It’s no coincidence that chicken soup is a cure-all in many traditional cuisines. When it comes to supporting healthy mineral balance for pregnancy, breastfeeding and postnatal recovery, homemade broth is unparalleled. Highly absorbable nutrients from the bones and vegetables infuse the broth to deeply nourish, restore, and hydrate. For these reasons, broth has always been an essential component of the Dia nutrition plan. In the past year or so, broth has enjoyed a surge in status and popularity. Sure, you can pay a small fortune for a cup of steaming broth at a gourmet health bar in Manhattan… or you can make an entire pot at virtually no cost, with ‘leftovers’ from your fridge. Nothing beats homemade broth for nutritional quality and frugality, but many people find the prospect of actually making a pot rather intimidating. You can do it!! It’s far easier than you might imagine, and a simmering pot on the stove creates a wonderfully cozy atmosphere this time of year.

Step 1 Roast a chicken

Here’s my recipe for easy roast chicken. Or… time-saving hack: buy a rotisserie chickenHaha! But seriously. This is a great option. In either case, whether you roasted it yourself or bought a rotisserie chicken, after the meat is gone, you’re left with the bones, cartilage, etc. These are profoundly nourishing bits that release their nutrients into the water when simmered for several hours. You can either throw the bones in a sealed bag and freeze them until you’re ready to make broth, or you can make a pot as soon as you’ve finished the meat. By the way, you can make broth with any kind of bones. I’ve made lamb broth, beef broth, fish broth, and chicken broth. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll find yourself throwing all bones into the freezer to have on hand whenever you get the urge to make broth. Think you’ll never get that urge? You might be surprised…

Step 2: Make broth.

Here’s my homemade broth recipe from the Dia postnatal nutrition guide:

Ingredients:

  • Stewing hen or animal bones (leftover from roasted chicken or bone-in cuts of meat)
  • 1-2 tablespoons vinegar (any variety, but I prefer apple cider vinegar)
  • 1-2 onions (the vegetables can also be the ends/skins/leftover bits you wouldn’t otherwise use!)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme or herb of choice
  • water to fill pot within ½ inch of the brim
  • fresh parsley (optional)
  • sea salt (1 teaspoon per quart of broth)

Directions: Place bones in a large kettle or slow cooker and cover with water. Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar. Allow bones to soak in the water-vinegar solution at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. This initiates de-mineralization of the bones to enrich the broth with calcium, potassium and magnesium. While the bones are soaking, prep vegetables and add them to the kettle along with the dried herbs. Fill the pot with water until contents are ½ inch shy of the brim. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a light simmer. Allow to simmer 6-24 hours. The longer the broth simmers, the more nutrient-dense it will be. After removing from heat, add a bunch of fresh parsley (optional) and steep for 10 minutes. Allow broth to cool. Strain and pour the liquid into quart-size jars. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt for each quart of liquid. This step is vital to ensure adequate sodium per cup of broth. Refrigerate. When chilled, skim any fat off the top of the broth before using. Consume refrigerated broth within 7-10 days or freeze to store long-term.

So there you go! My challenge to you: make homemade broth once. Just do it. Then you’ll experience for yourself how simple, delicious and enjoyable it can be. Soon you’ll find yourself making it regularly, and coaching friends and family on making their own broth.

Coming soon: an article about how to incorporate broth into your meals and snacks. Again, easier than you might think. Are you sensing a pattern here?

By Leah Keller, Creator of The Dia Method. Learn more about Leah at leahkeller.com.