In the Kitchen
Stuffy Nose = Chicken Soup
There is something comforting about sipping a warm bowl of soup when you are under the weather. That savory broth is easy on a sore throat, while inhaling the steam seems to help unstuff a nose.
When I was young, this came in the form of a familiar canned chicken noodle soup. My Mom always served it with saltine crackers. If I was really sick or had an extremely sore throat, it was Chicken Soup with Stars, which was easier to eat. 😌
According to the National Library of Medicine, chicken soup has been prescribed for a cold since the 12th century. As they note, it may not cure a cold but does provide relief from the symptoms.
Making Your Own Bone Broth
Today I still crave a bowl of warm soup when I'm sick. Although there is nostalgia for canned chicken noodle soup, today, I prefer to make my own. If you've been following me for a while, you know I make chicken stock or bone broth regularly, so there is always a quart or two in my freezer. It is easy to thaw, add noodles, and savor.
There has been some research done on the health benefits of making your own bone broth or stock. The slow simmer allows vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc to be released from the bones and made more easily absorbed by the body. Additionally, amino acids are released. These help reduce inflammation.
If you want to have this elixir on hand, here's an easy method to follow:
4 pounds of bones - You can use combined bones, and fresh bones are best rather than bones from cooked meats, but you can use a combination of those as well.
2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
Water to cover
Heat a stock pot over medium-high heat. Brown the bones a bit. Add the water and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook this for 12-16 hours (or more - some recipes recommend up to 36 hours). I like to cook mine for about 8 hours, cool, refrigerate, and then cook the next day again for 8 hours.
You can also make your broth in a slow cooker or in a pressure cooker, or InstaPot. Follow the directions for those devices.
Notes on cooling the broth safely:
When cooling the broth, it is critical to get it under 41 degrees Fahrenheit within 6 hours to avoid bacteria growing. The correct way to cool a broth is to reduce it to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within 2 hours and then reduce it to under 41 degrees Fahrenheit within 4 hours. I like to remove it from the original pot (because it is hot) to a clean pot and use an ice bath to cool it faster. Depending on the weather - temperature 32 degrees Fahrenheit or under, you can put it outside, covered. Don't put it warm into the refrigerator because it will take a while to cool down, and the heat of the stock will reduce the temperature in the refrigerator, thus putting other foods in danger of bacterial growth.
This is a basic recipe, but you can add herbs, vegetables, salt, and pepper to the broth. Be careful not to add too much salt because it could become too salty if the broth reduces. I like to use the following:
You can't help but feel better when eating a bowl of your own chicken noodle soup when you are sick. Make some stock and put it in the freezer. Add small egg noodles, orzo, or digitali pasta, to your pantry, and you have a homemade chicken noodle soup cold kit ready when you need it.