Bone Broth Part 1: WHY

The first time I heard the words "bone broth," I thought that sounded disgusting. And when I recently recommended it to someone for its immune-boosting properties, she was kind of grossed out. 

Getting prepped for a batch of bone broth.

Getting prepped for a batch of bone broth.

So, let's set the record straight on a couple things: First and foremost: My mom was right about making your own bone broth. (See that, Mom? You. Were. Right.) And second: It tastes like really awesome chicken broth. 

Before we talk about the HOW, let's talk about the WHY:

  1. Lots of health benefits (maybe?).There's a lot of hype (especially in Paleo circles) about bone broth. Just Google it if you're interested. There are claims that it helps your hair and nails and skin, and boosts breast milk production. That it helps heal sore joints. That it boosts the immune system.

    For me, I do find it helpful as I'm starting to get sick — or as I'm recovering from being sick and starting to eat again (something I've experienced a lot more often with a kiddo in daycare). But mostly, I just really like having homemade chicken stock to use in my dishes.
  2. No waste. If you're already using bone-in chicken, why waste any part of the meat? Save those leg, thigh and wing bones (store them in a freezer bag in the freezer).
  3. Taste. Seriously, guys, I can't stress enough how much better homemade chicken stock tastes. And dishes like broth-based soups or risotto really come alive with that richer stock.
  4. Kiddo-teaching moment. Yes, I buy some convenience foods, too, but this is a really great opportunity to share that real food doesn't come in boxes and cans. It's also a chance to talk about money if the kiddo is older. Eight ounces of organic bone broth at my local Sprouts is $2.19 for 8 ounces. I'll likely get upwards of 12 8-ounce jars out of today's batch of broth. I already had the chicken bones (yes, almost always organic). Then, there's the cost of the veggies and herbs, which is easily under $10. Score.
  5. It's easier than you think. I make a batch every four to six weeks (more often if I've been doing a lot of cooking with bone-in chicken). Thanks to the beauty that is the slow cooker, it's so easy and worry-free. 
  6. You can't really screw it up. Herbs, no herbs. Pepper, no pepper. More carrots, less carrots. Seriously, don't stress about it. This isn't a wedding cake. It will be great.
  7.  You know what's in it (and it's all awesome stuff). And what's not in it is a ton of sodium, sugar, extracts or "chicken flavor."