GAPS for Beginners Series: Bone Broth

Bone broth is an integral part of the GAPS program. In addition to providing valuable, easily digestible nutrients, broth soothes and heals the gut lining. People on GAPS should consume broth every day. I like to eat my broth in soups, but you can also use it to cook meats or vegetables, make sauces, or even just drink it on its own with a meal.

If you’re contemplating GAPS, I recommend incorporating broth into your kitchen routine as early as you are able. Even if you already make broth now, you’ll probably need to increase the frequency in order to have enough for GAPS. If you don’t think you need to go on the GAPS diet, regularly consuming broth is still a valuable habit that offers benefits for everyone’s health.

Broth is one of those foods that you must make at home. Store-bought broth is a pale imitation of homemade broth and cannot be used for the GAPS diet. Fortunately, making broth is a simple kitchen task.

There are many different variations on how to make broth. I recommend experimenting a bit to find the method you like best. I will share my favorite methods for making chicken broth. I practice two basic variations: one for broth made with raw chickens and the other for broth made with previously cooked chicken carcasses.

 

Using raw chickens:

Ingredients:

1 or 2 raw chickens (I like using stewing hens)

Filtered water

Method:

Put your chickens into a large stock pot and cover with filtered water. Depending on how concentrated you want your stock, you can fill the pot to the top or only put enough water in to cover the chickens.

Turn the heat to high and allow the water to come to a boil.

Skim off any scum that rises to the top of the pot.

Turn the heat down so that the water is barely simmering. Cover with a lid.

Allow the chickens to cook until the meat is cooked through. For a roasting hen or broiler, this will probably take one or two hours. I cook stewing hens for 6 to 12 hours to make sure they’re tender.

After the meat is cooked to your liking, remove the chickens from the pot and allow them to cool enough that you can remove the meat. Take all the meat off the bones and return the bones to the pot. Store the chicken meat in the fridge for use in soups or other recipes.

Bring the pot back to a boil, then turn the temperature down so it is barely simmering again. Cover with a lid.

Check the broth periodically to make sure it is simmering at the proper temperature. If you put a smaller amount of water in your pot, also check to make sure that there is always enough water to cover your bones.

Continue to cook the broth for up to 24 hours (including the time spent cooking the meat).  A longer cooking time makes more flavorful broth and extracts more nutrition from the bones. When your broth is done cooking, turn off the heat and allow your broth to cool a bit, then strain it into another pot to remove the bones.

Pour the broth into heat-safe containers and store in the fridge. If you’re not going to eat the broth within five days or so, pour it into freezer-safe containers and store in the freezer.

 

Using chicken carcasses from previously cooked chickens:

Ingredients:

1 to 2 chicken carcasses

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Filtered water

Method:

Put your chicken carcasses into a large stock pot and cover with filtered water. Depending on how concentrated you want your stock, you can fill the pot to the top or only put enough water in to cover the chickens.

Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the pot. This will help remove minerals from the bones. Allow the pot to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Bring the pot to a boil and remove any scum that rises to the top.

Turn the heat down so that the water is just barely simmering. Cover with a lid.

Check the broth periodically to make sure it is simmering at the proper temperature. If you put a smaller amount of water in your pot, also check to make sure that there is always enough water to cover your bones.

Cook the broth for up to 24 hours. A longer cooking time makes more flavorful broth and extracts more nutrition from the bones. When your broth is done cooking, turn off the heat and allow your broth to cool a bit, then strain it into another pot to remove the bones.

Pour the broth into heat-safe containers and store in the fridge. If you’re not going to eat the broth within five days or so, pour it into freezer-safe containers and store in the freezer.

 

Notes:

This broth recipe is very basic. I do not add vegetables to my broth, but by all means feel free to do so if you’d like. I skip the vegetables because I nearly always use my broth to make soups that contain vegetables, so I figure I’m getting the vegetable nutrients by the time I eat the broth anyway. Vegetables can improve the taste of your broth but I’m always pleased with the way mine comes out with just bones.

After making your first batch of broth you can reuse the bones to make a second batch. If I have time I like to do this but I don’t always bother. The second batch of broth is thinner but by cooking it down some I get flavorful broth that’s still good for soup. You can read more about reusing your bones here.

This post is shared at Real Food Wednesday and the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up

Do you make broth? How do you like to eat it?

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5 Responses to GAPS for Beginners Series: Bone Broth

  1. Janis says:

    I’ve never heard of reusing bones for multiple batches of broth. I’m amazed! I have beef stock cooking, and I’ll definitely try a second batch.

  2. Wendy says:

    Sorry could you clarify this? Do you mean you RE-USE the previously boiled carcuss that you made broth from…

    or did you mean that if you don’t have time to make the broth when you cook a chicken, just put the carcass in the freezer until you have time?

    thanks

    ps….I have always put my bones/carcass in the slow cooker on high, then turn down on low for 24 hours ;-) Then I don’t worry about leaving the stove on ;-)

    • Meghan says:

      Yes, I reuse the previously boiled carcass that I just made broth from. If you click on the link in that paragraph it will take you to a whole post about the details of reusing your bones.

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