|Our chickens on lush July pasture|
I've been making soup stock/bone broth for the past 25 years, and learned from watching my mom in the kitchen with her soup pot bubbling and the wonderful aromas of herbs and aromatics filling the house for 24 hours. It wasn't until the last few years that I actually found out why bone broths are so important in our diet and I began researching this wonderful and simple food.
Now we have science that validates what my mother and her mother knew intuitively - rich, homemade chicken broth helps cure colds. It helps with digestion - the gelatin in the stock aids in the digestive process and stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons--stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain. The Weston Price Foundation recommends you begin each meal with a small bowl of bone broth based soup.
I also wondered why sometimes my stock gelled and sometimes it did not.
Sarah Pope of "The Healthy Home Economist" has a bog post on "5 Reasons Your Stock Won't Gel" and I've pasted it below:
- The stock rolled at too high a temperature. If stock is simmered too high, the heat will break down and destroy the collagen. To see what the perfect simmer on your stock should look like, see my short video on my website.
- The stock did not roll long enough. Once you get that perfect simmer or “roll” going, be sure that chicken stock rolls for 6-24 hours and beef stock for 12-50 hours. Less than that will likely not draw enough gelatin into the stock from the bones.
- Not enough of the right kind of bones were used that yield gelatin. To get the right mix of bones that yield gelatin versus other types of bones that add flavor and color, make sure you use one of the following methods: 1 whole, free range layer hen with neck and wings cut up, 3-4 lbs of boney chicken parts which includes a combo of necks, backs, and wings, OR the picked carcass of 2 meat chickens. For beef stock, use about 7 lbs bones total (4 lbs of boney bones and 3 lbs of meaty bones).
- Too much water was used in proportion to the bones. For chickens, the correct proportion is 3-4 lbs of bones per 4 quarts of filtered water. For beef stock, the correct proportion is 7 lbs of bones per 4 quarts of water or more to cover.
- Using bones from battery chickens or chickens raised in cages. Conventionally raised chickens or chickens raised in cages typically yield little to no gelatin. It is worth the extra money to get quality when you buy meat especially if you will be using those bones to make stock
Chicken Stock - from the Weston A. Price website
1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings*
gizzards from one chicken (optional)
2-4 chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
*Note: Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.
If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
|Beautifully gelled broth.|
Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.
|Cooper is our charismatic and loyal chicken guardian, |
protecting them from predators day and night
|Austin catches this bad boy to ready him for the freezer|
|Marc and Charlotte, farming to provide |
our community with nutrient dense food.
Charlotte passionately believes in the health benefits of a traditional foods diet, especially dairy products from grass-fed cows. She loves sharing time honored traditions of transforming milk into delicious and nutritious cheeses through her classes which also teem with nutrition facts and wisdom. Charlotte owns Champoeg Creamery, a pasture based raw milk dairy in St. Paul, Oregon, and is the mother of 3, a certified Nutrition Wellness Educator, and sits on the Executive Advisory Council for the Raw Milk Institute.