Friday, November 8, 2013

The Magic of Bone Broth (2/3): Saving Money


Welcome to part two of the bone broth series!  If you haven't seen the first part yet, you can find it here. Today we're going to dig into another reason for learning how to make homemade bone broth: saving money!

I used to buy nothing but chicken breasts, and I bought chicken broth separately. As I got more into nutrition I kicked it up a notch by buying organic chicken breasts and broth...but I didn't really change what I was actually shopping for. Bone broth is what finally finally convinced me to make the switch to whole chickens; bone broth obviously requires bones, so shopping for chicken in pieces was no longer going to work!  

I think it was around this time that I tracked down a local source of pastured chicken, and so I just flat out had no more options...I had to buy whole chickens, or I had to ignore all the nutrition I had just learned.  :-) So I converted to whole chickens. I learned to filet off the breasts and freeze them separately for typical uses. (Actually, Rob learned to filet off the breasts and then I freeze them. I can't cut up a chicken to save my life.) The rest of the bird gets crockpotted and turned into ready-cooked meat for use in a myriad of recipes, and then the carcass gets turned into broth.

I won't lie, there are still days that I get frustrated at having to ration out the breasts for recipes that require them, and find dishes to use the rest of the chicken for, often in shredded form. It doesn't have to be shredded; you can just cook the chicken until you can pull the meat off in pieces big enough to dice, and use it in that form. Or you can roast the bird and do the same thing with it. Either way you have bones left to turn into broth.

I shred or dice the meat, freeze that in meal sized increments, and then turn the rest of the carcass into bone broth. Without the breasts I tend to get about 3-4 cups of meat off of one chicken, so I end up with two chickens breasts (one meal), four cups of meat (two meals) and a LOT of broth to use in multiple small ways or a couple big batches of soup (2 more meals).

I did the math once, and here's how it plays out if you buy all of these things separately and get comparable quality to the free range/organic birds I buy:


Chicken breasts (organic, which is what I buy): $6.99/lb.  
Fileted off a whole chicken: $3.50/lb.

Shredded cooked chicken from a whole bird: $1.11 per cup
Canned shredded cooked chicken: $10.80 per cup (5 oz. cans are pricey!)
Shredded store-bought chicken breasts: about $3.50 per cup

Chicken broth: $.74 per cup
Homemade: $.41 per cup


There's a drastic difference here in your overall expenditure. I realize that not everybody pays this much for your chicken, but the ratios of difference would still apply-- if you get your chicken for .99/lb. (do they still go for those prices?) the cost for each cup of meat and broth will be proportionately cheaper, too. Also, may I just point out-- if you throw away the bones and buy your broth, you're literally paying for your broth twice. You paid for that bone weight-- don't waste it!

I know that not everybody does or can afford to buy pastured chicken, and I'm not here to make you feel guilty about it. Anything you make from scratch is still going to be a step in the right direction, so I am not saying "don't bother making broth if you don't buy the perfect chicken to put into it". Use what you buy now, or what you would buy if you bought whole chickens.  :-) It's still a step in the right direction. My only caveat to this is that factory farmed chickens do not always have enough of the right nutrients in them to produce a rich, gelatinous broth. Again, this doesn't mean "don't try it"-- it just means keep that in mind and maybe you can work towards it in the future. If the chicken you use falls into this category, stir in some gelatin to augment what it does have to offer, pat yourself on the back for learning a new skill, and sleep easy knowing that you're awesome.  :-)

Click here to read the last part of the series: how to actually make bone broth! 

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4 comments :

  1. Thanks for this post! Bone broth is great :) I prefer mine made in a pressure cooker, it's so much quicker and tastes better to me. This is great information for people to start with and is the easiest thing people can make at home to improve their health.

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  2. Thanks for this post! Bone broth is great :) I prefer mine made in a pressure cooker, it's so much quicker and tastes better to me. This is great information for people to start with and is the easiest thing people can make at home to improve their health.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, pressure cooker, I should have interviewed you on how to do that and added it to part 3! Maybe I'll revise it at some point. :-)

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  3. I have been making my broth for a few months now and I love being able to get so many meals from one chicken! And the broth, oh wow! It is so rich and flavorful. I had always had a hard time finding a broth at the store that I actually liked the flavor.

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