As the weather cools you’ll find people lined up in New York City’s East Village at Brodo’s carryout window to purchase the latest fad for health.  They’re queued up for . . . broth?

So are there really health benefits in bone broth?

Properly prepared, bone broth is extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes which are easy to assimilate into the body.

The gelatin in bone broth can heal and seal your gut and is a great aid to digestion. It is used to treat many intestinal disorders including colitis and Crohn’s disease. Gelatin also acts as a protein sparer, allowing the body to more fully utilize the complete proteins that are taken in.

Research has shown that chicken broth helps prevent and mitigate colds and viruses.

A reduction in joint pain and inflammation can be attributed to the chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage in bone broth.

Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine are plentiful in bone broth and have anti-inflammatory effects. Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better.

Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation.

This broth also promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth.

How do you make this wonderful, magical elixir?

Chicken Broth

1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings*
gizzards from one chicken (optional)
2-4 chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley

*Note: Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. Cut the chicken into several pieces. Place all chicken parts in a large stainless steel pot with water (add more water if necessary to cover chicken) and vinegar. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Add vegetables except parsley; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 12 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove chicken with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as soup, chicken salad, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.
Beef Broth

about 4 pounds beef marrow and knuckle bones

1 calves foot, cut into pieces (optional)
3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones
6 or more quarts cold filtered water
1/2 cup vinegar
3 onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
1 teaspoon peppercorns
l bunch parsley

Note: for maximal health benefits use bones from hormone and antibiotic-free, pasture-raised cows

Place the knuckle and marrow bones and optional calves foot in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water. Let stand for one hour. Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees in the oven. When well browned, add to the pot. Pour a little water into the roasting pan and stir, loosening all the brown bits. Add this liquid to the pot. Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones. Bring to a boil. Skim the scum. After you have skimmed, add vegetables, thyme and peppercorns. Return to boil; then reduce heat. Simmer stock for at least 12 and as long as 72 hours. Just before finishing, add the parsley and simmer another 10 minutes. You will now have a pot of rather repulsive-looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material. It doesn’t even smell particularly good. But don’t despair. After straining you will have a delicious and nourishing clear broth.

Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a few large bowls. Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top. Transfer to smaller containers and to the freezer for long-term storage.

Bone broth SHOULD be very gelatinous when chilled. It will become liquid when warmed.

To make broth with your Thanksgiving turkey carcass put the carcass, skin and other leftover scraps, and pan juices (if you have any left) in a big pot; cover with water and add vinegar. Then follow the instructions for making chicken broth.

Now that you’ve got this wonderful bone broth, what do you do with it?

  1.  Season it (think scallions,ginger, garlic, and salt; chili oil; truffle oil; or whatever appeals to you), warm it by the cup and drink it.
  2. Make soup!