Don't throw away those bones after cooking a whole chicken! Use them to make your own healthful and delicious bone broth. Your homemade broth can be used as a great stock for your soup (obviously!), but it is a great flavoring for other dishes as well, such as 1) the cooking liquid for your beans or rice; 2) for sautéing vegetables; or 3) as the liquid in many crockpot recipes. It can even be used in gravies, salad dressings, marinades, and any other dish that requires a liquid.
To make bone broth, use a crockpot or a big stock pot.
1) Place the bones in the pot after picking off all the meat. If you have access to other chicken parts that you would not normally eat (such as the heads or feet), by all means use them! They add a beautiful richness to the broth.
2) Add any vegetables. Just wash them -- no need to peel and rough cut is fine. Onion, garlic, carrots, celery, broccoli stalks and greens all work well. (Remember you are just making a stock, not a soup).
3) Add 2 Tablespoons of vinegar (apple cider, white, any kind will do). This is important because it helps the nutrients pull from the bones and makes your soup healthier and richer.
4) Add spices to taste. Begin with 1 t. each. Good ones to try are ginger (fresh grated is lovely), turmeric, garlic powder (or a couple of cloves of whole garlic if you can), bay leaf.
5) Add salt (1 T.) and pepper (1 t.)
6) Fill the large pot with water until the bones and vegetables are just covered.
7) Cook on low for at least 12 hours, but simmer time can be up to 24 hours or even more. It's ok to add more water back into the pot during the hours of cooking.
8) Refrigerate up to one week or freeze for later use. Freezing your broth in ice cube trays can be very convenient for later use when only a small portion is needed. (Premeasure your ice cube trays with water so you will know how many cubes to pull out later. For example, 9 cubes from my trays equals 1 cup. I write that on the freezer bag so I don't forget!)
You will begin to learn just what spices your family enjoys, how long you like to cook your bones, and what veggies give your family's broth the perfect flavor. And don't forget to think about how the good God has given us all of the animal to use for our health and well-being.
Christy Goodson is a wife and mother from Jacksonville, Florida. She has been married to her husband Robert for 7 blessed years. Christy and Robert are both lay members of the Home of the Mother. She has four young children and is so grateful to be able to both stay home with them and homeschool them. Christy graduated from Ave Maria University with a BA in Theology. She enjoys cooking for her family especially with a few homegrown ingredients from her backyard. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends that God has blessed her with.