Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pastured Chicken Bone Broth + Immune Boosting Ingredients

What is bone broth?  It is a nourishing, homemade broth that cooks for 24 hours.  Yes, 24 hours.  The long cooking time helps break down the bones and release all of the essential nutrients, leaving you with a beautiful broth.  

Bone broth is probably one of the most nourishing and healing foods you can consume.  Traditionally in Asian cultures, a fish bone broth is the first thing served to women after giving birth.  It is so nourishing that post-partum women consume it before any other food.  It helps her heal faster and nourish her body.

Why is it good for you?  Bone broth is better than a vitamin supplement because the vitamins and minerals are readily available for your body to use.  It’s known for having healing properties, replenishing and nourishing the body when sick, healing the gut, helping with joint pain and arthritis, strengthening your bones, and even helps with cellulite.
For more information on Bone Broth, check out Sally Fallon’s article, “Broth Is Beautiful.”

Pastured Chicken Bone Broth
The “how-to-cure-everything” nourishing broth.

Equipment: 6-quart (or larger) Enamel or Stainless Steel Stock Pot, Juicer (optional), Large Straining Colander, Large Bowl or Large Measuring Cup

  • Bones of 1-2 pastured chicken carcasses (leftover bones from roasting a whole chicken work great)
  • Neck, feet, and/or head of pastured chicken (optional – I know, sounds gross, but there are a lot of nutrients in the feet and head)*
  • ¼ cup organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of ½ lemon (if you have Meyer lemons, use them, they have a great flavor)
  • 7-10 fresh organic Shiitake mushrooms (optional – these have medicinal properties and are immunity-enhancing)
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh marjoram (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic or 2 green garlic – if in season, cut in half
  • 2 strips kombu (See Resources – Sea Vegetables)
  • 1 strip wakame (See Resources – Sea Vegetables)
  • 4 strips Astragalus root (optional – nourishes the immune system)
  • 4 carrots, scrubbed, not peeled
  • 4 celery stalks w/ leaves
  • Filtered water, enough to cover everything in pot
      *** Do NOT salt until the end of cooking time.***

1.     Add bones/carcass, neck/feet/head if you have them, water, vinegar, lemon juice, mushrooms, herbs, garlic, sea vegetables, and Astragalus root. 

 2 Small Pastured Chicken Carcasses

2.    Let soak at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  This step (the vinegar and lemon) helps draw out nutrients from the bones.
3.    Option 1: If you have a juicer, juice all carrots and celery.  Take the juice and leftover pulp and add this to the pot.   Option 2: If you don’t have a juicer, break the carrots and celery in half and add to the pot. 

4.    Cover pot - over low heat bring to a soft boil and allow to simmer on low heat for 24 hours.  A low simmer through the whole cooking process is great, high heat will make a less gelatinous broth, so try to avoid higher heat.
5.     At 12 hours, you can take a potato masher and mash everything in the pot.  The bones should start to be soft at this point and start to break down, allowing you to release some of the marrow. 
6.    At 24 hours, remove from heat, strain through large colander into large bowl or large measuring cup (I use one 12 cup measuring cup and one 4 cup measuring cup).  [Edit Note: Optional - Bones should fall apart at this point.  I like to crush them to try and get more of the marrow out.  WARNING the bones are VERY HOT, so use caution if you chose to do this with your hands.  I then add the bones/marrow back to the broth, stir them around and re-strain one more time.]  

7.     Cool in refrigerator or cold ice bath – store in refrigerator.
8.    Once cooled, you can store portions in BPA-free ice cube trays, or freezer bags.  Freeze whatever you won’t use within 3 days.  
*Making the bone broth with the head or feet will make a more gelatinous broth, which is very healing and loaded with nutrients. 

Yield: Varies, makes about 12-14 cups.  

Other Additions: Sometimes I love to add 2 tablespoons chili powder and 1 tablespoon cumin to the broth.  These spices add a delicious flavor.  I also like to add fresh dill from time to time when I have some on hand.

Storage: Store portions in BPA-free ice cube trays (which will equal about 2 tablespoons per cube) or in 1-2 cup portions in freezer bags.  This will come in handy when you’re cooking and you just need a couple of tablespoons of liquid or 1 cup of liquid, etc. 

Notes: Drink at least 1 cup daily.  Remember to season with unrefined Celtic sea salt since there is no salt in the broth. 

Use: In soups for your stock, chicken or meat dishes, veggie dishes, etc. 

Tips: If you’re not comfortable cooking this for 24 hours, cook for 12 hours, it will not be a true “bone broth” but will still be nourishing and delicious.  Also, when you roast a chicken, save the carcass/bones and freeze in freezer bag.  This way you will have bones available to you when you need to make bone broth. 

Happy Cooking!


  1. amazing post! i have been making kinda sorta bone broth for years and didn't realize it! love all your pictures too. btw i am your newest follower :0)

  2. Thanks Georgia!!! Such kind words, I appreciate it :) That's great that you've already been making Bone Broth and didn't even know it! Thanks for following!

  3. Great post. Thank you so much. Wonder if I could can this??? Any suggestions?

    1. Thanks :) I have never canned it before, I wish I had an answer for you. I always freeze it so it's always on hand.


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