Normally when I think of making homemade broth, I think of the fall or winter months. The main reason is that it often requires a lot of heat, not only for cooking the broth, but also canning it. Or, I just don’t have room in the freezer for everything I want to do. Sounds familiar?
However, I have some good news! If you are looking for a really good broth, but don’t feel like canning or don’t have room in the freezer to store it, those steps are completely unnecessary. This particular method doesn’t make a large batch. But, because it’s so easy to do, you can make a small batch each time you cook up a chicken, or other poultry or meat of your choice.
While you can use this method for other poultry and meats, I am going to focus on chicken for this article. Not only do I love a good chicken broth, but there are many added benefits to it, other than flavor.
Chicken Broth – Good for the Soul and Body
I’m sure you all have heard someone recommend a bowl of chicken soup when you are not feeling well. Or, perhaps you are the one often suggesting it to others when they are sick. Turns out, it’s not just a myth or a kind gesture.
Chicken is filled with necessary nutrients and health benefits, including helping to build the immune system. The fat in chicken is also a big part of the healthy benefits, not just the bones and meat.
So, when some of you might naturally want to cut off the fat before cooking it, don’t. You will find out later in the article, that the fat plays another very important role for this method of preserving homemade broth. But, for now let’s look closer at the healthy benefits of a good bone broth.
Bone broths are broths made from poultry or meat with the bones left in while cooking. They are dense with nutrients, steeped with rich flavor, easy to digest, and have natural healing elements instilled. In addition to the bones, the skin, marrow, ligaments, and tendons, they also contain nutrients, such as collagen, glycine, proline and glutamine.
Minerals that are in a good homemade bone-in broth include Magnesium, Calcium and Phosphorus.
They also contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which are compounds found in expensive supplements that help to reduce pain and inflammation from ailments, such as arthritis and respiratory issues, such as asthma.
So, imagine all the nutrients that are simmering into a healthy broth when you cook a whole chicken.
But, enough about all the healthy benefits. Let’s get to making a delicious, easy, and beneficial broth that can be stored for up to 6 months without the work of canning or freezing.
The actual supplies you will need can vary, depending on personal choices. But the list is fairly simple:
- Whole Chicken – pieces also can be used, as long as the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments are still in place. The fattier the bird, the better.
- Seasonings – I used my go-to favorite, which is basic salt, pepper, and garlic (about 2 large cloves). Garlic is also healthy, by the way.
- Veggies – Carrots, celery, and onion are a good addition for flavor. I used just onion this time.
- Cooking vessel – I used a slow cooker and let it cook all day. But, you could also cook it in a traditional oven.
- Water – This is optional, but will provide more broth. I used about 1 cup.
- Jars with lids.
The process is just about as easy as making the list above.
I placed the whole chicken into the slow cooker. I didn’t even clean it. That might be controversial still for some of you. But studies now show that cleaning a chicken is less healthy than not cleaning it.
Of course, if you are using a chicken from your own backyard, do as you normally would for prep. I just bought one from the store. If you are adding veggies, place the chicken on top of them in the cooking vessel.Season the bird as you like. I happen to like a lot of black pepper and garlic, in addition to salt.If you are using a slow cooker, set it on low and let it cook until it’s done and tender. I typically let it go for 5-6 hours.Once the chicken is done, remove it carefully from the pot, and put it aside to use as you please. If it’s anything like mine, you will have to remove it in pieces as it falls apart!Pour the juices left in the pot through a strainer, including the rendered fat.After it has been strained, start pouring the broth into jars, again, including the rendered fat.
Let the jars sit, and the fat will rise to the top.
After it cools, there should be a good ½” of fat that has settled at the top and firmed up. DON’T REMOVE IT.
After it cools, place the jars in the refrigerator.The layer of fat you see sitting at the top will act as a sealant for the broth, and will prevent air from getting in, as long as it remains undisturbed. And, if it remains undisturbed, it should last in the refrigerator for about 6 months.
If the layer of fat is broken at any point, it should still stay good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.When it comes to using the broth, you can carefully remove the layer of fat, and can set that fat aside for future use in frying foods such as potatoes or other veggies.
My broth won’t last 6 months though, because I use it quite often. But, that’s OK, because I cook chicken quite often too, and this is so easy to do!
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