Why is Using Bones in Your Soup Important?

Chicken broth and ingredients on the table close-up. horizontal

When we were kids and my grandmother was making soup, she would take meat or chicken bones and boil them for hours with favorite vegetables.  The house smelled great on those Friday afternoons when Grandma was brewing her chicken soup for our Friday night dinners with family.  No one even thought of getting a box of manufactured broth from the store, well, couldn’t, in fact.

Whenever someone was sick in our family, chicken soup was the cure.  Tradition tells us that bone broth is nourishing.  According to Sally Fallon Morell, the author of “Nourishing Broth”, broth can give our bones strength and flexibility, our joints cushion and resilience, and our skin a more youthful appearance.  But there has been stories of better health as well.

Broth contains collagen dissolved not only from the bone itself but also from the attached skin and cartilage.  The abundance of collagen supports many areas including heart health, digestion, and overall disease prevention.  With osteoporosis, a threat many of us over the age of 50, the value of bone broth is believed to be helpful.  Also, one of the common amino acids in broth is glutamine.  It is used in the biosynthesis of protein, and in times of stress, the body’s need increases.  It’s presence in broth is one explanation why broth can help turn around irritability or mood swings.  It can help people calm down and sleep better.

Dr. John F. Prudden, born in the early 20th century, found that cartilage had a powerful and consistently positive effect on wound healing, arthritis, cancer and other diseases.  In 1995, he was the recipient of the Linus Pauling Scientist of the Year Award for increase knowledge and information in the field of nutrition and cancer.

Sally Fallon Morell, in her book “Nourishing Broth” recommends 1 cup of broth per day in soups, stews, sauces, gravies, or just in a mug for prevention and long-term health.  At Mollie Stone’s, we have  everything you need to make the most nutritious soups, for both chicken and beef based broths.  My favorite recipe is from Grandma’s kitchen.:

Chicken Soup

(This is Grandma’s recipe with some added tips I learned from Sally Morell’s book)

In a large stock pot:
A whole Rosie Chicken with back and neck (and any other chicken bones you may have saved)
2 TBS Cider Vinegar (this helps extract minerals from bones and vegetables)
Fill the pot with enough water to completely cover the chicken.
Let stand for 30-60 minutes.
Afterwards, simmer for an hour or so and skim any fat that rises to the top.

Then add your favorite vegetables, chopped:
Only 3 are essential:  Carrots (2-3), Celery (2), Yellow Onion (2)

(I discovered that adding a green pepper, that Grandma would have never done, adds a wonderful flavor and can also be substituted for the onion if someone happens to be allergic to onions)

Add Spices:
½ tsp Tarragon
2 tsp salt
2 bay leafs
2 tsp black peppercorns (much better than ground!)
½ tsp Thyme

Cook at a simmer for a minimum of 5 hours with the lid askew.

Once the soup has cooled, take the chicken bones out of the broth, cleaning the meat off and putting small pieces back into the pot.

I serve this soup for several days, freezing some or draining some of the broth to use in other dishes.

Short Cut Secrets:
When I’m in a hurry and want to get a jump start, I buy a rotisserie Rosie chicken, take some of the meat off for sandwiches, and then use the carcass for a soup, adding any other bones I’ve saved in the freezer.

When I was having a large crowd for dinner I bought some extra bone broth at the store in jars (in the freezer area) and added it to my leftover chicken soup.

Lastly, check out Sally Morell’s Book “Nourishing Broth” that should be in all our stores.

Here’s to your good health!