Bone Broth Basics

In case you haven't noticed, it's winter. This fact smacked me across the face today when white stuff sprinkled itself all over my lawn. My husband claimed it looked "pretty" but I say pretty freaking awful. I am not a fan.

If I learned anything at all from my jury duty upset, it should have been this: I am not in control. I can't stop jury duty and I certainly have no influence over the weather, let alone the season. The earth turns. The snow falls. I grind my teeth.

However, I can fight back. There is a magical, powerful beverage I forgot to mention in my recent post about wonderful things to drink: bone broth.

Magical, you say? Powerful? Oh yes! Have you ever heard of Jewish penicillin? This is a nickname for chicken soup. Jewish mothers have been preparing this for centuries and using it to cure all manner of ills. Chicken bones are full of immune-boosting compounds like carnosine and cysteine, amino acids which ease congestion and may stop infections from spreading.

Bone broth can be made from chicken bones, but also from any type of animal bones. (I guess you could use fish bones, too, but don't quote me on this! I've never attempted to make fish broth.) Gelatin, another protein in bones, can help heal the lining of the digestive tract which can be damaged by stress and excess alcohol. The electrolytes in bone broth (minerals like magnesium and calcium) can also help the body recover from episodes of diarrhea and stomach upset. Can you say "cure-all"?

In addition, bone broth contains collagen. Sipping this delicacy can even help reduce wrinkles in the skin and give your hair some serious shine. Not only will you be healthy, but also beautiful.

I don't add anything besides bones to my broth because I use it on my dogs' food. (Bone broth is awesome for dogs, too! It contains compounds like glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.) Onions are not good for dogs, but other leftover veggies like carrots or celery would be fine. I don't add salt for the same reason. If you're only cooking for humans, you can add any herbs, spices, or flavoring agents you enjoy, but remember as the broth cooks down, the taste will become amplified.

And the recipe for this wondrous concoction? So easy!

Fill your crockpot with leftover (cooked or raw) bones. I usually use an entire chicken carcass, after pulling all the roasted meat off the bones. I also throw in the raw chicken neck. (Do not use the liver.) Cover the bones with water and turn the crockpot on LOW. Let the bones simmer for at least 24 hours and up to 48. (Bones may become soft or even dissolve!) Carefully strain out all solids and serve bone broth hot. It is delicious plain, with salt added, with fresh chopped garlic and parsley, or other herbs or spices. You can also use the broth to make soups or stews. Store in fridge for up to 5 days or freeze any leftovers.