Healing Homemade Broths and Stocks

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Did you tuck a turkey carcass into the freezer after Thanksgiving? Time to get it out! Today, Roxanne from The Holistic Mama shares her easy crock pot (or stockpot) broth method. Plus, she’ll totally win you over to the health benefits of making homemade broth and stock.

My method for stock — taught on video in Fundamentals eCourse — differs only slightly, and mainly in how I flavor my stock with ginger. Thanks, Roxanne. This looks great! –Wardee

Homemade broths and stocks are essential for optimum health. Making homemade stock is easy and economical, and the stocks are packed with health benefits while they add amazing flavor to any dish. Stocks can be made in a large stock pot on the stove top or in a crock pot, require little culinary skill, and don’t need much attention. You can make a variety of stocks with herbs, vegetables, chicken, beef, fish, or any other meat you like. All are full of health benefits that you won’t find in commercially produced stocks.

Health Benefits of Broth

Throughout history, many traditional cultures have made broths with bones. Stocks are extremely healing and beneficial to everyone. As the bones boil, the minerals from the bones get pulled out into the water, creating a mineral-rich stock. Homemade bone broths are rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals which are essential for optimum health.

Because the minerals in broth are easily assimilated, consuming bone broths is a very easy way to get these minerals in your diet. Bone broths also contain glucosamine, chondroitin and gelatin — components that get extracted from the bones. These nutrients are very good for anyone with joint pain or arthritis.

Meat and fish stocks made with bones are also very healing to the digestive system. They provide building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining. Bone broths have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut. This has been used for centuries as a digestive aid and a remedy for the digestive tract.

Homemade Broth Saves Money

Homemade broths provide many health benefits that commercially made stocks do not. And in addition homemade broths cost much less! A quart size container of organic chicken broth averages around $3.00. If you filled a 5-quart crock pot with commercial stock, you’re looking at $15.00!

Compare that to the homemade stock I made last night from half an organic chicken that cost me $5.99. That’s half the price of commercial — and don’t forget how much more healthful homemade stock is!

Here’s another cost savings. After making and eating homemade broth for awhile, you may find less need to buy supplements. (Remember, the broth contains lots of minerals plus glucosamine, chondroitin, and gelatin.)

How to Make Homemade Broth

Making homemade broth is so easy. You can make this wonderfully healing food with few ingredients and little time and effort.

My crock pot is almost like a permanent fixture on the counter. I have a broth cooking in it most of the time. To make life easy, freeze containers of stock in small portions ready for use in recipes. It is great to have a lot of stock on hand in the freezer for making soups, beans, rice, sauces, gravies and lots more.

What you need:

  • Bones (meaty is fine) from chicken, turkey, beef, fish, or any other kind of meat — including joints, giblets, and/or organs
  • apple cider vinegar
  • filtered or pure water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a strip of kombu seaweed (optional for added trace minerals)
  • vegetables (optional for flavor and added nutrients)
  • herbs (optional for flavor and added nutrients)
  • garlic cloves (optional for flavor and added nutrients)

Place the meat, bones and parts into a large crock pot or stock pot. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the pot. Fill the pot the rest of the way with filtered or pure water.

Optional: add any vegetables, fresh or dried herbs, cloves of garlic (you can get creative here!) to flavor the stock. If using a crock pot, turn to low and let cook for 24 hours. If using a stock pot, bring water to boil and then reduce heat and allow simmering for a minimum of 8 to 24 hours. The longer you let it cook, the more health benefits you will receive in your stock. That’s it! This will last a few days in the fridge and 6 to 12 months in the freezer.

What’s your broth/stock routine? Have you noticed any differences in your health when you make and eat it regularly? Do you have any tips to share?

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Comments

  1. Mona Ballentine Weathers via Facebook says

    I am a firm believer in the healing power of broth. I have been sharing my recipe with friends because I know how well it works.

  2. Roxanne Anderson King via Facebook says

    That’s great Mona, I think it’s so important to share healthy ideas and recipes with friends so we can spread health and healing to everyone around us!

  3. aps says

    I received a couple tips when I learned how to make stock this Thanksgiving. First, start with cold water. Something about using cold water extracts more gelatin from the bones (or at least that’s what I was told). The second tip was, instead of skimming off the oily layer that floats to the top, refrigerate the whole thing, the fat layer hardens on the top and can easily be scraped off with a spoon and saved in a jar in your fridge. This is called schmaltz in Jewish and German cultures and is used in the same ways one would use butter or bacon grease. I fry eggs in it and it tastes amazing!! Our Thanksgiving turkey gave one quart of schmaltz and something like 10 quarts of stock.

