so what's so great about making your own broth? why not just buy broth from the grocery store? if you ever ask me these questions, ill slap you across the face and tell you to snap out of it! not only is homemade broth filled with much more complex flavors than the can of mass production could ever offer, its nutritional density is matchless. broths have been a staple in traditional societies around the world for centuries. before western society harmed the purity of these civilizations, these people instinctively understood the life giving nutrients in homemade broths. according to sally fallon, our modern science has proved that broth made properly with meat, bones, vegetables and herbs is loaded with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, gelatin and trace minerals. although there are lots of nifty supplements on the market today to receive these nutrients, consuming homemade broth is the easiest way for the human body to assimilate all this magic.
our modern lifestyles have robbed us of the goodness that comes from slow boiling a broth all day long on the stove. although broth from the store may seem like a great way to save time, or even sound healthful as it boasts "organic" or "low sodium" on the label, it will only be doing harm to the body in the long run. MSG has been used in foods in the U.S. since the fifties, when food companies discovered how to use it to produce a meat like flavor in foods, with out actually using meat. it is found in almost every store bought soup, stew and broth (not to mention all the crackers, chips, snack bars, boxed meals and frozen meals etc.). this is extremely dangerous for the customer, but profitable for the companies who can extract a meat flavor by just manipulating inexpensive proteins from grains and legumes, to trick the tongue into tasting meat like flavors in flavorless processed foods. MSG is usually disguised on the ingredient label as "spices," "natural flavoring," or "hydrolyzed proteins." making broth yourself is the only way to ensure this harmful substance is not sneaking its way into your body. if you are not familiar with MSG and it's dangers, here are some sites to help you gain more understanding:
the greatest thing about broth is that it doesn't require a specific recipe. there are endless possibilities of wonderful deep flavors just waiting to be born in your kitchen once you have the basic formula down. here are the basic steps i take to make a nourishing broth:
*i take my whole turkey or chicken (i don't like fish, so fish broth is a no go in our house, but by all means knock yourself out. i haven't made beef broth yet, but its certainly on my to do list!) and cut it loose from its packaging. while washing the little guy off in the sink, i take care to find the package of "giblets" and store it in a ziplock in the fridge until im ready to make the broth.
*at this point i prepare the bird to be roasted. i usually stuff the skin with butter and fresh herbs and lay the bird on top of a "roasting rack" of any vegetables i have on hand, including carrots, apples, onions, celery, broccoli, sweet potatoes... just follow your heart's desire:)
*when the meat is done roasting, my family and i enjoy fall off the bone tender meat along with vegetables that have soaked up the rich flavors of the marriage between the meat, fat and herbs:)
*the day after our feast, i place the bones in a large 12 quart stock pot, along with the giblets, any scraps of meat that we won't be eating as leftovers and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. (the vinegar draws minerals out of the bones.) i then cover it with water and let it sit for a half hour.
*while the vinegar is working to begin pulling minerals out of the bones, i prepare my vegetables. i usually use about eight carrots, six stalks of celery, one onion, one head of garlic and a bundle of parsley. all i do is wash the vegetables, trim off any bad spots and cut them in half. my mom swears that the skins of the onion and garlic add extra flavor, so i always leave them on.
*next i turn the heat on high as i add all my prepared vegetables to the pot. then i add about two tablespoons of sea salt, two or three bay leaves and a cinnamon stick. i learned on the food network that a cinnamon stick in broth adds depth of flavor:) you can't taste it in the broth, but it lends a hand in the background to meld flavors together.
*once everything is in, i add more water if necessary to reach the top inch of the pot. when the broth comes to a boil, i skim off the foam which is impurities floating to the top.
*finally i put the lid on, turn the heat between low and medium and let the broth develop into a nourishing miracle for at least the next six hours. i check on it occasionally and add more water if necessary.
*when it's done cooking, ill take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature. using a medium sized mesh strainer, i dip all the solids out of the broth.
*and now im left with delicious broth!
one turkey and three chickens later.....and this is just a portion of the broth i made this week! i already used some up making quinoa, mushroom soup and lentil soup. yum!
having broth on hand at all times, makes your cooking possibilities limitless. once my broth is done cooking, i like to divide it into two cup portions and store it in ziplock bags, labeled with what type of broth it is and the month and year it was made. if broth even lasted six months in my house, i suppose six months would be the longest i would feel comfortable keeping it in my freezer. whenever i cook beans or grains, i can just pull a bag out of the freezer to use as the liquid in the recipe and its ready to add deep flavor and nutrition to our dinner. when im feeling like a fancy upgrade to a meal, i know that i can always boil the broth down to a gourmet souce. when im feeling a sickness coming on i help my body regain strength by sipping on warm broth. and of course, on days when i go all out and make big pots of soup i always have broth to pull it all together with ease!
now is the perfect time to start loading your freezer up with broths as there are still plenty of long and dreary winter days ahead of us. get in the kitchen and experiment with meat and vegetables to find your winning combination!
not only is the week after christmas for broth making, but it's also the week for yummy raw chocolates! come back next week for this insanely delicious recipe!