Apparently, the chicken soup cure has been around for a long time. When I searched the internet for scientific evidence that it actually helped people feel better some site claimed ancient Egyptians used it. Medicine wise, even Mayo Clinic weighed in (saying yes, it does have properties that help.) But what to do if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet? The answer, my friends, is homemade vegetable stock.
When you are feeling low, run-down or just achy and fluey, drink some homemade vegetable stock and let nature take its course. Liquid is the fastest way for your body to absorb nutrients and boiling vegetables is the quickest (and cheapest) way to put them into liquid form.
Dump a bunch of vegetables into a pot – carrots, onions, garlic, celery, potatoes, herbs – add water and voila, you have an easy sipping, essential vitamin and mineral packed cup of goodness. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties to help ease the aches and pains; similarly it can aid in reducing a fever if you have one. As Mayo Clinic notes, drinking hot liquids also helps unclog sinuses when the steam curls up your nose. So inhale deeply!
This is also the broth I use for any vegetable soup when I want a homemade stock. It really comes together quickly and I usually make extra to freeze. When you want to sweeten the stock a touch, add half an apple or pear, cored – it adds a lovely balance to the savoriness of the vegetables.
For this version (made for my ailing sister), she requested some green vegetables. Since spinach does not do well boiling for 30-60 minutes, I simply cut it fine and put it in the bottom of the bowl and spooned the broth on top. The heat will wilt the spinach slightly but it keeps it toothiness. Be sure to adjust for salt since greens love salt!
Best Homemade Vegetable Broth
8 quarts water
1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, halved and quartered
6 garlic cloves, peeled (whole or smashed depending on how much garlic you want)
2 dried bay leaves (1 fresh)
1 potato, chopped
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 piece kombu seaweed
1/2 apple, cored (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
Bring water with all ingredients to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for at least 30 minutes and up to 60. Cool and bottle to use for later or use immediately. For quick soup, ladle broth over cooked pasta, fresh herbs, or shredded spinach.
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