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For health and nutrition, it's hard to beat a tasty, home-made broth. Try this easy and nourishing recipe from Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas.

Whether consumed on its own or used in a recipe like this one featured here, broth is among the most nutritious foods you can eat, full of amino acids and minerals. The collagen released when making bone broth has an amazing ability to repair the endothelial tissue (the lining of the small and large intestine), plus they are packed with calcium and magnesium which are essential for bone repair. Many of the minerals and amino acids in bone broth possess anti-inflammatory properties and, as such, can help with the prevention and treatment of many illnesses. In particular, chondroitin sulphate (a structural component of cartilage), glucosamine, zinc, calcium and magnesium are vital for reducing inflammatory effects within your body. Vegetable broth is a rich source of magnesium-laden vegetables – ideal for supporting hormone development in teenage girls as menstruation begins.

Vegetable top and tail broth

Choose any eight from the following as you will only be using what you have cut off from the whole vegetables, ready to discard or compost, and pick two herbs and one spice at a time:
onions, garlic and leeks
celery, endive, fennel
turnips, parsnips, swede
zucchini, sweet potatoes, butternut squash
French, runner or broad beans
beetroot, carrots, chard, kale, spinach
2 litres water
2 tablespoons apple cider or wine vinegar
coriander leaves, parsley, bay leaves, sage, thyme, rosemary, fennel
ginger, turmeric root, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg (for a sweeter broth)
Place all your ingredients (scrapings, shavings, peelings, tops and tails, less-than-perfect leaves, strong spines of chard, curly kale and spinach) into a large cauldron (this is the Witches’ Brew, after all!) and set onto a moderate heat for several hours. Check every hour to ensure that there is sufficient fluid and to mix the ingredients.
Turn off the heat at night and leave covered, but do not refrigerate, as the flavours will develop more if the broth is left at room temperature.
Strain the soup into another pot before ladling out your broth as needed, and heat to have as a hot drink, with mixed spice, or to add to relevant recipes.

Note: This broth will never taste the same twice, but that is its beauty - add flavourings and herbs as you wish, depending on the meals you are serving at the time.

Vicki Edgson is a practising nutritional therapist and Heather Thomas is a food writer; together, they are the authors of Broth (Jacqui Small), available from good bookstores, from which these recipes and images are reproduced with kind permission.
Pic credit: Lisa Linder