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Medicines of the Grandmothers Stocks, Broths, and Soup

by Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs

This morning I awoke and it was cold. I heat my home with a wood stove, so sleeping 8 hours means that you wake up to a chilly house. My wool comforter made by the local woolen mill keeps me very warm at night, yet when I emerge from under the covers, I have two goals.

1.To reignite the woodstove

2. To make something warm to drink

I often make a cup of tea, but some mornings only a cup of broth will do.  I was inspired a number of years ago when I attended a Weston A. Price Foundation Conference to begin incorporating broth into my breakfast routine. At the conference, they served broth for breakfast. It was winter and I will never forget how satisfying that morning cup of broth was. I realized that by stereotyping broth as an afternoon or evening food, I was
missing out on an incredibly special morning opportunity. Of course, I still incorporate broth into my winter stews and soups, but I now have expanded my horizons and added it to my homestead breakfast list!

Below are a few of my favorite recipes for broth. Broth can be made and frozen for future use.

Soup stocks are incredibly healthy, nutrient-dense, and serve as quintessential comfort food on a cold day. Soup stock has a long history as a nourishing and healing food. While the village herbalists and grandmothers have always known the healing power of soup stock and chicken soup, it took until 2000 for CNN headlines to announce: Chicken soup is medicine, US scientists confirm. Glad they caught up.

How to Make Soup Stock: 3 Easy Broth Recipes

Stocks and broths are nutrient-dense. Bone broth contains gelatin, which is healing to the digestive system and restorative to joint health. They contain minerals and amino acids. They are the medicine that our mothers and grandmothers give us when we do not feel well. There is no doubt that homemade soup and soup stock is healthy, tastes good, and is easy to make.  
The following are recipes that serve as guidelines. I say guidelines, as I am a scratch cook, which means that I add what I have. I love to add new herbs, spices, vegetables, and animals’ parts. A couple of years ago I began adding eggshells. It means the stock that I make is always new and interesting. I often add herbs, spices and mushrooms not only for flavor but to increase the nutrient density of the stock.
Vegetable Stock
Place the chopped vegetables, herbs, and spices into a crockpot or stockpot. I like a crockpot, as it can be left unattended for long periods of time. Add enough cold water to cover the vegetables. Simmer for approximately 24 hours. Many people make vegetable stock from scraps such as peels and stems. If you use vegetable scraps to make your stock, you will need to strain them from the stock and discard them when finished. And
to note, when you boil vegetables for a meal, a lot of their flavor and nutrients leach out into the water.

Chicken or Turkey Stock
Place chicken or turkey bones, spare meat, vegetable scraps, herbs, and spices into a stockpot or slow cooker. If you have access to the feet of the animal you will want to add them, as this will add gelatin to the broth for a thick, rich, highly nutritious broth. Add enough cold water to cover the vegetables and bones. Simmer for 24 hours. Foam will form on the surface of the stock as it simmers. Use a spoon, or ladle, to skim it off.
Strain the bones and vegetable scraps from the stock and discard them.
Beef Stock
Begin by baking the beef soup bones in the oven at 450 degrees for half an hour or until nicely browned. If you have access to oxtail bones you will want to add them, as this will add gelatin. As with chicken or turkey broth, the gelatin will create a thick nutritious broth.  Put the beef bones, spare meat, vegetable scraps, herbs, and spices into a stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover the vegetables and bones. Simmer for approximately 24 hours. Foam will form on the surface of the beef stock as it simmers. Use a spoon, or ladle, to skim it off. Strain the bones and vegetable scraps from the stock and discard them.

*For bone broth you will want to place your stock in the refrigerator for 8 hours in order to separate the fat and for the broth to gel. The best broth will be quite gelatinous.

*Adding herbs to any of these broths will also increase their nutrient density. I often add seaweed, burdock, astragalus, mushrooms, lovage, alfalfa, nettle, and whatever else happens to be nearby. There is no limit to what you can add to your stocks! Have fun!

Seaweed added to stock contributes much-needed trace minerals.
Gelatin extracted from bones is a nutritious source of protein as well as collagen, calcium, minerals, and the amino acids proline and glycine.
Stock made from poultry or other bones increases endurance and strengthens the immune system and veins, arteries, muscles, tendons, skin, and bones. It also soothes and heals the gastrointestinal tract and is thus a potent medicine for people suffering from food sensitivities and digestive or bowel problems. All stock provides an easily assimilable form of vitamins and minerals.
Using Your Stock
You can use the stock immediately as a base for soup, or you can freeze it and begin making your soup on another day. If you freeze the soup stock, leave a bit of space in the top of the container for expansion. It is a good idea to freeze the stock into the portion size that works best for you. A single cup of stock can be warmed on a cold day for an instant meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tossing in leftover meat and vegetables from the refrigerator creates a wonderful meal. Adding cream, pureed vegetables, starch, or flour can thicken soup stock. I also cook rice and other grains in soup stock for added nutrition and flavor. This is a very creative process and a great way to enjoy leftovers in a new and refreshing form.

May the stock be with you during these cold winter days.

3 Comments for : Medicines of the Grandmothers Stocks, Broths, and Soup

    • Sue Markwardt
    • February 24, 2021

    It is always a treat to receive an updated posting of yours, Linda. I hope you can do a “Foliage To Table” outing as you did several years ago outside of Jefferson. Also miss your classes at Olbrich re topical remedies and herbal remedies. Always interesting and fun.

    • Sharon Hoglund
    • March 14, 2021

    Hi Linda, Thank you so much for sharing! The past couple months I have been struggling with quite a few health issues. Unfortunately, many of my organ systems have been impacted as I have a syndrome called Ehlers-danlos. Ehlers-danlos syndrome is a connective tissue disorder, collagen supplements are not something that is of value to us our bodies do not have the ability to process or utilize it appropriately like a “normal” person would be able to. However, I was lucky enough to connect with a deer processor in the area who was willing to give me some deer bones to use to make venison broth!!! I am still recovering from brain surgery and at the time it was very fresh, I would use my seated walker to the best of my ability to do what I could and grab a family member when I wasn’t able to plug along any further. Thankfully there are 5 of us, we have 3 pre-teens in the home as well! I notice you had mentioned seaweed, I keep kelp on hand as I use it in the bathtub as a source of iodine and it also gives me a sense of being in the ocean at times! Of course, friends and family think I’m nuts but I absolutely love it! I hope to someday find a group that I can share these tips with who appreciate it! I appreciate you! I do hope that you release your cookbook soon, I would love some ideas to bring to my kitchen and my health! Sending many positive vibes your way:) Sharon

    • Debbie Baker
    • April 12, 2021

    Sounds delicious. I usually make my own chicken soup from scratch but I will start cooking longer to make it a bone broth.

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