You’re not feeling well. Stuffed up. Achy. As you lay in bed and start to feel hungry, what is the first food you think of? If you’re like a lot of people, it’s chicken soup. For generations, soup has been seen as nature’s (and grandma’s) medicine; particularly for colds, flus, and sore throats.
Why is that?
It’s not the chicken, noodles, or veggies that are packing the punch in that soup. It’s the stock.
Unfortunately, if you are using store bought canned or boxed stock, you are missing out on the myriad of benefits stock can provide for you and your family.
Traditionally prepared stock is high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also contains electrolytes and gelatin. The gelatin in stock aids in digestion, can treat intestinal disorders, allows the body to better use protein, and can help treat chronic disorders such as anemia, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, and even cancer.
Besides all the health benefits, one of the other great benefits of stock is that it is practically FREE. That’s right. One of the biggest complaints I hear about switching to a real food diet is that it is more expensive. That is not the case with nourishing stocks.
So here is how I make my chicken stock.
First, I roast a whole free-range chicken. Yes, it should be free-range (my next food post will be about how to chose meat and why). Coat it with olive oil and/or butter and your favorite spices and serve it for dinner. Save the bones. If you are not ready to make your stock the next day, put them in a freezer bag in your freezer for a later date.
For the weeks leading up to your stock preparing, save your veggie scraps. Carrot peels, onion ends and skins, celery leaves, zucchini ends, brocolli stalks. Any veggie scrap that isn’t rotted should be saved in a bag in your freezer as well.
In a large stock pot (or crock pot) put your chicken bones. Fill with water to cover the bones and add 1 T of apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 1 hour.
Throw your veggies in (if you don’t have scraps, you can cut up a whole onion, a few carrots, and some celery) and bring your stock to a boil. Let boil for 1/2 hour. Reduce to the lowest heat setting and let it simmer away for up to 12 hours. A half hour before you take it off the heat, add in a handful of parsley if you have it on hand.
Strain the stock and leave on the counter to come to room temperature before you stick it in the fridge. Throw away all the bones and veggie remnants.
I use my stock not only for soup, but to make rice or quinoa in place of water or when reheating food to add more moisture.