Updated: Aug 12
build health, don't just manage crisis
I consider myself a Kitchen Witch among many other things. I love bringing my medicine into my meals for myself and my loved ones. Herbalism has always been practiced this way- in many cultures, there isn't a strict divide between food and medicine as we see in American culture. Some of the most "simple" herbs can be strong medicinal allies. I invite you to empower yourself in your kitchen and get creative in transforming your food into healing remedies.
food that is truly nourishing for the body and soul.
Science validates what our grandmothers and ancestors always knew, rich homemade broths help cure colds and keep the immune system strong throughout the cold winter months. Broth contains many bio-available nutrients and minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur, fat-soluble Vitamins, etc. the process of simmering your broth slowly leeches these nutrients from your herbs and veg, increasing their bio-availability and making it easy for your body to absorb.
Some of my favorite plants to cook with are basic culinary herbs and backyard weeds. Many of these plants are easy to forage or find in your grocery store or local apothecaries. This recipe can be used as-is or as inspiration for you to tweak using whatever ingredients you have. There are many ways to bring these herbs into your kitchen- so don't panic if you don't have access to some of the herbs on this list! There is a special beauty in making do with what we have and I find a lot of my creativity stems from that.
Medicinal Broth is a great way to utilize these plants (and veggies that need to be used up) to improve overall health, increase vitality, and bolster the immune system.
In addition, these "more exotic" and lesser-known herbs can be added to offer stronger immune and health-boosting power
reishi, lion's mane, turkey tail mushrooms
“Our culture begins in the kitchen with how we nourish ourselves and how we nourish our families” -Kami McBride
I always have a bag in my freezer for all veggie ends, herb stalks, mushroom stems, onion skins, and other general food scraps. If you make a habit of having all your veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer you have plenty of veggie goodness to add to your stock each batch, which cuts down cost and food waste a little bit! This can be done with bones as well.
soothe, nourish, & detoxify...
I start with every immune-boosting and nutrient-rich ingredient I can gather and throw them together in a slow cooker, instapot, or stockpot. Be creative and use whatever vegetables you have to make this broth. Below is a basic recipe to follow or use as inspiration.
Restorative Vegan Broth
1 large yellow onion
2 medium carrots
3 stalks of celery
8-12 whole cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup dried stinging nettle/dandelion leaf/chickweed or 3 cups fresh chopped
1/3 a small bunch kale or swiss chard (or a mixture of leafy greens)
1/2 cup fresh or ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms (or a blend of mushrooms)
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 large piece of kombu or other seaweeds
1 or 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, skin removed and grated
1 or 2-inch piece of fresh turmeric, skin removed grated (or ½ tsp dried ground if fresh is not available)
6 calendula flowers
6 pieces of cut astragalus root
3 reishi slices
1/4 cup dried burdock/dandelion root
1 tablespoon dried schisandra berries
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 quarts filtered water
1 Tablespoon of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for serving
Throw in bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, cilantro, sage, and any other aromatic herbs near the end for extra flavor and nutrients. I use at least 1 teaspoon (dried) of each for a medicinal dose. Or a few sprigs of each if they are fresh.
Coarsely chop the vegetables into even-sized pieces.
Place all the ingredients except for the oil into your slow cooker and add the water to cover. Set to 5 to 6 hours on high or 10 to 12 hours on low. (You can simmer it for longer for a more flavorful and reduced broth)
(To make on the stovetop) In a large stockpot, cover the vegetables, herbs, and spices with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and barely simmer on low for about 90 minutes.
(Instapot) Set time for high and cook for 2-3 hours.
Once its cooked and cooled a bit, pour through a metal mesh-strainer and store in a jar or tightly sealed container for up to a week in the fridge, or in the freezer for up to a year.
How to incorporate broth into your day?
I personally enjoy drinking a pint jar of this recipe mixed with a tablespoon of miso paste and a small drizzle of olive oil around midday for a pick-me-up. But, I also use it to cook my grains, and as a base for soups too! I make it in half-gallon batches to store in the fridge for up to a week. Additionally, you can make even larger batches and freeze small containers of it to have on hand as you need it.