Cauldron Craft: Making Magical Stocks + Broths
By Kalyn Anderson/sweetbitterritual
The kitchen is an inherently magical place...it's often considered the "hearth" of the home, it's where we conjure up nourishment for our bodies, where we commune and share with our loved ones, and a place where many of us hold fond memories of family and traditions. Cooking is one of those activities that most of us simply HAVE to do day-to-day, whether we want to or not. So why not add some intention and make it into a magical experience? Kitchen witchery is the act of using ingredients with magical correspondences and/or imbuing your food with magical intention as you cook.
Because cooking + eating is something almost every adult human does, kitchen witchery is also perfect for witches "in the broom closet"...no one has to know that broth you're sipping has been charmed with intentions of abundance! I'm going to be talking specifically about brewing up magical broths + stocks here, but if kitchen witchery has piqued your interest, I highly recommend checking out the Kitchen Witch Zine! (If breakfast is more you're thing, I also wrote an Oat Bowl Spell for Nourishment at the beginning of this year!)
What's so magical about broth?
You may be wondering what could possibly be so exciting about something that generally serves as a BASE for other flavors...but stocks + broths are (in my opinion) one of the easiest ways to work some SERIOUS kitchen witchery while ALSO reducing kitchen waste!! Busy combinations of vegetables, herbs, and spices that may be overwhelming all together on a plate become something more subtle and DELICIOUS when made into a broth. If you're a meat-eater, a hearty bone broth also makes an easy grab-and-go snack to sip all on its own (although using raw bones rather than/in addition to roasted scraps will add more nutrition and richness)!
Instead of throwing away vegetable scraps, just add them to a freezer-bag and tuck them away in the freezer until you have enough to make a stock! You could even label + store your scraps with different magical associations in different bags to make spell-crafting easier on the fly...but for today we'll be talking about some ingredients associated with protection.
Why protection? Autumn (and especially October) is a time when the veil separating the physical/spirit worlds is thin...which means energetic boundaries of ALL kinds could usually use some extra tending this time of year. This isn't just about magical/spiritual protection, though! Many spices/herbs that are magically associated with protection are also PHYSICALLY associated with strengthening our immune response...which is another important aspect of protection as the seasons shift! Making a delicious broth doesn't have to take a lot of active time (passive time spent simmering is another story), and you can feel great knowing you've done something special to tend to your own nourishment and protection!
Making a Stock: The Basics
Making a stock is simple and leaves a lot of room for experimentation, but here's the basic process (adapted from the one found in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat):
- Add all your ingredients (there's a list of ideas below) to a large stockpot and add about 7 quarts water.
- Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. If working with bones, add 1 tsp. of white wine vinegar to help draw out nutrients + minerals.
- Simmer uncovered for 6-8 hours, checking occasionally to make sure it stays at a simmer. Letting it come back to a boil can result in a filmy/cloudy stock, especially if working with bones.
- Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and allow to cool. If any fat rises to the top, scrape it off and save for cooking or discard.
Stock should keep for about 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer, so this also gives you a way to save a spell for a rainy day!
Techniques for the Kitchen Witch
Now you know how to make a stock...but how do we make it MAGICAL? The same way we make most "ordinary" things magical...with INTENTION!
-You can infuse your broth with intention by speaking your desired outcome out loud as you stir.
-Stir clock-wise when calling things IN, or counter-clockwise to cast things OUT. Being specific about your intention is important here. For instance, when making a protection broth you could either focus on banishing negative or harmful energies OR on calling in protective energies...or a little of both! The important thing is that you know why you're doing what you're doing and why you're using the ingredients you're using!
- Up the ante on your kitchen witchery by incorporating some color magic into your table-setting! For protection, you could opt for black, white, or red serving-ware or even add some crystals for protection like Black Tourmaline at the center of the table with a black or white candle!
- Add some actual crystal magic to your stock (safely) by adding a few drops of our Black Tourmaline gem essence...perfect for protection!
Ingredients for Protection
Personally, choosing ingredients is my favorite part of kitchen witchery. I love learning about the magical correspondences of common kitchen ingredients and also creating my own based on my own food memories and experiences!! The list of magical ingredients is pretty much endless, so for now we'll focus on a few of my protective favorites that would go perfectly in any stock! One of the great things about creating stocks is that there are very few hard + fast rules when it comes to ingredients, so you can find a basic recipe and then make your own adjustments based on magical intention or flavor preferences! Trust your intuition (and your tastebuds)!!
- Salt | Salt is one of the most accessible and valuable tools in any witch's arsenal...and kitchen witches are no exception! Salt is especially good for cleansing + banishing, so visualize a warm light of protection surrounding anyone who will eat this food as you sprinkle some in!
- Bay | Bay leaves are often used in wish-making magic, but they're also a powerful ally when working protection magic...and one of the only palatable ways to EAT them is by adding a few leaves to a pot of broth...just make sure you remove them before eating!!
- Black Pepper | Black Pepper brings some fiery energy to the table (literally) to help banish any mischevious or unwanted energies that may be hanging about!
- Garlic | Garlic is a plant with a LONG history of use in folk magic all around the world. Obviously it adds delicious flavor to broths + stocks, but it's also an all-around protection superstar! Garlic can help offer spiritual protection, but eating garlic can also help keep our immune system healthy, giving us some much-needed protection in the physical realm as the seasons change!
- Parsley | Parsley can help strengthen your "psychic armor", allowing you to hold healthy boundaries around your intuition and connection to the spiritual world. This can be a great herbal ally for those who feel they "pick up" the emotions of others too easily.
- Rosemary | Rosemary is EVERYWHERE in witchcraft, it seems--and it's been used in religious and magical ceremonies for centuries! This is another herb of Fire and purification, so if you're not a big fan of Black Pepper, throw a couple sprigs of rosemary into the pot!
- Onion | Though the humble onion may seem ordinary, they're actually an incredible magical tool! Some witches even keep an onion cut in half in their kitchen to absorb negative or malicious energy! If you're not into keeping an onion on your counter, intentionally incorporating onions into a stock or broth is a great way to work some banishing + protection magic! A good rule of thumb: when it comes to casting out ~bad vibes~ of any kind, the nose knows! Many herbs for purification are a little *pungent* in their raw form (think garlic, onion, horseradish).
- Potato | Potato can help bring a more grounding protective energy to your stock, helping you stay firmly rooted in your authentic self and your values. It's much harder to be taken in by trickster energy or our ego's own self-sabotaging mind tricks when we feel firmly rooted in our spirit and our body!
That's it!! Now all that's left to do is pick the ingredients for YOUR perfect protection potion, throw them in the pot, work your magic, and voila! A nourishing and protective stock that you can use for sipping, soups, stuffing, or cooking grains like rice or couscous (which adds WAY more flavor than cooking in water)! Happy kitchen-witching!!
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