I remember my grandmother telling me how when she was a little girl she used every part of the chicken. She raised them and ate their eggs. When it was time for that chicken to pass onto the big chicken coop in the sky, the feathers went into pillows.
She cooked and ate the meat. Chicken fat (schmaltz) was rendered and kept for frying. The liver was made into pate. The bones helped make healthy .
I thought that was the end of the chicken, but apparently I was wrong.
If you dry the bones and smash them to bits you get bone meal, an incredible soil nutrient that plants love.
Because most people are too busy to even think about deboning a chicken, we pay EXTRA for skinless and boneless chicken. Egad! We’ve thrown out the baby with the bath water.
Let’s consider the cost in lost nutrition of buying boneless chicken. Here’s the math.
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts can cost as much as $5.99/ lb. You cook those babies up, eat them and you are done. End of value. You got protein. And depending on whether that chicken was raised in a commercial farm or free range, you might also have gotten a bunch of antibiotics and hormones.
Let’s say that organic, free range chicken is going for $2.79/lb. You can get an entire cutup chicken for around $9. Make a fresh pot of chicken soup. Serve it as the main course for dinner for a family of four with a bit left over for lunch.
Reserve white breast meat to whip up chicken salad (shredded chicken, hard boiled egg, mayo and salt/pepper) for dinner the next night. Make a salads with greens, tomato, olives, cheese with chicken salad in the middle. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Serve with crusty bread.
But wait, there’s more. When you are deboning the chicken (after you have boiled it in the soup and are now taking out the bones and shredding it for the soup), take the boiled bones (remove any skin but keep the gristle) and put them in a small pot. Cover the bones with filtered water. Now slowly simmer for hours. All day would be good. Just make sure that you don’t run out of water. Keep the bones covered. Filter the broth and put in the fridge. The collagen from the bones should cause the broth to gel. Bone broth is nutritional gold since it is full of minerals which support the immune and digestive systems. Add it to rice or soups or sauces. Whatever will do well with a bit of liquid and a slight chicken flavor.
You’re not done yet. Now, take those bones and dry them by cooking them in a low temp oven (120 degrees) or microwave them. Now put the dried bones into a paper bag and pound at them with a hammer until they are crushed into bits. This is called “.” A vital nutrient which provides plants with phosphorus and calcium which Miracle Grow sells a 3-pound bag for $14.99.
Are you now starting to see the money going down the drain when you buy boneless, skinless chicken instead of a real chicken with bones and skin and nutrients? By the way, the chicken manufacturers are definitely NOT tossing out all that good stuff when they sell you the overpriced skinless and boneless stuff. They are using it in a hundred different ways including selling the chicken feet as a delicacy in Asia. They must be laughing all the way to the bank.
I don’t really think that you or I are going to start raising, wringing the neck of and de-feathering our own chickens, but let’s at least get the most nutritional value out of the chicken as we can get. Or, maybe you ARE going to raise your own chickens. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
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