I’m sorry for letting so much time pass since I last posted! My husband just got a new job located on the other side of the country and we have been in the process of putting our house on the market…selling out house…packing our house…finding a new home to move to…and preparing to say goodbye to all our friends and family! We have now been in our new home, an hour outside of Chicago, for about three weeks and we have so much excitement in what lies ahead!
But all that being said…let’s start talking about some chicken feet!
In a couple of my recent my recent posts I have been talking about some exciting things I have been learning and some diets changes we have been making because of that. My husband and I are really realizing how important the health of the gut is and how it completely changes a person’s life and overall health.
As caretakers of both our own and our children’s bodies, we believe it is time to feed our family a diet that will not only make us feel great, but fight off diseases, encourage a good weight, and set our kids up for healthy futures!
I want to give another shout-out to Traditional Cooking School for giving me SOOOOO much wonderful information in transforming our diet and learning some new (but yet truly traditional) skills. I will be writing a more detailed post of them later.
The first major addition we made to our diet is what I want to focus on today…BONE BROTH!
Have you ever heard that the best, most healing thing to eat when you are sick is chicken noodle soup (even if it is from a can!)? FALSE!!
Chicken noodle soup has actually picked up the reputation that belongs to chicken BONE BROTH soup – which is indeed one of the healthiest foods on the planet!
Now I am not speaking about picking up a chicken bone and chomping down. When bones are cooked for a long time they release their astronomical amount of nutrients and minerals directly into the liquid they are cooking in…and then can be consumed directly into your body!
Homemade stocks are frugal, allowing no part of an animal to go to waste. In addition, the nutrition can’t be beat.
Broths are rich with minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Adding an acid during the cooking helps to draw out these essential minerals. The minerals, coming from bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables, are doubly special because they are in the form of easy-to-assimilate electrolytes.
Carefully prepared stocks oﬀer gelatin, a food compound which has been shown helpful in treating digestive disorders, anemia, diseases of the blood, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and cancer. Gelatin is a digestive aid, and this ability comes because of its property of attracting digestive juices to the surface of cooked food particles. Gelatin is not a complete protein, yet it acts as a “protein sparer” — it helps the body fully use the other proteins that are consumed. Gelatin also oﬀers a beneﬁt of frugality. We may stretch our healthy (and more expensive) meat purchases further by aiding our body to use other purchased protein completely.
And let’s not forget ﬂavor! The ﬂavor that stocks confer upon stews, skillet dishes, and cooked grains is simply amazing.
~ Wardee Harmon (Traditional Cooking School)
****A very important point, though, is that in order to have all of those amazing things in the bones they need to come from a healthy, naturally-grown animal with no artificial hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides!
I have actually not made bone broth with chicken bones yet. We have gotten beef bones from our local farmer’s market and venison bones from friends that hunt (thanks Bo and Amy!). But really any healthy bones will work.
Other things you can put in (and I hope to in the future) is chicken neck and feet (VERY high in gelatin) and any internal organs such as liver. All of these will just increase the level of nutrition in this amazing broth!
In all of my study of traditional cooking, I have found that traditional food, in general, isn’t very difficult to prepare and doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time. The main change from going from modern/unhealthy to traditional cooking, is preparing in advance, because, to truly draw out nutrition and prepare for easy digestion, you have to give it some time. Bone broth is no different.
We buy our bones on Saturday morning and by lunchtime we:
- put them in the crockpot
- fill it almost to the top with water
- add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (to draw out the minerals)
- turn it on high for one hour
- then reduce it on low for anywhere from 12-72 hours (the longer the better). We usually don’t start eating it until Monday evening so ours simmers for over 48 hours! Remember, though, we spend about 5 minutes getting it into the crockpot and maybe about 15 minutes finishing it at the end so the only thing that takes time is the crockpot sitting on the counter!
- strain out the liquid, mix in the marrow (optional), add seasonings, and you’re done!
If you are using a bone that has a good bit of marrow inside (beef bones are perfect for that), you can scrape it out into a blender, once the cooking is done, and blend it up with a little of the broth and then just mix it in with the rest. This can actually make the broth a little thinker and “creamier”. Marrow is the most nutritious part of an animal so you definitely don’t want to throw that away!
You can be as creative as you want with other additions. I leave the seasoning up to Josh, because I’m better at following recipes than I am with experimenting. When you put the bones in the crock pot you can add onions, garlic, basic seasoning, veggies, etc. You want to be careful with sweet or strong flavored veggies because, after cooking for that long, they can make the broth itself too strong. It would probably be better to add any veggies you are concerned about an hour or two before the broth is done. Josh does most of the seasoning afterward so that he can taste as he goes and make sure it is just right.
But a lot of the seasoning choices also depends on what you will use the broth for. We usually make a veggie soup to use as a side dish a couple times a week. I also use it to cook veggies to give my kids. But if you are using it in a recipe that already has seasonings you might not want to add anything beforehand. It is COMPLETELY up to you!
I feel like that is a lot of information…but I hope it has been helpful! Please let me know if you have any tips or questions!