Throughout the year, nature provides us with the appropriate foods to protect us from the climate, support our health, and keep us in balance. Becoming aware of seasonal foods and seasonal eating habits can attune us to the natural cycles of nature, and our bodies.
Fall is the harvest season for rich, dense foods that support and fuel the body, providing additional heat to protect us from the cooler, damper climate. The concentrated foods and roots available at this time also "thicken" the blood in order to keep us warm in cooler weather. Our diet should shift toward foods rich in protein-fat and whole grains. These complex carbohydrates may lead to a few added pounds put on during the season, so it's important to keep active. Preparing foods in harmony with this season means cooking with more astringent, sour foods. Some foods
that are sour to include in your diet are - sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rose hip tea, vinegar, cheese, yogurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and sour varieties of apples, plums, and grapes. Be careful with extremely sour food, because small amounts have strong affects upon the body and blood pressure. (Avoid large amounts of sour foods if you have a history of high blood pressure.)
Our appetites are also stimulated by the fragrance of aromatic flavors and spices. Other foods that are useful during the Fall are pungent foods. These foods both cleanse and protect the lungs and large intestine. Some pungent foods are - garlic, turnip, ginger, horseradish, cabbage*, radish*, daikon, and white peppercorn.
To help boost your Wei Qi, consume dark green and golden-orange vegetables. They are high in beta carotene and appear to protect the lungs and large intestine against illness. Carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, broccoli, parsley, kale, turnip, mustard greens, and blue green algae are foods to consume this time of year. You may also want to use herbs such as ginseng, yerba santa, nettles, mullein, and astragalus.
Adding the above foods to your daily diet may help bolster your immunity and support the health of your lungs during the autumn season.
Fall Recipe: Dry Cough Pear & Almond Soup
5 ripe pears
4 handful of almonds
2 quarts of water
fresh mint leaves
Cut pears in half and remove stem and seeds. Chop into small pieces. Place four handfuls of almonds and fruit in water. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add honey and mint to taste. Drink one to two cups daily to enhance the Lung function and prevent dry coughs of autumn.
Pear – A Fruit of the Season
Pears are a wonderful fall fruit that are not only delicious, but a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes. There are over 3,000 varieties of pears today, but pears have been used as food since prehistoric times as drawings in pile dwellings in Lake Zurich have shown them. Its origins are in China and Asian Minor. The Romans cultivated and cooked them. In Homer’s Odyssey, the pear was said to be one of the most precious gifts offered to humans by the gods.
Pears have been valued for their medicinal benefits for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), pears are used to detoxify, regenerate body fluids, reduce cough and moisten the lungs and large intestines, moisten the skin, heal wounds. It’s good for coughing with phlegm, dry or hoarse throat, constipation, lesions on the skin and dry skin. A raw pear is 84% water and 15% carbohydrates. It’s a good source of dietary fiber and it’s high in B complex vitamins, vitamins C and K, potassium, and trace minerals. So pick up some pears today and enjoy this beneficial fruit.
Chinese Pear Soup
For a more traditional Chinese recipe, try this pear soup.
2 Asian pears, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters
2 clumps of white fungus, bai mu er, soak in water until soft, then rinsed
2 ounces dried lily bulb, about ¼ cup, rinsed
4 cups of water
Honey or brown sugar, a tablespoon or a little more to add some sweetness
Bring water to a boil over medium heat, add pears and cook until softened, about 10-15 minutes. Add dried lily bulbs and cook for about 5 more minutes. Don’t overcook the lily bulbs because they will disintegrate and make the water cloudy. Turn off heat. Add the softened white fungus then stir. Add honey or brown sugar to sweeten. Enjoy hot or cool.
You can find the white fungus, also called Bai Mu Er, at Lotte, maybe HMart, and online. Dried lily bulbs, not lily flower, are a bit harder to find, but they can be found online or locally at the Eden Center in Falls Church. Since fall is the time to collect lily bulbs, some stores will have fresh lily bulbs in the refrigerated section. This soup is good for the lungs, skin, and intestines.
For more pear recipes, check out the links below.
11 Surprising Benefits of Pears
Pears: The Forgotten Fall Fruit
Additional Recipe Links for Website:
Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/spiced-red-wine-poached-pears-recipe-1917827
Baked Pears with Walnuts and Honey: http://www.skinnytaste.com/baked-pears-with-walnuts-and-honey/
Cider-Poached Pears with Yogurt and Toasted Almonds Recipe
1 cup apple cider
1/2 freshly squeezed orange juice
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 Bosc pears, peeled, halved, and cored
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
In a small pan over medium-high heat, bring cider, orange juice, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and star anise to a boil. Place pears face down in the pan. Lower heat and simmer gently until a knife inserted into the pears meets no resistance, about 10-20 minutes. Once pears are tender, kill heat and let cool in pan. Remove to serving plates and set aside. Over medium heat, reduce remaining poaching liquid to a glaze. Pour over pears. Mix orange zest with yogurt. Dollop equally on pears. Sprinkle almonds over yogurt. Serve.