Bone broth is one of the most delicious ways to boost your immune system, it’s so easy to make, and it’s way better for you than store bought broth. It’s a wonderful replacement for morning coffee or evening tea and it makes soups that much more nourishing. Bone broth is also a great first food for babies as it’s so good for their gut health. I started taking broth when I was pregnant and couldn’t take other medicine but it works so well that it’s always my first option now. Whenever I start to feel the tiniest bit sick I drink a cup or two a day and my symptoms just quietly slip away. I love it!
You can make bone broth with chicken, turkey, beef or really any animal bones. I personally think turkey gives the best flavor but today I used chicken. I start by cooking a whole chicken in a crock pot with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You can omit these if you’re cooking for a baby. I usually start this around noon so the chicken is ready for supper.
While that’s cooking I prepare my vegetables. First, I wash whole carrots and celery but I only use the carrot peels and the celery tops in my broth. I then cut them up and put them on a sheet pan to save for dinner.
Then I cut an onion in half but I leave as much of the peel on as I can, as long as it looks healthy. I treat the garlic bulb similarly although it can be a little tricky to cut in half so if you have issues you can cut each clove in half instead but again, leave the peel on. There’s so many vitamins in vegetable peels that will then be in your broth.
Once the chicken is cooked through I take it out of the crock pot, leaving all of the juices inside the pot. After it rests a bit I start to take it off the bone. I will be honest, if you want a nice tutorial on how to beautifully carve the chicken, you’re going to have to look at someone else’s blog. I haven’t mastered that so I just cut and pull as much off as I can. I use about half of it mixed in with my roasted veggies for dinner and the other half I use throughout the week for chicken salad, soup, or casseroles.
All the bones and the entire chicken carcass go back into the crockpot with the juices and the celery tops, carrot peels, onion, and garlic go on top. You may add more salt if desired. Then I fill my crock pot the rest of the way with water and turn on low for the next 12-24 hours. Personally, I think it fills my house with a nourishing aroma although I know some do not enjoy the smell. Hopefully you do!
Whenever I have a convenient time in that 12-24 hour window I turn off the crockpot and strain the broth. I like to store my broth in a variety of different sized mason jars so I have the right amount for whatever I’m making. I even put some in ice cube trays for when I just want to add in flavor or for feeding a baby. The majority, however, goes in pint jars because I think it’s the perfect size for a drink. This batch made a total of 15 cups! The jars can then go in the freezer pretty much indefinitely.
Ideally you would then thaw your broth in the fridge but I never think that far ahead of time so instead, I fill the sink with hot water and place a jar in it just until it’s thawed enough to pour out into a sauce pan to heat on the stove. Get it just to the point of boiling and then turn the heat off. Do not microwave your broth. That destroys most of the vitamins and nutrients in it, leaving it basically useless.
You can drink your broth just like that but I often like to take it a step further and make what I call Garlic Onion Tea. When my husband’s Amish family gets sick, they boil onions in water, call it onion tea, and drink it. I couldn’t quite stomach this idea when I was pregnant but then I read about garlic lemonade in Aviva Jill Romm’s The Natural Pregnancy Book and she suggested boiling garlic and a bouillon cube in water to make drinking it more palatable. I thought that was brilliant so I combined homemade bone broth, garlic, and onions in one drink to make a kick arse, illness fighting solution and honestly I think it’s delicious (although my husband refuses to put garlic in his). I just mince garlic and onions and put them in the broth as it’s heating up. Sometimes I even add a few red pepper flakes to really combat congestion. Then I drink it down garlic, onions, and all and within a couple days I find that my congestion never turned into an actual head cold or other illness and my runny nose goes away rather than lingering for weeks. It so amazing what the human body can do! I so hope you enjoy this as much as I do!