One of the key discoveries I’ve made on my journey with real food was making broths from scratch. Not only are there many health benefits to homemade broth, but it just tastes good. No, I mean, REALLY good. And you can use it in so many ways—for sauces, gravies, stews, casseroles…the possibilities are endless.
First, homemade broth is more nutritious. It just is. Here’s a quick summary of health benefits from properly prepared broth:
- It is loaded with minerals and electrolytes.
- It is full of gelatin, which greatly aids digestion and helps heal the gut lining.
- It helps reduce inflammation in the gut and body.
Ok, you get it. It’s good for you. But it still seems like a lot of work…and time…and energy…(this was a big concern for me at first). Well, there’s good news on that front too. Yes, broths do typically have a long cook time but the part that you actually do? Really short.
And what about the cost? It’s surprisingly cheap to make chicken broth. Buy a couple pounds of bone-in chicken pieces or even just use the meaty chicken bones that were leftover from dinner last night (just stick them in the freezer until ready to prepare the broth).
Hopefully you are convinced at this point, or at least willing to give it a try, so I’ll just get on to the how-to.
This is what you’ll need to get started:
- 1 whole chicken (or 2-3 pounds of chicken pieces, bone-in), preferably pastured, cage-free
- 2 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice
- Filtered water to cover
- Carrots, celery, onion (optional)
- Salt and pepper
Place chicken, water, salt, pepper, veggies (if using) and vinegar in a stock pot or crock pot and let it stand for 20-30 minutes.
*A note on the water: When I first began making broth, the one thing that I found most difficult was figuring out how much water to use. I would always “cover” the chicken, but it seemed like it was too watery in the end. It took me a bit to figure out that less is more when it comes to the water. Just barely cover the chicken, or even partially cover it. You can always add more later if needed.
Cover and bring to a boil. Once at boiling point, reduce heat to simmer. Allow it to simmer for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. The longer it simmers the better, both for nutrients and flavor. Once finished, drain the broth into a storable container; discard the veggies and retain the chicken to use for salads, soup, etc.
A really good broth will have a jelly-type texture once refrigerated (hence, the beneficial gelatin). However, if it doesn’t, you can add gelatin to it (here’s a good kind) and then the next time around, try using less water. This has solved the problem for me in the past.
If you aren’t going to use the broth immediately, you can store it in the freezer. I typically use mason jars (filled half way) but you could also just use ziplock bags or other freezer-safe containers.
And that’s all it takes!
What are some ways you use chicken broth when cooking? Please share!