicken soup was medicinal because it was homemade. Chicken soup that you buy from most restaurants or make from a can/carton of chicken broth does not have the health benefits that homemade chicken soup has. One great benefit of making your own bone broth is that you know exactly what is going into it. Below is a picture of the ingredients in a leading store bought chicken broth. It doesn’t look like real food to me. Buying store bought broth may seem more convenient than making your own, but I try to keep my freezer stocked full of homemade chicken broth so I can just thaw some out when I need it. The nutrient density and flavor of store bought chicken broth doesn’t even compare to the homemade version.
Homemade bone broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other minerals that are easier for the body to absorb. It also contains gelatin, which promotes healthy cartilage and can help fight degenerative joint disease. Gelatin supports the connective tissue in your body and also helps your fingernails and hair to grow.
One of my favorite health benefits of bone broth is that it aids digestion. The SAD (Standard American Diet) that our culture has adopted has wreaked havoc on our digestive systems aka our gut. All disease begins in the gut. And as we all know, disease rates have skyrocketed, so this tells us that we could all use a little gut healing. Even skin conditions like eczema, acne, psoriasis, etc are all outward examples that something needs healing on the inside. So what easier food to implement into our diets than homemade chicken broth. No wonder chicken broth is a vital part of gut healing diets such as the GAPS diet. The broth assists in the healing of many chronic intestinal disorders such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, leaky gut, and many others. Homemade bone broth helps to protect the body from gastrointestinal illness as the gelatin in it acts as a neutralizer of intestinal poisons helping to relieve diarrhea.
Now that we know how amazing homemade broth is for the immune system, I’ll tell you how to make it. It’s pretty easy! There are several variations in how people make it, but this is the way I make mine.
How To Make Homemade Chicken Bone Broth:
What You’ll Need:
- 1 Whole Chicken (preferably pastured chicken from your local farmer)
- 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
- Fresh Garlic (5-10 cloves)
- Filtered Water
- Crock Pot
- Fine Metal Sieve
- Roast your chicken as usual and remove all meat for your family’s consumption.
- Put the remaining chicken carcass (bones and skin) in the crock pot.
- Add carrots, celery, onion, & garlic to the crock pot and cover with filtered water (Fill to the top).
- Add 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar to water. (ACV helps to pull out the beneficial minerals from the bones).
- Cover and cook on low for 12-24 hours or until the bones fall apart easily when you apply pressure to them. I put my chicken broth on before bed and let it simmer overnight.
- When finished, strain the broth through a fine metal sieve, and throw away the bones, skin, and any other large particles.
- Enjoy the medicinal effects of the broth!
- Store the broth in the fridge up to 5-7 days.
- Freezer: I pour extra broth in mason jars (cooled broth) and store in my freezer for future times when I need broth fast.
How to Enjoy The Benefits:
- Drink warm broth in a mug everyday.
- Use as the base in soups or sauces.
- Cook with broth instead of water for rice and quinoa for extra flavor.
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC