Here at Cat Creek house, we’ve all been showing the signs of a long winter without enough vitamin D. Twinkle Toes has had Roseola and an ear infection. Meanwhile, Miss Teen progressed from a sore throat last weekend to stuffiness which she passed onto Twinkle Toes who is now a snot-machine. Last night my immune system started to cave into the pressure, and this morning I have the beginnings of a sore throat and sinus congestion. Yay! So far, Young Jedi and Rupert have not succumbed.

Lest I start to wallow in my problems, what’s a green, whole-foods woman to do? Turkey soup, of course! I had turkey soup for breakfast, two bowls of it. Twinkle Toes can’t feed herself soup yet, so I fried up a couple of eggs in butter with a sprinkle of sea salt, and drizzled the broth over them for her.

A good bone broth soup is my go-to remedy for colds and other ailments. Here are some of the things I do to make a rich, thick healing broth:

Be prepared. Save and frreze all bones from roasts or other dishes. When it comes time for soup, you will have a good selection to choose from. I also freeze the ends and peelings of veggies that we don’t eat — carrot, parsnip and celery stems and tops, etc. Add them in with the bones for more flavour.

Know your flavours. I prefer turkey soup over chicken soup, so I like to keep some turkey bones on hand to throw in with my chicken carcasses. I find the soup has more flavour that way. Pig’s feet are great for making a super thick broth, and lamb has a distinctive flavour. Another combination I like is pork, beef and lamb.

Low and slow, baby. Initially bring the water with the bones to a boil, but then turn down the heat and allow it to simmer on low for 24 hours or more. Make sure your stove top does a good simmer, or you may have to keep checking the soup that it doesn’t cool down to bacteria breeding temps, and doesn’t run away and start boiling when you aren’t looking.

Be a leachy leech. Add some acid in the form of vinegar or lemon juice to to encourage the bones to let go of a little more of their mineral and gelatin goodness.

Be picky. After the bones have simmered for a good long while and cooled, strain the liquid. I use a slotted spoon to scoop out all the bones and veggie ends. These I pile into a stainless steel mixing bowl and I then sort through it, separating any bits and pieces of meat or marrow from the rest. Depending on how well cleaned off your bones were, there may be a fair amount of meat to throw back into the pot. Everything else goes into the garbage. Although I would prefer to be able to compost this waste, I am content to know that I got the maximum nutrition out of the food.

Build it up. Now that you have a wonderful rich broth, you can put some aside to freeze or just start throwing in whatever else you want in it. In our house, parsnips are an absolute must, as is cabbage. I love cabbage. It is inexpensive, usually locally grown and very nutririous. For even more bang, add sauerkraut instead–bonus points if it’s home made. Try celery, some diced tomatoes or whatever is in season. I prefer to not include starchy food like potatoes, rice or noodles as they just disintegrate into mush and change the consistency of the soup. Besides, you don’t need all that starch.

Spice it up. Experiment with your favourite flavours. I like to add bay leaves, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, sea salt and whole pepper corns.

I’m off to get another bowl … hopefully in a couple of days I’ll have this spring cold licked!

What are your go-to cold remedies? Do you have any soup-making tips?

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