November is here (and almost gone!) and even way out here on our little piece if paradise, the ick can get us. We get exposed when we meet up with friends, travel, and even just running errands as usual. I know, I know exposure is good! Your immune system is being strengthened! Really though, who is cheering on these biological facts when they are run down, and stuffed up with the cold or flu? So what is it about this time of year? I firmly believe that these viruses begin to take hold in the late fall for a few specific reasons. First, the days are getting shorter and we are getting less sunlight. Unless you live on the equator you fall victim to the waning of daylight in the fall. Even if you aren’t a human solar panel like me, less sun means less vitamin D. Then there is the fact that as the weather cools we may be less inclined to drink water all day like we all know we should. Now the kicker, nutrition has a way of slipping at this time of year, the garden is sleeping, good produce gets hard to come by, and we may start to lean on more empty calories. Even though I try to always eat healthy, my plate looks a little less fresh in the dead of winter. Ok, winter never gets that bad here in Tennessee, but Did I mention that I require lots of warmth and sunlight to function?
Ever since I started raising free range meat chickens, I have discovered a wonderful way to not only treat colds, flu, stomach bugs, aches and pains, etc… but actually strengthen your immune system to prevent them. This is my version of liquid gold (OK, colostrum is the REAL liquid gold, but here is a version for those of us who have weaned already). The golden goodness I speak of is bone broth. I came across this nutrient dense shot of pure goodness kind of by accident. I found a recipe for it when trying to figure out how to use the whole chicken. When you raise your own and are part of your food giving you the ultimate gift of it’s life (sorry vegan friends!!) you don’t have any desire to waste a bit. Once I made a batch I started researching all the amazing qualities it has, and also noticing the bolstering effect it had on our own immune systems. I have since created my own recipe that adds a few more super food veggies than most to enhance the overall nutritional value. I use my 18 quart roaster oven to make it a large batch. Feel free to leave out or add in according to your dietary needs or preferences. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week, or frozen or pressure canned for long term storage.
Bone Broth Recipe
Bones from 2-3 whole organic chickens (free range is best)
3 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
1 whole onion
3 cloves garlic
5-8 whole carrots
4 sticks celery plus leaves
¼ cup fresh parsley
2 TBSP Turmeric
Filtered Water (enough to cover ingredients)
*2 peeled chicken feet (optional)
Herbs and seasoning to taste (basil, oregano, thyme, peppercorns, and salt can be used fresh or dried and to suit your tastes)
First add bones and feet (if using) to the roaster oven. Next chop veggies into large chunks and add to roaster. Cover completely with water and add desired herbs, spices and salt and ACV. Bring to a hard boil, then reduce to simmer for 8-12 hours. You may need to skim debris off the top every hour or so and discard. Once your broth is done cooking, discard all solids and filter broth through a metal strainer lined with doubled cheese cloth. At this point you can refrigerate or freeze the broth. You may also choose to can the bone broth in your pressure canner according to the manufacturers directions. If you can it, let it cool completely and remove any fat from the top of the broth prior to canning.
*Chicken feet add great nutrients and texture to the broth but are totally optional. If you do use them make sure to peel them first. To peel, drop them into boiling water for 25-30 seconds then promptly dunk them in ice water. The skin comes right off, even the nails have a cap that comes off leaving a totally clean surface for your broth.