Two Secrets to Fighting Winter Sickness

We just finished a pretty cold week here in the ADKs and there is a lot of sickness going around. Some families tell me they just keep passing the sickness around. Imagine every family room, classroom and office as a hot bed of germs. What can one do to bolster the immune system to defend against these germy invaders?

I will share two of my secret weapons with you. They are similar but different. Homemade bone broth and homemade meat broth. Most of today’s commercial soup is highly processed leaving very little nutritional value. Homemade is 1000% better, in my humble opinion.

BONE BROTH

Basically all you need are some bones from an animal that you would prepare for a meal. Its best to use hormone free, grass fed or wild caught beef, poultry, venison or fish bones. It’s even better if they have a little meat and fat left on them. Place your bones in a crock pot.  Add filtered water to cover the bones. Add about 2 TB of raw apple cider vinegar like Braggs brand. You can use sea salt and pepper if you like now but I like to add my sea salt right into my mug so I don’t miss any of those great sea minerals. Turn your crock pot to high and let simmer for 4-8 hours or leave on low for up to 24 hours. The longer you simmer the more time the vinegar has to leach minerals from the bones. When finished the bones will actually be brittle and may crumble in your hands. This is when you know you have a mineral rich broth. You can add veggies or veggie scraps like carrot tops, onion peels, or celery greens. Herbs like oregano, basil, parsley and thyme give a wonderful taste as well, however I like to add my herbs in the last few hours of cooking so they don’t make the broth too strong. When the broth has finished cooking, strain out all of the bones and veggies. Ladle your broth into mason jars or freezer containers. Let cool completely before screwing lids tight. Label and store. Broth lasts several weeks in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer. Drink broth in a mug or use in soups and recipes.

MEAT BROTH

Meat broth is basically the same procedure as above but you would use a whole chicken or very meaty bones from any animal you choose. Adding the skin, fat, joint bones and any organ meats will help with flavor and nutrients. This recipe yields an even more nutrient dense broth full of flavor, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals – all the things you need when you are fighting sickness. Drinking a mug of this broth with a good sprinkle of sea salt will sooth any sore throat, congested cough, headache and achy body and propel you toward full health.  You can adjust each recipe for pressure cookers and instant pots. Don’t be surprised if your cooled broth congeals like cold gravy. This means you have done it right and extracted the minerals and collagen from the joint bones!

Homemade broths have become very popular and research backs up the nutrient density.

Convance Laboratories in Wisconsin used long cooked bones from organically raised chickens, added some vegetables and found that 1 cup of the broth contained calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. These minerals were in a balanced profile meaning the overconsumption of one would not offset the effects of the other.  Another study found bone broth also included quite an array of wonderful amino acids. Amino acids are building blocks that give you strong bones and teeth, healthy skin, hair and nails, digestive support, brain calm, hormone balance, reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar and supports your immune system. Phew! Broth packs a punch!

The quality of bones you use determines the quality of your broth. Check with your local butcher for organic or grass fed. You could also visit your winter farmers market or check in with your hunter friends. You are bound to come across some great local products to use for broth.

Let me know how your recipe turns out! There is literally nothing better than sipping a mug of salty broth when you are sick. Stay warm and sip on!

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