Once there was a girl.
A girl who thought chicken only came in the way of nice little packages without bones or skin.
Yes, that girl was me. The very thought of bones and skin frightened me. “You mean I have to touch the bones of an animal and cook them? NO WAY!”
It’s amazing how a little knowledge can really change a person!
Once I started to include nourishing grass fed meats in our diet, I found it was cheaper (and sometimes the only thing available from local farms) — the whole chicken. Bones and skin, oh my! At $4.25/lb on average for a 4-5lb whole chicken, I felt I really needed to use every ounce of chicken I bought, out of respect for the animal and my budget.
I quickly discovered the joys of making my own golden homemade chicken broth packed full of vital nutrients.
Now, it’s easy to pick up a carton of broth at the store, however, there is a huge difference between that box of Swanson Broth and fresh homemade broth made from pastured chicken bones and veggies. If you look at a box of chicken broth from the store you are going to find a lot of ingredients that are plain ol’ FAKE. Additives that extend the life and flavor of broth, stripped of all nutrients.
Homemade chicken broth is traditional, having been been prepared for generations!
Homemade broth is somewhat of a magical food and has many health benefits:
- Promotes digestion and protects your digestive tract
- Contributes to strong bones, connective tissues, and tendons, and healthy brain growth (bone broth is awesome for growing children, read more about a nutrient-dense diet)
- Boosts your immune system. Ever wonder why chicken noodle soup is recommended when you are sick?
- Rich in glycine, an essential amino acid for our bodies. The Paleo Mom has an awesome post about the great benefits of glycine and proline, two very important amino acids found in homemade broth.
- Provides our body with essential minerals, including magnesium (a mineral many of us are greatly deficient), calcium, phosphorous, and other trace minerals
- Rich in collagen. Looking for healthy hair, skin, and nails? Skip the Botox and drink the broth.
Homemade broth is such a rich source of nutrients and super inexpensive to make. It’s perfect for stocking your freezer with and including in your family’s meals.
I use our homemade broth in soups, cooking rice, steaming and roasting veggies, mashed potatoes, and any kind of gravy.
Because I am a busy mom, I need to be able to make broth without spending a lot of time in the kitchen, so I choose to make mine in the crock-pot. This works well for me since I can just transfer the leftover chicken bones from our dinner to my crock pot and leave it on all night, waking up to the wonderful smell of homemade chicken broth!
Homemade Crock-Pot Chicken Broth
- 1 leftover chicken bones from a whole chicken and skin, preferably from a pastured chicken
- veggies and herbs 1 onion, 2 large carrots, a few sprigs of parsley, 2 stalks of celery, No need to chop the veggies into small pieces. Just cut the veggies in half.
- salt and peppercorns to taste
- Place the chicken bones in the crock-pot (I use this one). Top with veggies and herbs. Add salt and peppercorns, if using.
- Fill the crock pot with water, leaving a little space at the top.
- Cook for 10 hours on low heat.
- Allow the broth to cool.
- Place a large colander (like this) inside a large bowl.
- Pour the broth into the colander, to separate the bones and veggies from the liquid. You will now have your bones and veggies in the colander, the bones may be used to make another batch of broth. The veggies need to be tossed.
- Rich golden broth awaits in the bottom bowl.
- Pour into containers of choice. I use mason jars (like these)
- The broth should be used within a week (kept in the fridge) or frozen for up to 6 months. Learn more about freezing broth.