How about, all of the above?
Spring is in the air, my friends, and with spring cleaning and open windows and rushing out into slightly warmer temperatures* in less-than-usual clothing… OH, and with a hubby who frequents airports and other cities and comes in contact with a zillion people a day… that means, GERMS are in the air, too.
While we can usually boast about our hearty immune systems and hardy digestive systems to kill off any bugs we might consume (thanks to yours truly, the resident nutritional therapist keeping us both in tip-top shape, ahem!), wouldn’t you know it, the sniffles and sore throats somehow made their way through our household last week and kicked our little butts.
Enter the magic potion of all potions, my favorite thing to have on hand at all times for any given number of recipes, the great gut healer and digestion booster-extraordinaire, lovingly known to some families as Jewish penicillin, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:
By now you’ve probably heard about how good bone broth is for you, but do you know why? For starters, when bone broth is prepared properly (low & slow, with a dash of apple cider vinegar) it is insanely nutritious, full of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which the vinegar helps to draw from the bone, cartilage, and marrow of your carcass of choice. In addition, bone broth is rich in gelatin, which acts as an aid to digestion and has actually been used (successfully) in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, such as colitis and Crohn’s disease. Though gelatin isn’t a complete protein, it acts as a helper when it comes to digesting protein specifically, which is why it is extremely beneficial for those who have trouble with meat in their diets… who am I kidding, that pretty much means it’s good for anyone who has meat in their diet! In addition to gelatin, other important ingredients in your bone broth include cartilage (which has been used in the treatment of cancer and bone disorders) and collagen (used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other joint ailments). AAAND modern research has confirmed that bone broths actually help prevent and lessen the severity of infectious diseases! Phew, good thing I made some! Just two mugs later, I can feel my sore throat going away as I type!
Bone broth is a staple in my freezer, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Whether you search on Google or Pinterest, you’re bound to find a dozen or more variations on a recipe, but it doesn’t have to be rocket science, people. I tried a few different recipes the first few times I made it and now, I just make my own very basic version which goes a little something like this:
STEP ONE: Take a couple chicken carcasses out of your freezer. (Because now you know to save/freeze the carcass when you cook a whole chicken, or to save the bones when you cook bone-in chicken parts. Of course it’s best if you’re using a free-range, organic chicken, but I feel like that goes without saying. Also, you can really use any bones, beef, pork, chicken, it doesn’t matter – they all work and they’re all delicious in their own way).
STEP TWO: Throw the chicken carcasses, skin, random parts and all, into your slow cooker and cover them with water, making sure they’re fully submerged.
STEP THREE: Add a tablespoon or two of organic apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs. The vinegar is what helps draw the minerals from the bone to give your broth super magical healing powers – true story).
STEP FOUR: Put the lid on and set that bad boy to cook on low for up to 24 hours (or more, go for it. Eight hours minimum, but you really can’t overcook this stuff. I like to throw a crock pot together after dinner and set it for 20 hours or so… it will be ready in time for dinner the next night).
And there you have it. How simple is that? Somewhere toward the end I like to salt my broth, though some people prefer not to, or to salt it when they use it. Other recipes call for garlic or other aromatics like carrots and celery, but I find my broth tastes best just plain and simple. If I want to make chicken soup with it later, I can add whatever I want at that point. Once I strain out the bones and bits, I like to store my broth in mason jars in the freezer – the jars make for perfect portions whether I’m thawing and heating the broth to split between two mugs or whether I’m using it for a recipe.
Enjoy your comforting cup of broth and stay healthy this spring!
*Slightly warmer temperatures? You must think I’m joking. No jokes here, kids! We made the move from balmy South Florida to South Carolina almost a month ago and let’s just say… hitting the 70s this past week was a welcome heat wave in comparison to the 40s-50s for which we had to break out the sweaters when we arrived! Adios Miami, and… hey y’all, welcome to the Lowcountry! ;)
Highly recommended resources: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD