Healing Properties of Homemade Broths, Stocks, and Soups
by Josh Day
something primeval, almost magical, about a boiling cauldron of
soup, rich with vegetables, herbs, and meats on the bone.
discovery of soups stands as a major hallmark in the evolution of
cooked food, going all the way back to prehistory. First came roasted
meats and vegetables, pierced on a stick and turned over a fire.
Then came fire pits and heated stones which could be placed in tough
animal stomachs to cook foods and hold in the moisture. But it was
the discovery of pottery that led to a fireproof cooking vessel
which enabled the boiling of water, which of course is the key component
and means of genesis for soups.
is not complicated. The most basic form of broth requires only two
things: water and something that goes in the water (onion, bouquet
of herbs, piece of meat, even a bone). Nutrients and flavors are
leached from the object being boiled, transmuting the water into
broth, or stock. This transformed liquid makes up the foundation
of all soups.
we get into why broth has healing properties, let me share a very
simple, incredibly healthy, delicious, and surprisingly filling
Broth: The Soup of the Father of Medicine
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup parsley, or half handful of parsley
1 1/2 quart water
everything to a light boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering
for 30 minutes. Strain out solids and drink broth.
was the victuals I practically lived on during my 21
Days to Health experience. The end result would yield you
just under 1 quart of broth, which was great for two people, or one
person on a detox diet. This broth can also be frozen or refrigerated
and used in rice, stews, and numerous other dishes.
you're new to soups, or to cooking in general, I suggest starting
out with the basics, as outlined in the recipe above. Once you get
a feeling for it, try adding some sliced button mushrooms, maybe
some shredded cabbage, and a very thinly sliced yellow onion to
the broth after it's been cooked. Start out with thin, skimpy slices
and let the new ingredients add their own flavor to the base broth.
Also, if you're daring, you may want to add some fresh ground black
pepper, a tiny dash of sea salt, and maybe some fresh thyme with
the cabbage and mushrooms and onion. And don't forget some chopped
chives at the end.
soup you'll make from this simple broth would be competitive with
any appetizer soup offered at restaurants.
now that we have a basic broth recipe, let's talk about why broth
has healing properties.
of all, we need to distinguish between "broth" and "stock."
And that itself is the kicker as depending on where in the world
you are, and what expert you listen to, stock can either refer to
boiled water from vegetable remnants and bones, and broth being
the good stuff, so to speak, from edible animal meat and thicker
veggies (opposed to parsley, vegetable peels, herbs, etc.).
the purpose of this article, we'll make things simple: broth and
stock are simply the liquid, non-solid result of a boiling endeavor,
and both words are interchangeable; soup is the finalized product
where solids remain to be consumed.
here is what's behind the healing properties of broth:
broths are rich in the following nutrients: massive amounts
of water soluable vitamins A, B, and C; potassium; sodium (great
if you're on a salt-free or sodium limiting diet); enzymes, alkalizing
minerals; and many nutrients that you'd get if you juiced the same
vegetables that go into the pot. Juicing is a pain in the butt and
a lot of veggies yield only a little juice; it's the exact opposite
when making a mineral-rich vegetable broth.
soup: there's a reason why it's been known as "Jewish
Penicillin." In addition to the nutrients listed above, chicken
soup has a calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other not so well
known vitamins and minerals. And science has confirmed the old
belief that chicken soup is one of the best things for colds and
Although a 12th century physician named Moses Maimonides first
prescribed chicken soup as a cold and asthma remedy, its therapeutic
properties have been studied by a host of medical experts in recent
decades. Findings vary.
say the steam is the real benefit. Sipping the hot soup and breathing
in the steam helps clear up congestion.
Ziment, M.D., pulmonary specialist and professor at the UCLA School
for Medicine, says chicken soup contains drug-like agents similar
to those in modern cold medicines. For example, an amino acid
released from chicken during cooking chemically resembles the
drug acetylcysteine, prescribed for bronchitis and other respiratory
theory, put forth by Stephen Rennard, MD, chief of pulmonary medicine
at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, is that
chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory. The soup, he says,
keeps a check on inflammatory white blood cells (neutrophils).
Cold symptoms, such as coughs and congestion, are often caused
by inflammation produced when neutrophils migrate to the bronchial
tubes and accumulate there. (Nature's
best cold flu remedy)
there you have it. Modern science backs up many of the claims made
about soups and broths since practically antiquity.
for my favorite chicken soup recipe...
boiler or fryer chicken
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
1 bunch of parsley
5 fresh thyme branches
2 branches fresh rosemary, 4 inches long
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 head garlic, cut in half and smashed
2 Tbs sliced ginger
1 package chicken legs, optional *
6-8 radishes, cut in half, optional **
1 turnip, quartered, optional **
giblets from chicken cavity and thoroughly clean. Wash vegetables
but leave on peels and skins, and then roughly chop. Add everything
to large pot and fill with cool water so everything is covered.
pot to a light boil and then reduce to a simmer. Boil for at least
2 and a half hours, or until the chicken falls off the bone. While
cooking, use a flat spoon to continually skim off the foam, grease,
and fat that collects on the surface.
out solids, reserving chicken meat. Let cool and pull meat from
bones with fingers, placing in separate container to add later or
use in sandwiches or salads.
broth in containers (can be refrigerated for five days or frozen
for two months).
Optional: Roast your vegetables and chicken legs for added,
richer flavor. Drizzle legs and vegetables (except parsley bunch)
with olive oil and sprinkle with ground black pepper and sea salt.
Place on roasting tray and roast on each side for 15 minutes. Turn
and roast again for 15 minutes.
everything to pot with whole chicken and parsley and prepare as
Radishes and turnips give a whole new dimension to chicken stock.
I love the added flavor but my wife hates it and can tell when as
little as a fingernail-size piece of turnip has been added to the
pot, so I have to leave these two veggies out.
transform this broth into classic chicken
soup, add the following:
chicken meat reserved from broth, as much as you'd like
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
New potatoes, chopped in bite size pieces, skin kept on
2 yellow onion, sliced in strips
1-2 quarts of chicken broth
everything until potatoes are done and vegetables are tender. This
simple and mild soup is perfect for a cold or dose of flu.
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and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements
have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and
these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat,
cure or prevent any disease.