The first round of the cold season made its way through our house last week. We started taking fermented cod liver oil and I went to the store to start a pot of homemade chicken stock for soup.

When we were children, if someone from our family became ill, my Grandma Butler would be at our house by noon with a pot of her Miracle Soup. It was homemade chicken soup with carrots, celery, chunks of chicken, and her famous, handmade noodles. For years, my sister, brother and I were healed with her magical creation.

Why is chicken soup so good for us? Researchers have found that homemade chicken soup may be a better choice than over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Seems obvious, right? A wholesome stock made with out strange ingredients that are hard to pronounce always seems like the most nourishing choice. Research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that the soup restrained the movement of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that defends against infection, helping to reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms. Nourishing Traditions states that chicken soup helps heal nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength. And the first place to start when making this nourishing food, is the stock. Here is a wonderful recipe to create wholesome and nourishing soups.

2 small onions
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 whole organic chicken
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 bunch of parsley

Peel then halve onions, peel and quarter carrots, rinse and quarter celery, rinse whole chicken and place all of these ingredients into a large stock pot. Fill pot with water to fully cover the chicken then add the vinegar. Set over high heat and cook until water starts to boil, then cover and turn heat down to simmer just so there are a few bubbles that percolate every so often. I start my stock on the highest burner, then let it simmer on the lowest setting on my smallest burner. If the stock is let to boil it will turn into a cloudy murky substance. So ensure that the simmer is very gentle.  Let cook for 6-24 hours. The longer you are able to let it simmer the richer the stock will become. Add the bunch of parsley for only the last 10 minutes of cooking. At the end of your chosen cooking time, strain stock into containers, let cook, then cover and refrigerate or freeze. The stock will last in the refrigerate for 7 days and in the freezer for 3 months.