Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Soups for the Cold Season

 It's that lovely time of year when everyone learns the true meaning of sharing... germs that is. This year's new evolutions of ick are floating around, so it's time to gird your immune system and prepare for impact.

One of the things I make each year is comfort in a jar - a simple hearty soup for when you're too sick to make yourself something proper. Junk food and take-out will tend to make things worse, but when you're running a fever you don't want to go out shopping for the healthy stuff.

Throughout the year I dehydrate foods. Anytime I got the 5 lb. bag because it was on sale, or the garden floweth over, or I forgot that carrot in the back of the crisper and it's starting to dry out on it's own; I chop it up and stick it on the dehydrator.  Pictured is celery, mushrooms (from our farm share), and ginger. I use these for easy backpacking food year-round.
 Here's the options assembled, a variety of veggies. After veggies are totally dry one can place them in jars and they keep indefinitely.  Besides offering up nutrients, many of these foods can help treat you! Members of the allium family (onions, garlic etc.) are often used as immune boosters. Mushrooms offer protein, and are also traditionally used to treat fevers.

I also add ginger and/or hot peppers as a stimulant to promote sweating and good circulation. Sage, thyme, and rosemary are antimicrobial and assist the immune system.
 Simple starches will cause blood sugar spikes which hurt the immune system, so I use brown rice in small amounts. These are bullion cubes, but simple salt is sufficient. Hopefully the sick person is drinking tons of water and will thus need plenty of salt to maintain mineral balance.

 Here's the finished soups! One has carrot, green onion, leeks and celery for the traditional chicken soup experience. The other is southwest style, with tomatoes, corn, zucchini and hot peppers. Both have mushrooms. They are ready to be tossed in a pot with some water and spooned into a miserable flu victim!
 I also prepped some preventative medicine. Elderberry syrup and an immune booster (which involves whiskey, yum!), and some garlic infused honey. Garlic and honey are both wicked good for the immune system and surprisingly tasty together. I peeled and scored all the little cloves that get passed over for cooking and placed them in a jar.
Covered with honey and left in a warm place (here, on my stovetop) the garlic will seep it's goodness into the honey. A spoonful of this will keep your immune system strong, vampires (and friends) at bay, and freak out your exchange student.

Here's to hope that you won't get sick this season, but like a good scout - Be Prepared!


Sheila Luta said...

Those soups sound super tasty! Not so sure I'm willing to hop on board the garlic and honey train... Although I do munch on pickled garlic often enough that I don't think I'll have a shortage of it! That and local honey in my tea and I'm a happy camper :)

Your post makes me want a dehydrator SO bad.

Pink said...

I do love my dehydrator! But a low oven is usually a good option as well. Also, don't buy the model that I own, it often melts trays >.<

Sheila Luta said...

Good to know!