  4. Amy Jo says

    We made turkey stock in the crock pot for the first time last week. I have made only chicken broth and only on the stovetop in the past. I noticed the turkey broth was much less gelatinous. Is turkey broth overall less gelatinous or is it the crock pot method that yields less gelatin? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Amy Jo,
      I find that broths rarely come out exactly the same. I don’t see a huge difference from using the crock pot versus a regular stock pot but there are a lot of factors that can change the broth. It will be different if the meat, bones, etc are cooked or raw, also the parts of the bird/animal you are using, and the cooking time. Turkey and chicken come out similar for me, although I prefer the taste of the chicken broth over turkey.
      Roxanne

      • Amy Jo says

        Thanks, Roxanne. I prefer the chicken stock as well… was just wondering why the turkey broth would have come out with so much less gelatin. We throw in everything we have, skin, bones, innards…. Mr. Turkey just came out thinner and a bit “birdier”. Oh well, we don’t eat much turkey around here anyhow!

        • says

          Lisa,

          You can use either, and you can also pre-roast bones to bring out more flavor. They are all beneficial. The only bones that would not be as beneficial are those that are already boiled because they’ve already released nutrition into whatever they already made. However, they may still have nutrition left so still good to use.

  5. says

    Just drank my turkey stock for lunch. I was fortunate to get an 18qt Nesco for Christmas and opened it early so I could use my turkey bones!!! How wonderful to just scoop it up for meals. I have a feeling 18qts is going to last me a long time, it’s going on 3 days of cooking low. So much more efficient than my 8qt stock pot that I have to watch on the stove!

  6. jan says

    Is a little roaster chicken (bones) enough to make stock or do I need more? I called dibs on the turkey bones and giblets, neck, for making stock. Nobody eats the drumsticks, should I throw them in with the meat on ?

    • says

      Hi Jan,
      You could use the small roaster chicken, just don’t use too much water. If you have a lot of water with a small amount of chicken the broth won’t come out as thick. Yes, I would throw the drumsticks in with the meat on! Meat and skin add flavor and health benefits as well as the bones.

  7. Deborah Wais says

    I watched Sarah Pope’s video on making stock, which can be found on the Weston A. Price Foundation web-site when you click on videos. She has done several videos for WAPF explaining traditional methods of cooking. She said to get more gelatin in the stock add just enough water to cover the bones. Too much water seems to be the problem with not getting the stock to gel. I like to add as much water as possible to get as much stock as possible, but my stock is usually thin and not very gelatinous. I am going to try her suggestion and see how it works, and just make stock more often. I hope this suggestion helps others. I bought a bag of chicken feet from Whole Foods last week. I think it cost around $5.00. That should help gel the stock, too. Maybe your Whole Foods carries chicken feet, too. Happy stock making!

  8. says

    Because I am away from home temporarily, I simmer mine on the stove for 48 hours in a stock pot. I have added chicken heads and feet to the carcass bones. After cooking this long, the bones just disintegrate. I can then further use what’s left of the bones, head, and feet to feed my dogs (NOTE: NEVER give cooked bones to your pets unless they are at this stage of disintegration – meaning nothing sharp or hard! You can tell it’s acceptable when you can actually put it in a blender and it becomes mush with no hard pieces)

    • says

      I love this idea!! I just hate to throw away anything and since I make my dog’s food this is a great way to get added health benefits for the dogs too!

      • says

        Thanks! It was a total experiment the first time I did it and I prayed the entire time until they pooped. But I even chewed on it myself and it was fine to digest. I thought about blogging about this, but I am fearful that someone might not really know how important it is to cook it for a LONG time. I’d love to see your dog food recipe! I am trying to get away from bagged food (even the ‘healthy’ expensive kind) as there are too many denatured ingredients and grains that are not natural to their ancestral diet.

        • says

          Yeah I bet, I would be nervous too. I don’t have an exact dog food recipe I usually do chicken or beef or the “pet food” blend from my Amish farm which is a mixture of organ meat and then I mix it with some vegetables, kelp powder, ground flax, sometimes oats. I’ve heard of people using nutritional yeast in dog food also but havn’t tried it myself. Maybe I’ll do a post about dog food!

          • Kirsten says

            Interesting. I’d like to know more about the dog food recipe too. We are geared up to start our rabbit hutches in a couple weeks for our son to raise meat rabbits for food for the new dog in our future. Hubby has been ‘drooling’ over Boerbels for the last two years, poor guy. lol Wish rabbits were ‘clean’, they would be a great source of food for us too. :( But seriously, raw for canines is the way to go! On a weirder note, I also use the “pet sticks” from our grass-fed meat guy. Being that it’s just organ meats processed the exact same way our ground meat is, it’s a great way for me to sneak in the good stuff into s’getti sauce. ;-)

    • says

      The terms broth and stock tend to be used interchangeably becuase there is only a slight difference. My understanding is that a stock what you get straight out of the pot after cooking for a length of time and broth is a seasoned stock that you would use in a soup.

