Most home cooks that I know use chicken broth or stock from time to time. Some even make it from scratch or at least save the liquid from boiling a chicken to flavor another meal. It’s good stuff and it adds flavor to any dish. Our family enjoys soups, rice, noodles, and other dishes made with chicken broth.
But, have you noticed just how pale that commercial chicken stock is? I thought this was normal until I started making my own and noticed that it was a darker amber color and far nicer tasting than any I had ever purchased. I still purchased some if I ran out of home made stock in the freezer, but mostly used what I made.
Then I graduated on to canning low acid foods with a pressure canner and realized that I didn’t have to tie up my freezer space with stock that could sit in a cupboard in a canning jar. At this point, I began making more broth than ever, even taking our family’s turkey carcasses (we usually cook two and freeze the leftover meat) to make tens of quarts over a weekend to use throughout the year. It was good stuff.
This continued and I began looking at various articles and blog posts from others who did similar things for their families and learned that the words “stock” and “broth” really aren’t interchangeable. Broth is made by including bones (which I usually did) and simmering them for longer lengths of time. Now, I might let a stock pot of turkey carcass broth slowly simmer all day, but I had never really let any of my broth go for longer amounts of time and didn’t feel great about leaving the stove on unattended while I slept.
As my children were growing, I became more and more interested in nutrition and how I could feed them food that they would enjoy, but would satisfy my need to keep them nourished. As my youngest child and I have asthma, I was also looking for anything to improve our immune systems as viruses and colds become bronchitis far too easily for us.
This brought me to read up on Bone Broths. These broths were made and canned or frozen very similar to the way that I had been doing mine, but reportedly had greater health benefits. The greatest difference between bone
broth and mine is that the bone broths cooked for 24 to 72 hours on low heat with a splash of vinegar to help leach out minerals from the bones. The promise of greater amounts of calcium was a big lure as hubby and younger son are lactose intolerant and don’t drink milk. It gave me one more way to get more minerals into our diets, which, in turn, should enhance our immunity. Plus, broths are super to have on hand for when sickness strikes. Broths are gentle on the stomach, hydrating, and easy to consume.
Once I tried it in my crockpot (which I am okay to leave on overnight), I was amazed at the difference in richness and taste! This was the completely gourmet version of what I had been making before and total light years away from the grocery store version. This stuff makes food an event!
The photo of canned broth is from my last batch. It is such a deep, rich, amber color that it almost matches grocery store beef stock. And the smell and taste is incredible. It’s totally worth making for the taste alone.
It’s totally simple to do: put chicken bones or mixed poultry bones in your crock pot. Add an onion cut in half (stud with cloves if you like), a couple of limp carrots, celery, some garlic, about 1/2 cup vinegar (any kind is fine, you won’t taste it). In fact, you can keep bags in the freezer for stock with bones left over from your family’s meals until you have enough. You can even save veggie trimmings, celery leaves, onion skins, garlic skins and cloves too small for peeling, any scraps will do fine). Fill to the brim with cool water and turn on low. I left this batch for about 32 hours before I got a chance to strain and can it. The longer it cooks, the more nutrition works out of those bones. I do check the water level daily and add more boiling water to keep it full. It’s the ultimate frugal canning–using items destined to be thrown out anyway.
My large crockpot yields one full gallon of stock (I generally can in pint jars for convenient use) plus almost a pint to refrigerate for immediate use. Not bad for a big nutritional punch with very little hands on time. No wonder Grandma’s chicken soup is a remedy for the common cold. I’d put money that many Granny’s and great Granny’s made their own bone broths to soothe their sick kiddos!
What is your go-to remedy for colds and flu? Share with us in the comments!
Till next time,