Support Your Immune System with Chicken Broth

Homemade chicken broth!

Homemade chicken broth!

For day 28 of  31 Days of Healthy Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More we’re talking about homemade chicken broth.

It’s been a busy and crazy month.  Don’t get sick now! Make a big batch of homemade broth to support your immune system.   Homemade broths are a nutritious healing liquid that can be drank alone or turned into a healthy soup.  It’s full of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, making it good for our bones and teeth (and even for regulating blood pressure),and it’s full of collagen which we need for healthy skin, joints and hair.  It can help heal a leaky gut (and since 70% of our immune system lives in the gut this is so important), reduce inflammation and increase bile production in the liver.  It’s not an old wives tale that chicken soup heals!

Below is my recipe for homemade Chicken Broth.  Feel free to change it up.  You can also do this with beef or lamb bones.  One note:  It’s important to use the highest quality bones you can get your hands on.  I try to only make broth with the carcasses of organically fed, pasture raised animals – they live in healthier (and more humane) conditions.  Conventionally raised (factory farmed)  farm animals live in horrid conditions that breed disease (heard of super bugs yet?).  If you can avoid it, you don’t want to make healthy healing broth from animals that didn’t live a very healthy life.  You’re not going to benefit from them.

Healing Chicken Broth (Bone Broth)

3-4 lb leftover chicken carcass* (or 3-4 lbs of  leftover bones/cartilage pieces)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (try Braggs brand)
1 large whole onion, peel left on, cut in half
3 whole organic carrots, scrubbed (not peeled), cut in half
2 stalks of organic celery (leaves are fine), cut in half
Big handfuls of fresh organic parsley, dill and thyme sprigs
1-2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp celtic sea salt (or another sea salt)
optional: add a whole head of garlic for the last hour of cooking

Put all ingredients in a large stock pot (at least 6 qt or larger).  Fill with water and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for at least 6 hours (but feel free to go even longer).   When finished cooking, strain the liquid from the solids using a fine mesh strainer.  Toss the solids and save the liquid. When the liquid cools the fat will firm up on top and you can scrape it right off.  The stock is now ready to be used as a base for chicken or any other kind of soup or can be drank as is, hot!

Do not be alarmed if the stock is completely solid when it is cold in the fridge.  This is gelatin and one of the most healing things about broth!  When heated it will re-liquify.  You should be able to see the difference between the fat layer and gelatin layer pretty easily (and you can skim off the fat with a spoon).

*I use a leftover cooked chicken carcass, including some of the skin, pieces of meat, all cartilage etc.  You can also use leftover bone-in split chicken breasts, wings etc.  Any bones that contain some meat, cartilage and skin will work.

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