For much of the country, cool and wet weather has kept our ideal Spring to the realm of our dreams. So, what to do while cooped up indoors? Well, consider making up some super charged broth to have on hand for our future meals. There are many people who have discovered the wonders that Bone Broth has to offer us in the way of nutrition, but did you know there are herbal ways of stepping it up to a whole new level.
Depending on what sort of nutritional benefit you are looking for, we have several roads to take. Bone Broth’s many benefits often fall into the category of higher mineral content. There are some wonderful herbs growing right outside my door that also have a ton of minerals we could easily dump into our pots. Nettles and Alfalfa are literally “growing like weeds” right now. If you have some handy or others as well, grab you up a few handfuls and add them to your broth as it simmers slowly on the back burner. Minerals are not harmed by long, low heating in fact they are drawn from the plants into the fluid during this cooking time.
Another road to take would be that of giving our immune systems a super charge. Go ahead and make that Broth the way you always do but this time let’s add some traditional immune modulating herbs to your pot. Astragalus root is a wonder for this. It is known to aid the immune system in which ever direction it needs to take. In other words, if you are immune depressed, Astragalus will give your immune system the lift it is needing. For others, the problem may be an over active immune system. God in His majesty has provided in this plant, the ability to react in just the right fashion. For those with an overactive system, Astragalus is known to calm and settle while still providing a deep level of health to the immune system. This is also a plant that is safe for most every person to consume, especially as food! Go ahead and allow it to simmer for the long periods of time that bring out the best in homemade broths. Because Astragalus root is extremely fibrous, you will do best to strain it out prior to consuming your golden goodness, whereas some other herbs you may include could just as well remain in the pot and be included in the final product.
Now, let’s keep digging in our pantry to see what else we find. How about some wonderful, dried, medicinal mushrooms? Shiitake, Reishi, Maitake, Chaga, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail and others all lend perfectly to the fullness and richness of homemade broths. These babies go way beyond flavor enhancement though, once again lending a very helpful hand to create and maintain a healthy immune system. While each type of mushroom may have its own special talent to provide, you can mix and match with these guys all day long! Again, the long, slow heating of our broths pull an extreme amount of nutrition from these little fungi and lend a hand at creating a healthy, strong immune system for us.
Last but not least, let us not forget one of my favorite friends, Mr. Garlic. While this little gem may be looking kinda sad at this point of the season, go head and add as much as you have to the pot, never mind if it’s a bit dryed out or even started to sprout, so much the better. When you have given it a hardy portion, add some more! This little addition will aid you on many levels but let’s just place it into the category of stamina, and who doesn’t need that with the busyness of gardening season being upon us!
I hope you have some soup bones in the freezer and some yummy plants to add to your pots as well as plenty of time to harvest, chop and stir some delightful healthfulness. I freeze my broth in glass quart jars for whatever recipe will benefit from some of this goodness. You can also reduce your broth down to a concentrate and freeze in smaller containers if that works better. Whichever way you go, I hope you partake in this wonderful, nutritious super food soon!