Did you know that turkey soup, if properly prepared from scratch, can go a long way to boost your family’s immunity and keep them healthy? The key is to prepare the soup stock from your turkey bones. So don’t throw out that turkey carcass!
Grandma used to say that chicken soup is good for whatever ails you, and she was right. Soups made from gelatin-rich bone broths made in the traditional way are nourishing, healing, and flavorful.
The minerals and amino acids from bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables provide many health benefits. Bone broth can strengthen the immune system, inhibit cold and flu viruses, help detoxification, and reduce inflammation and joint pain. It’s also very helpful for digestion and can help heal the mucosal lining of the digestive tract (leaky gut) and other digestive issues. And finally, it’s great for your skin, hair and nails due to its high collagen content.
Making bone broth (stock) is easier than you might think and also inexpensive. It’s a great liquid to have on hand to nourish a sick child, even when there is no appetite. The warm liquid is calm and soothing to the stomach, provides minerals and electrolytes, and is the best healing remedy you can provide.
If you are wondering – the terms broth and stock are interchangeable – they mean the same thing.
Make Your Own Bone Broth
The following recipe is adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon:
1 whole turkey carcass – or – 1 whole free-range chicken cut up – or – 2 to 3 lbs bones
2 chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 large onion
2 peeled carrots
3 celery stalks
1 bunch parsley
Place the carcass, bones or whole chicken in a large stainless steel stock pot with the cold water and add the vinegar. The vinegar is important, since it helps to leach the minerals out of the bones into the water. Let it sit for about a half hour.
Coarsely chop all the vegetables, except the parsley, and add to stock pot. Bring to a boil and remove the scum that rises to the top. You may need to remove the scum a few times; there will be more of it (hormone residues and other impurities) if not using pasture-raised poultry.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 12 to 24 hours. If using a whole chicken, you can remove the meat after it separates from the bone (about 2 hours) and use this meat for other purposes. Then continue to simmer the bones and veggies for the remaining time. The longer it cooks, the better. About 10 minutes before turning off the heat, add the parsley. This gives it additional minerals.
With a slotted spoon, remove the large pieces of bone, meat and skin. Strain the broth into a large bowl to remove all the pieces of bones and vegetables. After cooling, put the liquid into containers in fridge or freezer. You can skim off the fat if you want, after it rises to top and congeals. You can store broth in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The bones should make your stock into gelatin and this is important. It should thicken (preferably gel completely) when chilled. If you find your stock is not turning to gel, you may want to think about adding chicken feet next time since they are full of gelatin, or break the bones with a mallet or knife to release more marrow into the broth. Or try using less water.
When making bone broth, make sure you use high quality bones from pastured chickens or turkey, grass fed cows or wild caught fish. The animals need to be healthy in order for their bones to have healthy substances without hormones or other impurities.
You can use your bone broth to make soups, gravy, stews, sauces, etc. But the best way to get all the nourishment and healing is to simply drink it every day as a healthy, warm drink. You can add salt, crushed garlic, and natural spices for flavoring. During the fall and winter months, you can give your children bone broth to drink every day to keep them healthy.