Bone Broth & Kitchen Alchemy

Have you made your own bone broth?

There’s something absolutely magical to me about taking a group of ugly, gnarled roots and twigs and bones and turning them into the most gorgeous, healing, nurturing broth. In my opinion it’s the perfect first foray into creating a healing, sacred space in your own kitchen. Kitchen witchery at its finest.

It also calls to mind generations and generations of women who lovingly made this broth for their families and communities, who kept it simmering away for days at a time on the stove. There’s a romanticism to that. Women knew how to make healing foods and elixers in their kitchens, and naturally passed that knowledge on to their daughters. It was a birthright to know how to heal with food.

But that knowledge was lost somewhere along the way.

Have you ever wondered why we grew up eating Campbell’s chicken soup when we were sick? It’s basically synonymous with comfort food now. No one knows why that’s what you’re given when you have a cold, it’s just what happens. But once upon it was based on something real.

Half a century ago or more, a movement sprouted out of convenience that all but erased our memory of what real healing food is. Microwaves replaced stoves and cans of concentrated, congealed goo replaced painstakingly prepared traditional foods. I’m not going to criticize the women’s liberation movement because they’ll take away my feminist card, but in the long run, the advent of the TV dinner might not have done society a world of good.

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There are as many ways to make bone broth as there are varieties. My personal favorite is chicken, and what I’ve found to yield the best tasting and gelling (more on that in a minute) is a combination of a roast chicken carcass (store bought rotisserie is fine once the meat has been removed) and either chicken feet or chicken necks and backs for the collagen content.

Side note: I get these pieces and parts at a local international grocer, and it never fails, someone always walks up and asks me what on earth I’m going to use them for. Like, salt-of-the-earth grannies from all sorts of cultures. If ever there was proof that ancestral food preparation was stopped dead in its tracks a few generations back, let that be it.

I like to add a good deal of fresh turmeric into mine for health benefits, flavor, and that gorgeous golden color. I don’t bother peeling the turmeric, ginger, garlic, or onion before I throw them in. Just give them a good rinse first.

I’ve had great success with both a stock pot simmering on the stove for 24 hours or more, or a slow cooker taking about the same amount of time,
but I also like making mine in an Instant Pot to save time (If I can choose to have my house smell like chicken soup for three hours vs. 24 I will.)

There’s also some trial and error in getting the right amount of “gel” in the finished product. While it might be off-putting at first, that’s the sign of a high collagen content, which is one of the most healing aspects of the broth.

So here are my secrets to getting that gorgeous, glorious liquid gold your grandmothers’ grandmothers would be proud of.

Chicken Bone Broth

1 Roast Chicken Carcass
1 lb chicken feet or necks and backs
1 large onion, halved
1 head of garlic, halved
1 1-2 in. piece of ginger, halved
4-5 ribs of celery, halved
2 Tbs good apple cider vinegar
1 palm full black peppercorns
2 Tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

Add all solid ingredients to your Instant Pot, fill with distilled water until the bones are just covered, then add ACV. Let sit for a few minutes to let the ACV draw out the minerals in the bones. Cover, and set your IP to manual for 120 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, and when it cools strain through cheese cloth into a large glass bowl or mason jars and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, carefully skim the fat off the top. Then either enjoy in food preparation, or like me, warmed in a big old mug in the mornings with a little lemon and cayenne.

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