BONE BROTHSRead Now
NEW AND HIP? No and YES
I absolutely love how this ancient way is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as we see antibiotics fall short of our unrealistic expectations and misuse. Our desire to heal and be well is amplified now with a desire for a deeper connection to the Earth as we find our way in these modern times. It was common place in my home as a child for the soup pot to come out at the first sight of a watery-eyed, sniffling, sneezing family member immersed in struggle with a virus or bacteria. I grew up raising chickens for eggs and then the roosters and hens became soup... we bypassed meat production for many reasons and one was it was easy to get kindly raised meat in the 60s and 70s. We partnered with local farmers for many of our food needs. With the vast changes in food production we are seeing the results in our health and thankfully many are recognizing the need to get back to some time-tested ways of growing food that our bodies have evolved from, know well and prefer. Our cells know the value of bone broths for healing even if you have never eaten it before in this life. It's true but me knowing and you knowing are two different things. So try and see. Chefs have made stocks and broths for the cost and flavor components and I do wish they would post in their menus a description of the stocks and broths they make and promote it more as the immune booster it is as well. Lengthen of cooking determines whether you have a stock or bone broth. Stocks cook in hours and broths are cooked for days.
A little perspective on the microbial world is offered here. I often hear people cursing bacteria or viruses for their awful lot in life. I also hear hatred of the deer for carrying Lyme disease as I live in the northeastern US where Lyme is a common tick born illness. For the record, scientists are now learning that Lyme is carried more by mice and Lyme infections increase when the populations of fox drop. Yes, the natural predator of mice are fox, to name only one. So, can you see how hating deer is not helping the situation. When studying Microbiology I was amazed at the beauty of the microbial world when we played with stains so we would give them contrast to the background and actually be able to see them under the microscope. Having a detached understanding that all things want to live filled me with a curiosity to learn not only about the microbes but about my body and how it defends itself with boundary work on a daily basis. Do I love the flu virus when I get sick. No. Do I hate my 5 year old child for sneezing into my mouth when he is sick. No. What I can do is respect that the flu virus has a place here and a will to live and a role to play in a larger plan that I may not fully understand. I treat it like an unwanted house guest and remain cordial, eat and sleep well (even a liquid fast if fever is present) use herbal remedies, reduce seeing ones I love so I don't pass the unwanted house guest to them, see a medical professional if I have exhausted all of my great skills for caring for the ill and am getting worse, and finally, clean often once they leave. Trusting your body and your choices comes first to hating a microbe. This just may be part of the good medicine needed to overcome some health crises. Just a thought.... and here are a few microbe pics I love.
So, what is a microbe? "Microbe" is such a vast term and refers to organisms that may or may not be living.... scientists are still debating this one back and forth for viruses thwart definition by not being able to reproduce themselves. I say they are living and always have believed this. Did you know that microbes can gene splice antibiotic resistance and share with non-like species of microbes? That would be somewhat like you sharing your genes with a frog that wanted to walked on two legs! Exaggeration? Maybe not. These living creatures are masterful at adaptation which certainly is partly due to having such a short life span. Still fascinating.
So when it comes to the microbial world it's all about boundaries. We quite simply need to make a boundary with the invading microbe. Slow cooked bone broths are a powerful part of this skill set in my experience. They provide high quality nutrient rich fluid you can drink copious amounts of that is easy for your body to use without spending large amounts of energy digesting like it has to with solid food. Remember, we are just a large host for a much smaller world that has changed the course of our larger world and sometimes radically so. Thank you AIDS for introducing the idea of genetic modification in a short time frame in humans. Yes, our genes are much more adaptable than we thought and science is also starting to study this now with the effects of trauma. You are genetically altered between birth and death. I often stifled a laugh as I was taught in college biology about how humans are at the top of the food chain. Maybe we will modify this one day? For now, let's boost up your boundaries with the microbial world by learning to make simple slow cooked bone broths.
Most of us have a desire to be well and the choices you make can exert some pressure on the outcome of how well you are.
