A couple of years ago, I got stomach flu. For the first time ever. Everyone around me got it as well – including some home daycare kids I took care of at that time. Also, it was a couple of days before Christmas. It was so bad, I did not want to experience it again. And I haven’t (and my family as well) – so far!! I think it might be thanks to all the homemade broth we have been making, almost every month (especially during fall and winter). You see, homemade broth, especially if you make it with such parts as chicken legs and chicken necks, contains gelatin which helps coat the digestive tract and might prevents gastroenteritis. Basically, the broth acts as a fuel to help strengthen the intestinal walls! Plus, the minerals like calcium and magnesium from the broth are really easily absorbed by the body – why spend lots of money on supplements that you not sure are working?
And it is so simple to make your own homemade chicken broth. It is actually pretty forgiving – I just basically through everything in a pot.
- a crock pot
- a chicken carcass from roasted chicken OR simply some chicken necks and/or legs (I buy these at St.Jacob’s Market in Waterloo)
- some salt, pepper, garlic, carrots, celery tops, garlic cloves, onion, bay leaf
- a tablespoon of vinegar (this will help draw out minerals from the bones)
- water (filtered)
Put the chicken parts into the crock pot. Add about tablespoon (or to taste) of salt, a few peppercorns, a couple of diced carrots, some celery tops (I save celery tops in the Ziploc bag in freezer to use for broth). Add vinegar, a couple of garlic cloves, and half an onion with skin on (skin will give more color to the broth).
Cover the chicken parts and rest of the ingredients with water.
Put crock pot on low and cook all day or overnight. I love to cook it overnight and wake up to the smell of this healing, nourishing concoction.
Strain the broth in a metal sieve. Once it cools down, put it in the fridge, and when it becomes cool, the fat will appear on the top. You can remove it with a spoon.
How do you store broth? Well, I just put some in 1 L glass jars (from honey I buy at the market) and freeze for later. The rest, it can keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days. I use it to make soups, cook rice and other grains with it (instead of water), and sometimes just heat it up and drink it.
For breastfeeding moms, broth can support milk production. Make sure to not drink it every day though (only a couple of times a week) as it might keep your baby awake.
Happy cooking and healthy holiday season!!
Marina, holistic nutritionist and personal chef
photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbplusjessie/4585155147/