Don’t throw your turkey bones out! Keep them to make “bone broth” or “bone stock”! Why? Lots of reasons, the main one of which is that consuming the nutrient rich broth or soup can make a big impact on the integrity of your joints, bones and health in general.
We are all familiar with chicken soup. Most of us have forgotten the age old way of preparing it before the convenience of canned or pre-packaged soups – from real poultry bones! While these quicker to prepare soups have become the norm, they are not as healthy. Real chicken soup is not only densely saturated with multiple nutrients, but is pretty easy to make. Simply roast your turkey (or chicken) as usual, eat the meat, then throw the bones into a large pan, cover with water and simmer. If all the meat is gleaned off the bones before cooking, it is considered broth. If much of the meat is still left on, including the skin, it is more like a stock. Chicken soup was in the past used as “water” when making rice or cooking vegetables, or to consume when sick. Now we use it as a remedy for helping to heal joints, bones, help with fevers or for a myriad of conditions.
Broth/stock/soup (hereafter referred to as “bone broth”) from bones carries many micronutrients that are essentially “pre-digested”. They are easy to assimilate and even the most sensitive system and food resistant kids usually do well with it. Salt it with good sea salt of course. The gelatin/collagen in the joints helps with our own collagen. Collagen helps keep our joints intact, helps with bone and vascular integrity and is an essential component of many tissues in the body. Collagen integrity is essential in slowing the effects of aging and keeping the tone in the skin. It is responsible for healing and repair of most tissues in the body. It has been found that eating collagen as food helps restore collagen in the body, helping the body heal itself. More and more companies are using collagen in anti-aging products and doctors are using collagen for medical and cosmetic purposes.
If that was all it did for you, I’d say “why bother – get it in a pill”. But what has been found is that bone broth contains the amino acids, the minerals and the fats that are essential for pulling the minerals into the bones and tissue. If you eat the skin, you have elements that help heal skin. When you eat (or make a broth of) bones, you get the minerals to build bones and other tissues. The marrow helps immune function. Joints and spine help repair or strengthen joints. When you’re sick, it supplies all the nutrients you need to help you to heal, without the digestive burden (that detracts from the immune system) that occurs when you eat a meal.
Simmer 2-4 hours if needing to be consumed that day. Best is 2-4 days (in a crockpot), cooled and put in Ziplock bags and frozen. Drinking a cup a day can have a wonderful impact on your health and a good sleeping routine at the end of a busy day.
Part II - How to Make a Mineral-Rich Broth from your Turkey Bones
In the previous article we discussed the wonderful, health-building benefits of the broth acquired from your turkey bones. Originally just called “chicken soup” and used for a myriad of health conditions, the benefits and use of these broths is enjoying a resurgence. Now referred to as “Bone Broth” or “Bone Stock”, it can be found at upscale and specialty restaurants. Even the marrow is served with a tiny spoon as a delicacy in many restaurants around the world, including in the U.S. And, it is becoming increasingly more popular with mothers and others desiring to get more nutrients into their families bellies.
After enjoying your Thanksgiving turkey, pull all the meat off, place all the bones in a large pot, cover with water and simmer. 2 hours for a quick meal (least nutrient dense way), but 2 days is the most popular way. Many, concerned about leaving it on a stove for that long use a crock pot set on low. 4 days brings the most nutrients. Some suggest adding some vinegar to pull more minerals out. With the 4 day version, after 2 days drain off the broth and refrigerate it. Then return the bones to the pan, cover with water again and cook another 2 days. Drain that broth and combine it with the first batch. Cool (until it can safely be put into a Ziploc baggie – but not so cool that the fat congeals or hardens). Do not strain the fat off as it is needed to pull the minerals into the joints and other tissues and support healing when sick. Freeze it. Then when sick, take it out of the freezer, defrost and drink warmed on the stove (not microwaved). Oh – I almost forgot – don’t forget to salt it to taste first. That’s important. Use a good quality salt like Real Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt.
You can do this with any bones. Beef bones and chicken bones are the most popular, as is turkey around the holidays. Lamb is particularly healing and so are fish bones. They can be combined. You can also save bones from each meal: save in a gallon Ziploc bag, and freeze. When the bag is full you can make your broth.
The bones can be used raw or after being cooked. You can use the entire chicken or part of animal – skin, muscle, bones and all (that is referred to as stock). You can add veggies, garlic, onion, spices – anything you want. When sick, drink just the broth, but eating the whole thing with lots of wonderful veggies added is a good daily habit and sure to help your health!
© 2015 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.
Doctor of Oriental Medicine
Doctor of Naturopathy