Deep Immune Broth Recipe
This recipe is over 25 years old and continues to amaze me! It was formulated for my family quite intuitively in a time of need as I was figuring out how to be a new mother to sons born 13 months apart and we were all falling apart with many recurrent illnesses. The teachings given to me then were lacking basic skills on caring for the ill. I deeply wanted to learn though and that was the beginning.... I adopted pretty strict sleep habits, looked at food choices, quality and timing of eating, introduced some basic herbal skills and remedies and boosted the chicken stocks my family taught me to make when someone got sick into much richer bone broths. Now I call it Deep Immune Broth because it made such a noticeable difference that even our pediatrician asked “What are you doing different? They are noticeably healthier.” She didn’t like the truth but that was in the early 90’s. Maybe there are more doctors now who actually know these changes have the power to improve immune function? I hope so. This broth has nourished nursing new babies through their mama’s milk, those close to death and all in between. It can also be put through feeding tubes quite well even with pureed vegetables added in the end. It has even been given to a friend’s dog, near death from a car accident. She used a turkey baster to feed him and it was all her dog took in for weeks until he was strong enough to start eating on his own back to a full recovery. It is highly recommended for compromised immune systems such as in those people with low immune function due to treatments or debilitating disease, those with recurrent colds/flus and infections, Lyme disease, and many chronic conditions. This broth aids in restoring vitality, particularly during and after any debilitating illness, hospital stay or invasive medical or surgical procedures. Birthed during a time when I was in great need while caring for my babies, I hope that this can help you or a loved one in a time of great need.
6 dried or 12 fresh Shiitake mushrooms; stem included
4 small or 2 large dried Astragalus Root* slices
2 TLB. Olive oil, coconut oil or animal fat if desired
6 cloves fresh Garlic unpeeled and chopped
1 inch piece fresh Ginger root sliced thin, unpeeled
1-2 of each Carrot, Onion, & Celery unpeeled and rough chopped (yes, add the skins of all vegetables)
4 TBS. fresh or 2 TBS. dried chopped Burdock Root*
3-4 inch piece of kelp or other seaweed*
Animal bones - organic, free range, hormone free – do the best you can and mix larger bones with smaller jointed bones for a thick gelatinous stock when cooled - I use 1 chicken carcass for this recipe.
2 TBS. apple cider vinegar - this helps pull minerals quickly from the bones.
* found in local health food stores - choose non-sprayed
-Add olive oil/fat to a stock pot and sauté Mushrooms, Ginger, Garlic, Burdock Root, Astragalus root, Seaweed, Onion, Celery and Carrot for 5 minutes stirring often to brown a bit. You can by pass this and just add all to the pot with the water. I do like the saute step for it deepens the flavor for me.
-Add the animal bones and vinegar. If you have a small fryer (5-6lbs chicken) - add it whole, simmer 30 minutes and then removed the meat and add the bone back in. The meat can be used later or for other meals.
-Add the water to cover
-Slowly bring to a gentle boil and simmer ( for a stock - for anywhere from 1-3 hours covered-remove from heat and allow to “steep” covered for 20-30 minutes more.) For bone broth, I use a crock pot and cook on low all day and/or night (1-3 days). Make it easy so you do it.
I will start to ladel off cups full after a few hours if I need it immediately. Just replace the water if you are working towards a broth.
-When you are satisfied with the cooking time, strain your broth into another pot. Check your bones here for you should be able to pinch them and they break up with your fingers... that means you have extracted most of the nutrients. Some ancient teaching refer to grinding these to a paste to eaten as well.
- Ladle a mug full for taste testing and mix 1 tsp miso paste or just a splash of tamari and taste. This is how we often drink it for hours, by the mugful before it becomes a pot soup.
-Therapeutic does: Drink warm 1 cup 3-4x/day.
-This broth may be used to cook grains and vegetables or added to or used as a soup stock. It freezes well too so make a vat of it for now and later use.
Jennifer Costa, Herbalist, Teacher, BS, RN, CST, and Founder of ElderMoon School of Herbs & Earth Medicine