If you would have told me 8 years ago that I would be making soup from scratch for my family on a weekly and monthly basis I would have *laughed* (hard!) at you.
I did NOT know how to cook.
But as it turns out, learning how to cook, and specifically soup making, was key in healing just about every aspect of disease that I was experiencing at the time.
I am hopelessly in love with soup, not just because it tastes good (and when you do it right it *so* does!), but because it was pivotal in my healing. I am hoping by the end of this post to spark a fire of hope in you that this simple practice of soup making can start a healing in you. Please use the comments section to ask questions – I have made this work in every season of life and it very much can be done! I want to help – let’s talk it out!
1. Bone broth is incredibly healing to the digestive system.
“All disease begins in the gut” as they say. If you have any diagnosis, you can start the healing process by addressing your gut. The gelatin that is leached from the bones helps digest food and is a source of protein, and the nutrients in bone broth heal gut lining. I’m coming to realize that just about everyone needs some sort of gut intervention. Even myself, after years of working on gut healing successfully, I find that having bone broth in my weekly (if not daily) menu just keeps my digestive system in tact so I am not susceptible to getting sick. It almost never happens.
Also, if you have a tender digestive system, eating your veggies in a cooked manner is just easier in general on your digestive system. I find that in the winter months I just do better eating my veggies in soup form, and I save eating raw veggies for when veggies are in season in the spring and summer.
2. Bone broth is an excellent source of vital minerals like magnesium and calcium.
When you prepare broth in the correct way, you are pulling the minerals right out of the bones! So you are getting these minerals in the proper proportions – the way nature intended. Our soils are so depleted of minerals, and in order for our hormones to function properly, we need these vital minerals at work in our body. The nutrients in bone broth are also very easily absorbed by the body. Supplements have a time and place, but getting nutrients straight from the source like this is just easier and quicker for the digestive system to absorb.
3. You can get a variety of vegetables in, all at once, and make it taste GOOD!
Listen, veggies don’t top my list of things I just *love* the taste of. Right? I mean, I love a good raw salad or veggies right out of the garden in the summer, but let’s be real. It’s kinda a drag to have to figure out how to get them in everyday – and into your family. Enter soup flavor basics 101! See action step #4 below for my secrets to making EVERY soup taste good. Take advantage of having an immersion blender and make soup purees. The soup will be creamy without adding in a bunch of other stuff.
4. Making your own soup is time saving.
What?! Making something from scratch takes less time that opening a can of soup?? Well, not really – but that can of soup is NOT going to fill you up like real soup will – so you will be having to fix yourself something more to eat in addition to, or later on. The key is making batches of soup. Make one day a week (or even one day a month) “soup day”. Stock up your freezer – you can even freeze in single cup portions so you just have to pull it out and take it with you. If you don’t have the freezer space, then make one batch every week – it will keep for a week in the fridge. I don’t usually have to think about what’s for lunch – it is normally some sort of soup from my freezer. No meal planning here. Just grab and go.
5. Making your own soup is extremely economical.
If I haven’t gotten you on any of the above points (although I hope I have!), maybe the frugal monster will get you on this one?! One of the reasons I feel like I have had to walk through periods of time of financial lack is to prove the point that you can still eat real food and be on a very (*very*) tight budget. Soup allows me to “stretch” my meat budget. My family could eat an entire chicken on its own in 2 dinners – but I can make an entire chicken last a week or so by putting the meat in soup. The broth is full of protein so I don’t worry about my family not getting enough meat protein – it is built right into the soup!
So here are some action steps to get this party started (like today!):
ACTION STEP 1: Find a source of pastured chicken or beef.
Ask around at farmer’s markets. Check in your area for places that sell raw milk – 9 times out of 10 these farmers also sell pastured meat products. Or find a local health food store – be still be sure you know where the meat is coming from. It can say “organic” all you want but if the bird or the cow was not on pasture eating bugs and grass it is not as superior.
ACTION STEP 2: Once you find a good source let’s make some bone broth!
