We live in a disposable society. Just about everything that comes into our house is easily (and readily) replaced with something better, newer, cheaper or brighter. But our grandparents (who lived through some hard times) were just the opposite–they found a use and reuse for just about everything that came into the house. They were green before being green was a thing.
So, in the next few weeks, I’m going to write about some of those things that we should notbe tossing, things that have more purpose and use if we’ll just take a bit of time to get full use out of them.
Today the topic is bones
Chicken bones, turkey bones, ham, steak and roast bones. Typically you throw these out, right? Or maybe you’ll give them to the dog to chew on–not the chicken and turkey bones, of course, but everything else. Instead of throwing out those bones, why not make a broth with them?
Did you know that all the best restaurants always have a stock pot of broth simmering on the back burner? They use this broth to cook vegetables, make rice pilaf and risotto, poach fish and make flavorful soups and sauces. It’s extraordinarily versatile and brings the flavor of the food up a notch or two.
Why bone broth is so good for you
Here’s the thing: those bones still have a lot of good nutrition and food value in them. Bone broth is a cheap yet tasty, nutrition-dense food that should be a regular part of your family’s diet. It is high in minerals and collagen, so it helps build healthy hair, skin, nails and bones. It is anti-inflammatory, so it’s good when you have an upset stomach or a cold or flu. (That’s why your grandma always made chicken soup when you were sick.) The secret is a long, slow simmer along with apple cider vinegar that releases all the nutritional goodness in the bones and marrow.
And the best part (besides all the money-saving and good nutrtion) is bone broth is ridiculously easy to make. Seriously, it’s crazy easy. Put your bones in a pot, add a few vegetables (carrots, celery, onions and a couple garlic cloves) and few herbs (your favorites, like parsley, thyme and oregano) and some apple cider vinegar. Cover with water and simmer. That’s it. Here’s the recipe with complete instructions.
In the last month I have made seven batches of bone broth. My slow cooker ran non-stop for two weeks! Five of those batches were made with turkey bone and one batch each of chicken and goose. Four of the turkey carcasses came from friend’s Thanksgiving dinners–they were destined for the garbage can–and the rest came from our holiday and family meals. The result: seven gallons of broth that cost just pennies to make.
Now, a chicken doesn’t have very many bones, certainly not big ones. So it will take 2-3 pounds of bones to make a batch of bone broth. That works out to two whole chicken carcasses and maybe a dozen or so leg and thigh bones. Every time we roasted chicken or drumsticks or thighs for dinner, I save up all the bones and put them into a baggie in the freezer. Then when I have enough bones, I will start a batch of broth in my slow cooker.
So I hope you will start saving your bones and putting them to good use.