There’s nothing better than a nice cup of hot broth or soup when you’ve been sick. Now you can enjoy your own homemade broth and realize the many benefits of putting in a little extra work in the kitchen for those not so sunny days. This includes maximum nutrition and a longer shelf life!
Chicken Bones (about 1-2 chickens worth)
Filtered Water (about ½ gallon)
Cider Vinegar (about ¼ cup)
- Add bones to a large stainless steel pot.
- Pour vinegar over the bones.
- Add water (enough to cover the bones and submerge them by 1 inch or so).
- Bring mixture to a boil.
- Skim foam.
- Reduce heat.
- Simmer for about 2 hours, skimming and stirring every 20 minutes.
- Broth is done when it has a truly clear look and strong aroma.
- Strain the bones and save for compost.
- Optional: Add a handful of fresh parsley to broth and steep for 3 minutes before removing.
- Cover and allow stock to cool to room temperature on the stove top.
- Refrigerate stock overnight in a covered glass jar.
If made properly, bone stock will separate into three distinct layers:
1. Top layer of fat (discard or use as lard).
2. Middle layer of gelatin (solid enough not to pour).
3. Bottom layer of sediment (discard).
Benefits of Homemade Chicken Stock
Throughout history, most cultures featured a hot cauldron in which entire organisms were cooked. When organs, cartilage, connective tissue, and bones are liquefied, the collagen they contain is converted into a different form called gelatin. The resulting broth (stock) has healing properties related to the synergistic benefit of consuming complete organisms. Stock lubricates the nerve endings in the stomach, countering the effect of stress while delivering concentrated nutrition.
Get maximum nutrition with homemade stock
Unlike the Plains Indians who utilized a large percentage of the bison they consumed, most Westerners prefer only select portions of an animal such as the breast or thigh, discarding the rest. While using the bones to make stock takes some time, it only requires two other ingredients: water and vinegar. The stock cooking process is quite simple, and the bones contain most of the nutrition available in the animal. Whatever you do, don’t throw them away.
The gelatin in stock is prized by chefs for its concentrated flavor and also features strong medicinal properties. Historically known as a cure-all, chicken stock has been shown to boost immune system function and to inhibit inflammation in the nasal passages. Perhaps for these reasons, Chicken Soup (made from stock) can be considered nature’s penicillin.
Chicken stock will remain in gelatin form for about 3 days in the refrigerator before breaking down into a watery broth. Stock can be frozen but will expand and will not return to gelatin state. If the stock is melted and allowed to reset it can be kept indefinitely. Stock can be enjoyed on its own as warm broth or used as a base for chicken soup or other dishes such as rice.
The Rest is Gravy
The stock making process is a purification process. Even if the animal used was raised on less than pristine land, the stock making process removes most of the toxins:
- The foam is skimmed while cooking.
- The pesticides and PCBs rise to the fat layer.
- The heavy metals sink to the sediment layer.
Bone gelatin is essentially a distilled animal! However, since you are truly consuming the whole animal, it is essential to choose only the highest quality chicken for your stock. If you buy chickens in bulk and freeze them, you can normally get a discount. Also, you might consider buying only chicken backs to make stock.