Why throwing a chicken in a slow cooker might just be the smartest thing you can do for your health today
August 5, 2016
For generations, we cooked nose to tail, never wasting a part of the animal. We did this because historically food was scarce and we valued the cost to us (whether by hunting, growing, trading or buying it). So we used every part of the animal and with that way of cooking and eating, we reaped the benefits to our health.
Bone broth (now often referred to as stock), used to be the basis of many family meals and is slowly coming back into food fashion as we realise its enormous health promoting properties. Bone broth is really easy and inexpensive to make and has such versatile uses that once you start to use it, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it!
I thought I’d create a “how to” so that you can make your own and then give you some ideas for how and when to use bone broth.
Slowly simmering meat or poultry bones allows the release of the minerals in the bone and access to the gelatin. These are super useful in human health to promote great gut health (not sure why you need great gut health? Read my blog post here) and provide our bodies with essential fats and minerals. These fats, minerals and gelatin help heal our gut from damage caused by inflammation, help to fill up our bellies with good fats to keep us full for longer and provide our digestion with a rest as it easily absorbs minerals.
To make bone broth you need either a large saucepan or a slow cooker. In the saucepan or slow cooked place either the bones from a chicken carcass or about 1kg of lamb or beef bones. One of the great things about bone broth is that you can use bones that have already been cooked and even chewed on. It’s going to be boiled so there’s no risk there, just an economical way to make great food go even further!
To your pot with the bones in it, add some veggie scraps. A great idea is to put the bones in a ziplock bag as you are collecting them. This might be lamb chop bones that you collect over the course of a few weeks or chicken bones from a few week night meals. Keep that bag in the freezer. As you have veggie scraps (the ends of zucchini, the skins of peeled carrots, the tops and leaves of celery, the stalks of kale, the ends of onions and those long leftover stalks of broccoli etc) place them in the ziplock bag. When you want to make stock, you have all that you need in your ziplock bag and you haven’t used a new vegetable. These ends contain just as much nutrient as the middle part that you consumed at another meal. Bone broth for free!
To the saucepan or slow cooker add enough water to cover the contents. To this add a dash of white vinegar, this helps to release the minerals from the bones. Chicken bones are best at around 6 hours of gentle simmering and red meat bones are great anywhere from 12-24 hours. If you are doing this in a saucepan on the stove ensure the water level remains above the contents in the pot. And you’re done!
My favourite tip for storing stock is to buy yourself a silicone 12 hole muffin tray. Each muffin hole holds ¼ cup of liquid. Put the silicone tray onto a chopping board (you won’t be able to move it once it is filled with the stock) and fill each hole. Place flat in the freezer and when it is frozen, pop them out and store them in a zip lock bag. When you want some stock, take out the amount you need.
I love adding stock to everything I can. It is delicious added to a basic Bolognese, slow cooked meals such as pulled pork, stews and casseroles, soups and anything else that requires some liquid and a little flavour. You can also drink it as a warm drink with salt added. This is great to keep winter colds at bay and keep up your energy, particularly during the cold and wet months. You’ll be amazed at the improvement in your health by introducing bone broth to your food.