Broth: A Food That Heals

Homemade broth is one of those foods that anyone can make--and a food that everyone should make. Canned broth must have seemed like a great invention at the time, but stocks and broths found on grocery store shelves are devoid of nutrients and real flavor. Large amounts of refined salt and harmful additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) are usually added to make these more palatable. Real broth made at home is filled with nutritionally valuable trace minerals in their natural state. And nothing can compare with the depth of rich flavor a homemade broth can bring to so many dishes.

The nutritional value of real broth was well-known in ancient cultures and is still revered in traditional communities today. Broth is often viewed as a powerful health elixir which can strengthen the joints and bones, prevent and cure illnesses, and provide ample amounts of energy and stamina. These claims are not antiquated myths, though it may seem like that if you try to cure modern ailments with canned broth. That won’t work. But by preparing your own stock the old-fashioned way, you can reap many health benefits from it.

Of all the various ingredients which can be included in broths, bones are the most important. While the idea of bones, cartilage and marrow may not get you salivating, it’s these components that bring the miraculous nutritional value to homemade broth. Broths are a rich source of gelatin (which enhances protein absorption and helps grow healthy hair too), as well as important trace minerals. For those who can’t eat much dairy, broth is also an important natural source of calcium.

Meat and vegetables can also be included in broth, though these are more for flavor than nutrient value. You can add your favorite seasonings to the mix if you like, including sea salt, pepper and various natural spices. Don’t overdo the seasoning, however, since the broth will gain its own flavor as it cooks.

To make your broth, place all of your ingredients in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Stocks and broths benefit the most when cold water is heated slowly, so it’s best not to try and save a minute or two by preheating the water. Place the pot over medium heat until water has reached a gentle simmer. Then adjust heat to its lowest setting and allow broth to simmer for at least 12 hours, though a full 24 hours will draw even more nutrients into your broth. (Beef broth generally needs more time than chicken broth.) Remember to only allow the stock to simmer, never boil. Boiling can botch the flavor, texture and nutritional value of your broth.

When your broth has finished simmering, remove it from heat and allow it to cool slightly. You’ll want to strain it to separate the liquid from the solids. If you want an exceptionally clear broth you can use a fine strainer, but otherwise any strainer will do. Strain the liquid into a large bowl (preferably one with a lid or cover for easy storage). Set aside meat and vegetables to use for soups or casseroles at a later time.

Store the stock in an airtight container overnight. The fat in the broth will harden and rise to the top of the bowl. You can skim off as much fat as you desire, but leave at least a small amount to enhance the overall flavor and texture. Of course, you can skim off all the fat and add it back in as desired later on.

You can freeze extra stock in an airtight container and keep it for several months, so you can easily save more time by cooking large amounts of broth at once and then storing the rest in the freezer. Use your broth to flavor soups, sauces, gravies and so much more. Homemade broth is sure to become a staple item in your kitchen when you discover how little effort it takes to enjoy such rewarding flavor and nutritional benefits.

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
Homemade broth is an ancient health secret that belongs in every kitchen. Since discovering Nourishing Traditions, I make homemade broth anytime I have bones handy. It makes a great addition to gravies and soups, so it’s not hard to incorporate broth into most meals. And if you've caught a cold this season, be sure to sip on warm broth throughout the day. Combined with other natural cold remedies, your cold will be gone before you can say "A-choo!"

One last tip: how do you know if you have a good-quality broth? It gels up at least a little once you refrigerate it - that means it’s full of nutritious gelatin!

No time to make your own broth? Buy high quality real bone broth online here.

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  1. Great post - very timely. I have 2 and 1/2 gallons of Turkey broth in my fridge I made yesterday and am looking forward to the yummy dinners it will provide!

  2. Thanks for this. I want to get back to making broths correctly. I've blown it by boiling too often. Is it important to break up the bones to extract more nutrients? I remember from the past one put some vinegar in to pull more nutrients from the bones. Do you think that's helpful?

  3. Hoop Groop - I am not sure about breaking up the bones, but somehow I doubt it could hurt. I've also heard about adding a little vinegar to the broth - in fact, I added some to the two pots of turkey bone broth I'm making tonight!

    TurtleOak - I'm hoping to get two gallons out of mine tonight. It's funny getting so excited about broth, but I do love it!

  4. Great post. I've just (2 weeks ago) received my first quarter of grassfed organically-raised local beef and have a huge bag of beef bones to make broth with. I've been making my own chicken stock for quite a while from free-range chickens. After cooling my broth, I freeze it in ice cube trays (each tray holds about 2 cups) and then put the cubes in freezer bags - it's great for sauteeing veggies from my organic garden or adding to stews and soups - you only use what you need and you don't have an open container left in the fridge.