From a Western nutrition perspective, winter is the time our bones need the most support with added minerals in our diet. All of these recipes will give you a mineral pick-me-up, and be good for your overall health and wellbeing. Eating nutrient-rich foods is preferred over supplements, when possible, so try adding these easy recipes to your repertoire this winter.
The key to unlocking the health effects of bone broth is getting good bones. What I mean by that is bones, especially spine bones, of organic, pasture-raised animals. Buying bones of conventionally-raised animals is a sure fire way to get a dose of hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals used by factory farmers. Visiting EatWild
or your local greenmarket will help you source the right bones for the job.
You can make the broth with bones as is, or try roasting them first in the broiler. Brown, but don’t burn them. Clean up your roasting pan while hot with some water, and then add the water to the stock for a flavor boost.
See my blog post about the benefits of bone broth by clicking here.
- 2 lbs ofbones (beef spine and knuckle are good choices, as are chicken backs and necks)
- The cloves of ½ to 1 head of garlic as suits your taste
- 2 T unfiltered cider vinegar (helps release minerals from the bones)
- Water to cover
I usually use an enameled Le Creuset 6-quart stockpot for this, but you can use any heavy stockpot you like that isn’t made of aluminum. Add the bones, garlic, vinegar to the pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 8 to 24 hours. Skim off foam from time to time while preserving as much of the fat that rises to the top. Strain through a colander and then a sieve to remove all the pieces of bone. Store in the refrigerator in a glass container. Use for soups, or just add a healthy dollop to sautéed vegetables as you wish.
Hot Cereal Topper
Walnuts and black sesame seeds are Chinese medicine wintertime superfoods. Walnuts are rich in Vitamin E, many minerals, phytonutrients (tannins, etc.) and Omega-3 fatty acids. In Chinese medicine, walnuts are also associate with the kidneys, which needed to be warmed and nourished, especially during the Winter. Black is the color associated with Winter in Chinese medicine, so black sesame seeds will further nourish the kidneys and also the blood.
Use this combination toasted and ground as a sprinkle on top of hot breakfast cereals. You can even use it to make a tea with honey or blackstrap molasses.
- 2 cups toasted walnuts
- ¼ cup toasted black sesame seeds (this is best done in a sautee pan on the stove until a popping sound is heard. Be careful not to burn them.)
Grind and store in an airtight glass container in the fridge. Use as desired.
Winter-spiced Kale Chips
Winter is a time of storage, when the cold sends plants and animals inward to rest and be still. Kale is a nutrient-dense food that will nourish us while we commune with the stillness of winter. These kale chips are seasoned with herbs and spices to chase the cold away, too.
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked black peppercorns (finely crushed)
- 3 healthy pinches of paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger (or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated)
- Chili flakes according to taste
- ¼ cup gluten-free nutritional yeast flakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the kale well and dry in a salad spinner. Remove stems and roughly chop into finger-food sized pieces. Toss with seasoning mix. Bake until the edges begin to brown, but before they burn. This should take about 12 minutes.
Also try this recipe using your favorite curry powder or garam masala mix. I love the mix from Kalustyans.
Black Strap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses – a sugar alternative of sorts – is packed with nutrients. Blackstrap molasses and sugar have the same number of calories per teaspoon, but sugar is all calories and no nutrients. Blackstrap molasses are simply full of goodness.
A single teaspoon of these molasses will get you 10% closer to your recommended intake of iron, calcium and other essential minerals. You will also get the full daily dose of chromium, an essential nutrient in the maintenance of even blood sugar.
Blackstrap molasses are, as the name implies, nearly black. This ties back into the Chinese medicine correspondences of the season, which links winter and the color black.
Try adding blackstrap molasses to your morning hot cereal, tea, dessert recipes, smoothie (forgo on ice in smoothies during the winter months) and marinades.