Chicken soup for the (body and) soul: Why broth makes the best medicine
Long before Big Pharma began cooking up side-effect laden drugs, Grandma was in the kitchen cooking up some broth. And if your grandma’s soup was anything like my Grandma Bell’s, you know that nothing soothed the body and soul like a bowl of that made-from-scratch miracle cure. Boy, oh boy, if that homemade soup didn’t hit the spot every single time.
You might even do the same thing for your own kids and grandkids, and if you do, then good for you—and good for them, too. Because with every bowl of homemade broth, you’re delivering a serving of one of the most powerful health elixirs known to man.
Over the centuries, ancient cultures have hailed real broth as a potent way to strengthen bones and joints, to prevent and cure illness, and to boost your energy and stamina. And like so many ancient remedies, they were right on the money—and they didn’t need college-educated, credential-flashing, hoity-toity doctors and scientists to tell them so.
They just had a good dose of something I like to call common sense. (Another tradition that’s sadly going by the wayside these days…)
Because as it turns out, broth does do all of those things, and now we have those college-educated, credential-flashing, hoity-toity docs and scientists to tell us why.
The secret sources of broth’s miraculous nutritional value
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The secret’s in the sauce.” Well, when it comes to homemade broth, the secret isn’t in the sauce—it’s in the bones, cartilage, and marrow. (That’s why the best restaurants use bone marrow to enhance the flavor of their soups.)
I know it might not sound all that appetizing, but short of “going caveman” and sucking the marrow out of bones, simmering them in water is the best way to pull the nutrients out and deliver them in a form that not only tastes good, but that’s easy for your body to absorb.
Homemade broth is brimming with important minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, as well as calcium and other trace minerals.
It’s also a good source of gelatin, which is a health food in its own right. Research conducted during the first half of the 20th century found that gelatin helps everything from peptic ulcers, to infectious diseases, to diabetes and muscle diseases.
If only Big Pharma could bottle that—though I honestly don’t know why they’d want to. Nothing can compare to the full, rich flavor of homemade broth. If you’ve had it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you’re missing out… not just on a tasty tradition, but on a healthy food chock full of nutritional value.
Here’s what to do:
You don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen to make this health elixir for yourself. For the best made-from-scratch broth, follow a few simple directions, and you’ll be slurping your own tonic in no time.
1. Put all of your ingredients in a pot.
2. Cover with cold water. Don’t rush this step. You’ll get more nutrients out of your bones and marrow if you heat the water slowly.
3. Simmer the broth from 12 to 24 hours. The longer the better. Just be sure not to boil it.
4. Strain the liquid from the solids and store the broth in an airtight container.
5. The fat will rise to the top. You can skim it off if you want to, but I leave all of it in to enhance the flavor.
6. You can freeze the broth for months at a time, and then add it to soups, gravies, sauces, and the like.
With homemade broth, you don’t need a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Just a spoonful of soup will do the job. Heck, you might even tip the bowl. (And yes, slurping is allowed.)