Chicken broth is insanely nutritious and healing. But only if you make it yourself! That’s because those chicken stock powders and cubes are made of nothing but deadly non-food ingredients. Fortunately, broth, or stock, is one of the cheapest and easiest things to make at home. Once you see how easy it is to make, and what’s in those cubes, you’ll never buy chicken stock again.
Chicken Broth went from cure-all to chemical concoction
|Traditional Chicken Broth|
|Chicken or Chicken Bones
Carrot & Celery or Veg Scraps
Fresh Herbs & Spices
|Powdered Chicken Stock or Bouillon Cubes
Flavour Enhancer (MSG)
Yeast Extract (MSG)
Natural Flavours 621 (MSG)
Caramel Colour (150a)
Hydrogenated Palm Oil
Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (possible MSG)
Mechanically Separated Dehydrated Chicken Meat
What are all those things in the powdered stock?
Now, we could go and look up all those ingredients to see what they are. OR we could just admit that we don’t recognise them as real foods and therefore they are likely not a good idea for humans to eat.
What we can see is that powdered stock is little more than processed salt and artificial flavours designed to taste like chicken. Many of which are forms of MSG, which has been linked to numerous illnesses and disease. The last ingredient of processed chicken meat is actually not very common in stock cubes.
What about buying liquid stock?
1/ Most store-bought liquid stocks are labeled “reconstituted”, which basically means you are paying for lots of water. Though not as fake as the powdered stock, many liquid stocks are still full of processed salt and artificial additives.
2/ Organic and “natural” liquid stocks are often made from real chicken/bones and vegetables, however it can still be hard to find ones that don’t contain “natural flavours” such as yeast extract, which is code for MSG.
3/ The best quality organic and additive-free liquid stocks will set you back around $3-5 per cup of broth, while homemade broth costs only about 0.37 cents per cup. That’s a huge mark-up for something you can make in your kitchen with about 15 minutes to spare and some leftover food scraps.
What’s so healthy about homemade broth?
Your grandma, or maybe your great-grandma prized chicken broth as a remedy for the flu, and modern research has confirmed that broth helps prevent and mitigate infectious diseases. It’s no wonder I list it as one of the only superfoods you’ll ever need.
Broth is a powerhouse of nutrition AND it’s very easy to digest and absorb the nutrients.
Bone broths in particular (opposed to vegetable broths) contain many minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium. During the long and slow cooking process, these minerals are drawn out of the animal bones and into the broth. So instead of fretting how to get your calcium without consuming processed dairy products, how about just incorporating delicious bone broths into your diet the way the Asians do?
Dr. Kaayla Daniels says: “Traditional bone broth helps you absorb MORE protein so you can get by on less. The gelatin aids digestion and is the same as collagen, so it’s great for the skin and to prevent cellulite. Broth has been used to heal every imaginable gut disorder including colitis and Chrons, plus autoimmune disorders. It’s a good way for vegans to lose their virginity.”
Gelatin, which naturally makes your homemade broth congeal when it cools, is a big part of broth’s superfood formula. As far back as the first century, gelatin has been used as a therapy for the body. It has been found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases. As Dr. Daniels says above, it is commonly used to heal the gut disorders so common today, from irritable bowel and leaky gut to Chrons Disease.
Though gelatin is not a complete protein, it acts as a protein sparer, meaning it helps your body more fully utilise any complete proteins you eat. This is why bone broths are a must for people who don’t have much meats in their diet or have trouble digesting meats, AND why so many cultures include bone broths as part of every meal.
Chicken or Chicken Bones?
There are a few ways to use chicken or bones to make your stock.
1/Use a whole chicken with the meat on.
At the end, you will have your broth AND loads of cooked chicken meat to make soups, curries, chicken salads, and scrap salads.
2/ Use the leftover chicken bones from a whole roast chicken, wings, legs, thighs, etc.
Every time we eat chicken, the leftover bones go into a bag or container in our freezer, so that when I go to make a pot of broth, there are plenty of bones to use. Instead of throwing out bones, you are now going to use them to make one of the most nutritious foods in your kitchen. How cool is that? And people say eating healthy is expensive!
3/ Buy cheap chicken bones from your butcher.
Most butchers sell chicken carcasses, or chicken backs for only a couple dollars. If you can find chicken feet as well, grab those for your broth, as they are full of gelatin!
How to Make Chicken Broth
– Chicken or chicken bones (free-range or organic!) About two carcasses, or one whole chicken plus some more bones.
– 1-2 carrots, roughly chopped
– 1-3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
– 1 onion, skin on, cut in half or quarters
– Water to cover everything in your pot
Optional: 2 tbsp vinegar, sea salt, 1 tsp peppercorns, lemon peel, 1 bunch parsely, additional herbs and spices
You can also use veggie scraps instead. When you cut carrots, celery, leek, and onion for other meals, save the ends, skins and scraps in a bag in your freezer. Instead of throwing them out, use them to make broth! You really won’t need salt if you are going to make soups and other meals with your broth, as you will add seasoning then.
STEP 1: Put everything in a large pot or slow-cooker.
STEP 2: Cover all ingredients with COLD filtered water.
*Note – if using vinegar, letting everything sit in the vinegar water for 30-60 minutes before cooking will help extract calcium and other minerals from the bones.
STEP 3: If using a slow-cooker, simply turn on low. If using a pot on the stove, slowly bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat so it just barely simmers. Impurities in the form of frothy scum will rise to the surface during the first hour or so. Skim this off with a large spoon and throw away. Leave to cook for 8-24 hours.
*Note – if using a whole chicken, remove the chicken after about 4 hours so the meat doesn’t overcook. You can put on kitchen gloves to remove the hot meat and put aside, then throw the bones back into the broth.
*Note – if using parsely, add the bunch for the last hour or so of cooking to add additional mineral ions to the broth.
STEP 4: Strain the broth and throw away the bones, vegetables and herbs.
STEP 5: Put broth in the fridge and when cool, skim off and throw away the fat layer that forms on top.
If this all sounds too time-consuming
If you are in a hurry at any one of these steps, feel free to change the order around! I often throw my ingredients in the slow-cooker in the evening after dinner and let the broth cook all night. In the morning, I scoop out most of the bones and veg with a slotted spoon, then throw the whole slow-cooker bowl into the fridge to let cool while I get on with my day. When I get time later or that night, I can skim off the fat from the cooled broth, then strain the broth into containers or ice trays. A few minutes at each stage are all that is needed!
Storing your chicken broth / stock
Keep your broth in containers or jars in the fridge for up to 5 days (longer if reboiled), or in the freezer for several months. You can use ice cubes trays to make stock cubes that are easy to throw into your pan when cooking, or even make ice blocks (popsicles) for a very nutritious cold snack.
Drink Your Broth!
Of course, broth adds liquid and delicious flavour to many of your favourite casseroles, stews, and soups. You can also cook veggies in it for extra flavour and nutrition, and use it instead of water when cooking rice and other pre-soaked grains.
However, if you also need an immune boost, help with your digestion, or some extra healing in times of illness or stress, simply heat a cup of your homemade broth in a small pot on the stove and drink it in a mug like a cup of tea. Magic healing tea, that is. 🙂
References & Further Reading on Broth:
– “Broth is Beautiful” by the Weston A. Price Foundation
– “Stock Reviews” by Choice.com.au
– “Chicken Broth: No MSG Labels are False” by The Healthy Home Economist
– “Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein Recalls…” by The Health Ranger
– “Nourishing Traditions” book by Sally Fallon
How will you make your homemade broth? What do you use it for? Share your thoughts and ideas!
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