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Make-Ahead Chicken, Red Date, and Ginger Bone Broth Freezer Packs

Updated: 11 hours ago

This recipe is for chicken, red date, and ginger bone broth freezer packs, my take on the traditional Chinese chicken soup used for nourishing pregnant and postpartum mothers. You can find all three of my broth recipes, along with my favorite kitchen tools for broth making, in The Ultimate Guide to Make-Ahead Instant Pot Bone Broth Packs: 3 Recipes for Effortless Meal Prep for The First 40 Days and Beyond.


In my first blog post, The first forty days can make or break your postpartum healing, I shared some time and space-saving hacks to prepare for the first forty days postpartum. My broth recipes are adaptations from the book of the same namesake: The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou. Although I put my own spin on recipes in the book, the method I developed for prepping broth in advance has been a real game-changer.



Make-Ahead Chicken, Red Date, and Ginger Bone Broth Freezer Packs

The book The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou contains the viral recipe for a delicious chicken and red date soup. Those who grew up with this traditional TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) soup are well acquainted with the warming, balancing, and comforting properties of the soup and the myriad of health benefits. The Chinese red dates, or jujubes, are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The goji berries, otherwise known as wolfberries, host a slew of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, immune-stimulating, prebiotic, and neuroprotective effects. and despite goji berries losing their shine in the superfood craze, their thousand-year history in TCM highlights their enduring nutritional significance beyond passing trends. These sweet, sour notes meld perfectly with the warming and invigorating ginger and the protein and collagen-rich chicken backs and feet. Each ingredient is a powerhouse on its own, but combined, the effects are pure magic.


I was hooked once I experienced the wonders of this traditional soup, however I really didn't enjoy the process of freezing and reheating the prepared soup. It took up too much space in the freezer, I had too many cracked mason jars from the temperature shift, and I thought the chicken and dates changed texture slightly when frozen and reheated. Instead, I've adapted the silky, sour, gingery chicken soup into a chicken bone broth that's easy to pop into the instant pot and uses less expensive cuts like chicken backs and chicken feet. You'll likely need to source the Chinese red dates and goji berries in advance, but trust me; it's worth it.


Jump to the recipe here.


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Sourcing Ingredients

The quality of your ingredients is critical, especially if you are trying to heal your gut, remineralize your body, or nourish yourself during pre-conception, pregnancy, and postpartum.


Meat

We buy most of our meat from local farms now. However, if that's not an option, or you aren't ready to invest in a bulk order, I highly recommend ordering from Fed From the Farm, which sources pasture-raised beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and lamb from regenerative small-scale farms.


Produce

For veggies, do your best to find locally grown, organic produce. In my opinion, it's better to adapt to what's in season or use what was preserved at peak than to use lackluster produce. Don't be afraid to substitute scallion or leek for yellow onion, substitute turnips or daikon for carrots, and use up any veggie scraps you want to throw in. Your broth will taste different every time, but the balance of salt, fat, acid, and sweet (I hope you catch that reference) won't disappoint. If you don't have a local co-op with seasonal produce, an amazing option is Azure Standard. You can buy organic, bulk, and specialty produce and health food items at an amazing cost and pick them up at a designated drop spot in your area.


Specialty Ingredients

For specialty ingredients, like kombu, black vinegar, jujubes (Chinese red dates), or Goji Berries, check the international aisle at the grocery store, visit your local Asian supermarket, or check the Amazon links at the bottom of each recipe. Please don't underestimate the importance of good salt. You'll need real, coarse, or kosher salt to flavor the broth. Redmond Real Kosher Salt is flavorful and mineral-rich, and Maldon salt is perfect for finishing any meal.


Valuable Kitchen Tools for Bone Broth Packs

You can make bone broth packs with absolutely no new equipment. You can do all of this with regular zip-lock bags, an old crock pot, a Dutch oven, or just in a stock pot on the stove, but there are a few tools that make this simple meal prep hack easy to implement at scale.


Instant Pot

instant pot duo 6 quart


There's some debate about slow cooking vs. pressure cooking your bone broth. A slow simmer may release more nutrients and give you that jelly top if you are using marrow bones and cartilage high in gelatin, but pressure cooking gives you an equally rich broth in a pinch. The beauty of an instant pot is that you can do either.


We have a hand-me-down 6-quart Instant Pot my sister passed on a few years ago. I immediately dropped it outside on the sidewalk upon getting it home, so the giant dent makes it a bit of an eye-sore, but it's worked perfectly for us for going on 3 years now. I recommend the 6-quart for families of 4 or less. You can always make a second batch from the bones if you need more broth, but I find the 6-quart to be more versatile for other kitchen tasks.


Instant Pot Mesh Strainer Insert


stainless steel mesh sieve for instant pot duo 6 quart


Straining out bones, picking off meat, and sorting out mushy veggies was a task I procrastinated doing after making broth. Buying this little Instant Pot strainer makes putting broth away so much easier.


Handheld Mesh Strainer


small sieve for straining broth into mason jars for fridge storage


This is a small tool that makes a big difference in the kitchen. I believe I have one from Ikea, but anything like this that will fit in the mouth of a mason jar will do the trick. Double straining your broth will give you that clear amber broth you can drink on its own or seamlessly incorporate into virtually any recipe.


Vacuum Sealer


black compact vacuum sealer


A vacuum sealer is, in my opinion, a worthwhile addition to any from-scratch kitchen, but it is by no means a pre-requisite to long-term food storage or meal prep. We use our vacuum sealer not only for bone broth packs but for packaging pre-portioned servings of meat from the butcher, preserving fresh-picked fruit in the summer, and in-season veggies for the deep freezer. If you're prepping on a small scale and plan to use your bone broth packs in a relatively short period of time, good quality freezer bags should do the trick! If you're preparing packs for a few months at a time, a vacuum sealer can ensure you preserve the peak fresh flavor of the veggies and avoid any freezer burn.


Make Ahead Chicken, Red Date, and Ginger Bone Broth Freezer Packs



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Welcome to Starting Sunday, my corner of the internet where I channel that Sunday morning feeling of intentionality, optimism, and possibility—without waiting for a Monday start. Join me as I share my personal journey and insights on nutrition, motherhood, and minimalism, all while navigating the beautiful chaos of life with my spirited two-year-old. From the intricacies of hormone healing to the joys and challenges of home birth and the essentials of life with a little one, I'm excited to pour my heart into this space. Your support means so much, and I can't wait to connect with you. 

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