A South American proverb says “Good broth will resurrect the dead.” An exaggeration perhaps …but only just.  With flu season here, a good broth is exactly what you need to get you going again.

Bone broths contain minerals (especially electrolyte minerals) to prevent dehydration, gelatin to soothe upset stomachs, and proteins — all in their most easily digestible forms.  Your body won’t need to expend much energy to get the nutrients.  Instead, it can focus on recuperating.

The beauty here is in its simplicity.  All you really need to do is add a little sea salt to the bone broth and drink it like a tea.  If you do have the energy and time or making soup for a friend, feel free to make your favorite Chicken Soup recipe but remember to keep it simple.  The fever that accompanies the flu generally makes appetites low.  The key ingredient is the broth.

I’ve included the Chicken Broth recipe from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook with a few additional notes.  Of course, a Beef Broth or a Vegetable Broth would work great for the flu as well.  It’s a good idea to stock up for the flu season. I recommend storing the broth in different size containers so that you can easily grab what you need when you need it.  You can store the broth in the refrigerator for about five days, or in the freezer for months.

Chicken Bone Broth

  • 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 lbs of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings.
  • Gizzards from one chicken (optional)
  • Feet from one chicken (optional)
  • 4 quarts cold filtered water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken parts into several pieces.  (If you are using the whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.)   You can ask your butcher to do this.
  2. Place the chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water or slow cooker with vinegar, and all vegetables except parsley.
  3. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour.   (This is important!  The vinegar pulls the minerals out of the bones.)
  4. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours.  If using slow cooker, turn on low and let it cook at low setting for 6-24 hours. (The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.)
  5. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley.  (This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.)
  6. Remove chicken pieces with a slotted spoon.  If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass.  Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries.  (For an awesome trick on how to shred chicken fast, see this post by Bree at Sugar and Grace.)
  7. Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals.
  8. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.

Adapted:  Fallon, Sally.  Nourishing Traditions.  Washington, DC:  New Trends Publishing, 2001.

Other Sources: The Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients February/March 2005 “Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease”