Our Favorite Winter Health Foods

We’ve got a 2 and 4 year old at home so we’ve been averaging a cold a month in the Turner household for the past few years! Here are some of our favorite options for supporting our immune systems and reducing sick time.

Pickled Garlic

We always have a jar of pickled garlic in the fridge. Pickled garlic is like fine wine- the longer you have it the better it tastes. We all know how great garlic is for us. In addition to garlics benefits, pickled garlic is rich in probiotics. Instead of supplements you can make your own probiotics in fermented foods. That word sounds scary- fermented. It tastes so good and at no time when you eat it does the word ‘fermented’ come to mind.

Pickled Garlic

Pickled Garlic

We’re making pickled garlic today, yum! The kids LOVE it. We roasted 12 heads of garlic at 375 degrees for 30 mins or until soft. Then we popped all the cloves out of their paper and into a quart mason jar. Fill the mason jar with water up to the shoulder and then 2 tsp oregano and 2 tsp salt. Shake and let sit on the counter for 2 days then put in the fridge. The flavors develop the longer you have it in your fridge. We’ve had some pickled garlic in there for years and it is super yummy with cheese, olives, hummus, crazy feta, grapes, grape leaves and much more! The good bacteria colonize the brine in the jar while the salt in there inhibits the growth of unwanted bacteria.


Homemade Chicken Soup/Broth

Every spring and fall we raise chickens on our farm. We keep some around all the time for eggs, but in spring and fall we raise chickens to eat. At first we thought it was cheaper that way but over time we’ve discovered that it tastes better and you can control the feed that you give the chicken. Most chicken feed (even organic and natural) has hydrogenated oils in it. That means even if your chicken is free range and fed ‘healthier’ food it often still has hydrogenated oil. These oils are man altered and are unhealthy for us. So twice a year we take the chickens for a one way trip to the country and then they end up in our freezer. We roast them with root veggies like beets, sweet potatoes and potatoes. Then after we’ve eaten all the meat we put the bones in a stock pot along with veggie scraps that we have kept in a bag in the freezer. Often there is celery, carrots, onion, garlic and a bay leaf in the water. We bring the liquid to a slow boil and make sure it stays on a low simmer. To get the goodies (the gelatin) out of the chicken I’ve had best luck with low and slow. Usually about 4-6 hours will do it.

Mamma's Homemade Chicken Soup

Mamma’s Homemade Chicken Soup

Next I saute onions and garlic in a new pot and add potatoes and a frozen corn, bean, carrot, pea mix. I scoop some of the newly made broth in and simmer until the potatoes are almost done. Then I add egg noodles (good old PA dutch girl here) the way my mom and grandmother always did. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. I go a little heavier on the thyme because it works well at breaking up chest congestion and clearing the respiratory system. I leave out the chicken because I avoid meat when we are sick. A soup full of veggies feels the best to me in these times but you many want to add in some of the chicken meat from your whole chicken. Its always good to put some in the freezer so all you have to do is thaw when sick. If you take your soup out of the fridge to reheat it and its is a solid mass of gel you have done a great job!



In our house we LOVE elderberry. It is great for the immune system, it tastes yummy (the kids like it), and it is great for colds. Elderberry has antiviral properties which can lessen cold symptoms. We use Natural Sources elderberry juice concentrate. We have found that many of the products on the market are expensive. We go through about 6 jars of this a year- mostly in the winter. You can add some to water to dilute it and make a juice. You can also take it concentrated as a ‘syrup’. I add 1oz echinacea tincture, 1/2oz propolis tincture and 1 tbsp vitamin C to 4 ozs elderberry juice concentrate to it to make it even more of a bang for our buck. If you would like a similar syrup and are not inclined to make it a lot of our friends really like Sambucol which you can find at Roots Market or Mom’s Organic Market. We take more doses more often when we are sick but we also take it regularly, sick or not, in the winter months. You can take 1 tsp of the concentrate alone 4 times a day for children. If you make the mixture you would use 1/2 tsp 4x a day for children, 1 TBSP for adults.

Who Am I?

Lauren Turner, MS Herbal Medicine

Lauren Turner, MS Herbal Medicine

Hi- I’m Lauren Turner, Kevin’s wife. We met at school where Kevin studied acupuncture and I got my Masters in nutrition and herbal medicine. I run an organic landscape business called Lauren’s Garden Service in which we focus on natives and eco friendly landscape designs and installations. We never use pesticides! In addition to loving plants and gardening I love using plants and food as medicine. I would love to share nutrition information here because it fits hand in hand with what Kevin does in the treatment room.