  9. Rebecca says

    I too find that my poultry stocks do not gel. I will ask Whole Foods about chicken feet.
    I am 35 with osteopenia/porosis. I know bone broths are good for me. How do I know how much calcium I am really taking in with my broths. I don’t drink endless amounts because it would be too expensive to maintain that level of supply. My boys and I do drink about 3/4-1 1/2 cups a day.

    • says

      Hi Rebecca,
      I don’t know a way of knowing exactly how much you are getting. I would guess its not the same from batch to batch either becuase every animal is different. The only thing you can do is go by how it makes you feel, I am a full believer in listening to your body.

      I don’t know if anyone else knows of a way to know find that out?

    • barnyardbarbie in the south says

      To increase calcium levels in your broth, add eggshells to the water and bones and then add your vinegar. I always let mine sit for a couple of hours in the vinegar and water before I turn the heat on. Just strain the eggshells out when you strain out the vegetables. Voila, extra calcium. You can also add azomite powder to your broth to help you absorb the calcium. It doesn’t change the flavor, and provides crucial trace minerals that your body needs to heal your bones. Hope that helps.

    • Steve says

      Calcium is very important, and is readily obtained in the diet (the supplemental carbonate form is harmful, hardening up arteries). Focus on silicon (also called silica). Magnesium and glucose tolerant factor (GTF) chromium are also important. I like the liquid Organo product for silica. http://notadoc.org/node/29

  10. Joanne Alford says

    The gelatin in bone broth also soothes the intestinal lining so someone will stomach problems will find it useful to eat. I like to add as much water as possible to get as much stock as possible, but my stock is usually thin and not very gelatinous. Turkey just came out thinner and a bit “birdier”. The second tip was, instead of skimming off the oily layer that floats to the top, refrigerate the whole thing, the fat layer hardens on the top and can easily be scraped off with a spoon and saved in a jar in your fridge.

  11. Heather says

    Fantastic post! I’ve been making stocks in a crock pot for maybe a year now, and I love it! I usually do beef, but this year’s turkey came out delicious, and I have a package of chicken necks and backs that are crying out to be used. The last couple of pots I threw in some kelp powder that I’ve been trying to find a use for, it really adds to the nutrition, and makes the flavor richer, not fishy at all like I was worried about. 2-3 days on low is my magic recipe, then when it’s done a little sea salt and neither my boyfriend nor I can stop drinking it. I read through the comments on the dog food, I was wondering if anyone makes their own cat food. I have four furry babies and have been wanting to start making their own food for a while. I do usually the grain free dry food, and a few times a week give them a can of moist, but I’d rather feed them close to their ideal diet. Any suggestions?

  12. says

    A few years ago I was introduced to a wonder cooker. Ladies were getting together to sew, basically, a bean bag with a depression and a lid in it for a pot. They filled it up with styrofoam beads. You could also use something natural like straw. I bought some beads and sewed it up. It is WONDERFUL. I use it for bone broths, cooking grains and keeping freezer items from the grocery store frozen in my car on the long trek home. For bone broths, I bring all my bones, veges, acid and spices to a boil and get it good and boiling for 10-15 minutes. Then I remove it and put it in the wonder cooker. In the morning, I still have to use a hot pad to remove it from the cooker and the broth is lovely and broken down. Sometimes, I remove the strain it and cook it down further to make bouillion because of a lack of freezer space. For more information, go to http://thermalcooker.wordpress.com/category/wonder-box/. It is surprisingly effective and it never scorches grains. :)

  13. Pat Havens says

    I can broth all the time , but am I losing some of the benificial aspects of the broth through the canning process?

  14. Candy says

    I always keep a bag of bones in the freezer. Same with vegetable peelings. My question is: how about eggshells? Has anyone used them routinely in their broths?

  15. marlene says

    Making chicken stock as I type! Started it last night and continuing to let it cook today. I also use a lot of onion and garlic as they are so healthy!! I run onions, garlic, celery , spinach, or kale, mushrooms and carrots through my food chopper for the broth. Then when I actually make the soup from it with meat, vegetable and a healthy grain like guinoa, it is packed with nutirents!! I tell my family they must eat the soup to ward off cold and flu!! It seems to work! I have never heard of putting apple cider vinegar in it before. I am putting it in though now! What is the purpose?

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