When I was a kid my mother used to make broth from the bones of whole chickens she would cut up to make fried chicken. It was the weirdest thing to watch how she made fried chicken, but it was the way my dad’s mom taught her to do it and it always came out very tasty. But the broth that she made from the chicken bones left something to be desired. She would make me drink it with chopped up onion and cilantro or parsley and some lemon juice in it and there would inevitably be little solid floaters of myoglobin or pieces of marrow that made me gag. She would remind me though that it was good for my skin and hair and nails because the collagen that made the cold broth look like gelatin was the same stuff they used to make Jello back in the day and it was good for tissue repair. So despite my aversion toward it I would squeeze in some more lemon, warm it up in the microwave and suck it down. It wasn’t until I was grown that I realized what was missing in the flavor – VEGETABLES and TIME!
She would make it with a whole onion and she’d salt it, but never do I remember her putting carrots, celery, parsley, garlic, thyme, bay or ginger in the water with the neck, back and miscellaneous bones and sometimes the organ meats. When I finally started making bone broth (just regular old broth to me at the time) after some research, I started adding in my own mix of the above cited veggies and allowing it to simmer all day, sometimes over night. To prevent the bones from disintegrating into the vegetables and making them almost impossible to remove alone I submerge them in a broth with a frying basket or a steaming basket so I could just lift them out when the broth was done. This way if I wanted a richer broth I could just strain out the bones and organ meats if any and remove the onion skins and then blend the whole melange with an immersion blender. This makes a very rich broth that is great for gravies, sauces and stews. If I want to more clear for things like chicken noodle soup or consomme then just strain out all the solids.
Now that we have a dog I try to keep some unseasoned cooked chicken meat on hand in case he comes down with a case of sour stomach. During these times I’ll cook chicken legs and thighs in my pressure cooker and remove the skin and bones and put it all back into the cooker with 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery, 8 sprigs parsley, one large onion halved with the skin, 5 peppercorns, one sprig thyme, one bay leaf and if I want something extra spicy and warming (especially during cold season) one inch ginger trimmed and peeled. This way our pup gets his meat and we get the benefit of the nutrients in the skin and bones. You can do this with any kind of bone in meat you have available. Pork butt, ox tails, lamb shanks and even fish will work to make a tasty and nutritious bone broth.
I still drink bone broth with lemon and cilantro, but now I crave it. I realize that the process of making your own broth can be time consuming and it is such a blessing that it can be purchased in shelf stable packages from practically any grocery store. There are even keto bone broth preparations in powder form that you can take on the go and prepare with an 8 ounce cup of hot water. These are great for snacking and so tasty. The MCT oil in them helps to maintain your level of ketosis in addition to providing a delicious snack. Check out this one from KissMyKeto. I’ve tried them and my favorite is the Lemon Thyme Turkey.
Collagen present in bone broth is an antioxidant nutrient. This protein along with naturally occurring gelatin which turns your cold broth into a gelatinous mass have health benefits beyond satiating your hunger.
- Collagen acts to strengthen your nails and prevent brittleness and helps them grow longer.
- Collagen helps to strengthen hair follicles, possibly, preventing age related hair loss.
- Collagen provides support to your skin’s ability to retain moisture, thus making your skin more supple and elastic (can you say, less wrinkles, yes please).
- In like manner, collagen provides antioxidants and nutrients which assist in bone and soft tissue repair. Thus this could help in exercise recovery and prevention of degenerative bone diseases like osteoporosis.