Make your own chicken stock or beef stock.
Here is how I make it work with a crazy schedule and 5 mouths to feed in my family: Every other week I roast or crockpot a whole chicken or two. I use the meat for the next week or 2 of meals and/or freeze some of the meat for quick pull out meat from the freezer. I throw the bones right into a crockpot or my big roaster oven and make my stock. This way I always have chicken stock available. I make beef broth every other month or so – I make a huge batch and I do 2-3 “rounds” of broth – meaning after I strain out my broth, I put the bones back in the crockpot with more water and do another “round”. Beef bones are huge – there is a lot of minerals to leach out of them – don’t let them go to waste! I freeze my stock in jars and store in my deep freezer. BUT! You can make this work if you don’t have a deep freezer! For years I lived in a small apartment and I still did this. On a little smaller scale since I didn’t have so many mouths to feed, but it still works. Freeze your stock flat in freezer bags or get some nice stackable freezer containers to make the most use out of your freezer space.
ACTION STEP 3: Every time you make some soup get your basics in first.
HERE IS HOW TO MAKE *EVERY* SOUP TASTE GOOD! Warm up your pot and use *liberal* amounts of friendly fat (butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard) for cooking in. I’m talking a good 3-5 tablespoons depending on how big of a batch you are doing. Get those onions and other hard veggies (such as carrots, celery, or cabbage) in there with generous pinches of sea salt and let them go to town for a good 10 minutes on medium heat. The salt and heat bring out the natural juices in these veggies and they will sweeten up and become more flavorful. Add in lots of garlic for a minute and then you are ready to add your stock and other veggies. It’s really that simple – every soup, every time.
ACTION STEP 4: Play around with different veggie combos.
If you get the base of the soup from above down pat, really any soup is going to taste good! Make a different veggie combo soup every week! If you make soup day on Saturday or Sunday, you can make enough for your lunches to work all week.
Here are some soups to try to get you going!
Love this! Soup is one of the first things I tell people to try out when it comes to real food. It can be easy, cheap and sooo good for you!
Love this post (and LOVE, love, love your cabbage and meatball soup) Every time I make it, I can’t believe how much flavor it has! Now that I’m reading this, I understand that it is the cooking of the veggies in the butter with salt! Now I’m off to revise all of my soup recipes 🙂
Ah yes 😉 Perfect! Exactly what I was hoping for! Thanks for the feedback Julie!
Renee, Thanks for all the love you put here. I have started doing bone broth and I have been slow cooking the bones for days at a time. can I do this with mostly the beef bones instead of making broth more than once out of the same bones ? How do we know when the bones are drained of there goodness ? On my path to healing, blessings Darcy
Hi Darcy! Good for you! And great questions!
I find that beef bones are much thicker and can be simmered longer and more times than chicken bones. When I do beef broth I do them in my crockpot for almost 2 days, strain out the broth and then go another 2 days and strain again. After that point I find the broth doesn’t “gel” as much and I feel it has given all its got 🙂 By “gel” I mean once the broth is cold it becomes gelled – almost like jello – that is the gelatin talked about above.
I hope that helps – let me know if I can answer anymore questions! Happy broth making!
I have a tip for thick chicken broth. Use wings. Its incredible how much collagen is in there. Theres aloooot of meat on them too if you take time to pick it off. Tedious, but Im a miser due to necessity.
Im sure feet would do the same, but I dont have access to real chicken (pastured, not COFA,) let aone feet!
How do you get all that broth in the freezer with an apt size fridge? I cant make beans either. Just no room in the freezer. Its saddening to me. I made 4 qts broth the other day and could only get 2qts in freezer, flat in ziplocs, yes. The 2 in the fridge should keep a few weeksif you I dont disturb the fat layer till I use it all. No dipping into t for a 1/2c tho 🙁 But its the only thing I can do.
Frustrating at 51 to be so incredibly stifled in the kitchen. I just keep trying to be thankful I have electricity and fridges, compared to other very poor peoples