Summer is drawing to a close and autumn is upon us. It is a time of change as children return to school and adults more often than not return to a more routine way of life. There are many changes that have occurred in nature as local summer fruits and vegetables give way to an autumn harvest.
Our bodies respond differently to the changes in food seasons. In the summertime we are drawn to cooling foods from fruits and vegetables. It is only natural given the summer heat and the need to cool off. All of those juicy blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, and plums- delicious, packed with nutrients, and cooling at the same time.
Now that autumn is approaching, our bodies crave more concentrated fuel from cooked foods. Especially if you love fruit, the fall can be a time of scrumptious roasted fruit dishes that take little preparation time, and can be a real nourishing snack or dessert. There are many fall fruits to choose from.
Why not try poached pears? They can be cooked in wine or water with some fresh orange or lemon juice and sugar to taste. I like mine sprinkled with cinnamon, a well-known healing spice. Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D. and Debora Yost in their book, Healing Spices: How To Use 50 Everyday And Exotic Spices To Boost Health And Beat Disease, report that cinnamon has been found to balance blood sugar as well reduce LDL, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels when consumed regularly. There also are many recipes for poached pears that can be found online from the simple to the simply sublime that use more creative ingredients. To learn the art of poaching pears, you might want to visit www.davidlebovitz.com. It is a wonderfully illustrated and user-friendly website.
How about some baked apples? While most of us enjoy the crunch of a tasty red or green apple, baked apples can be a delicious cooked autumn treat and also require little preparation. Nutmeg is sometimes used along with cinnamon to spice up the apples and is another healing spice. Aggarwal and Yost also point out the many benefits of nutmeg in healing, including as an antidote to anxiety and depression, and a memory booster. That is enough to convince me to add nutmeg to my kitchen spices!
If you are going to do the cooking, let it be with autumn fruits. Along with pears and apples, autumn fruits such as figs, red grapes, cranberries, and persimmons all can be roasted. Whole Foods Market has an informative webpage on roasting fall fruits, including ways to pair them, such as figs, roasted with rosemary and walnut halves, served chilled with blue or goat cheese and crackers (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/kitchen-basics-roasting-fall-fruits). Sounds yummy!
Another point to cooking with seasonal foods is that they have the best nutrients, the highest enzyme level, and the most vitality as compared to produce that is out of season. Practically speaking, eating seasonally is more economical, involves less transportation expenses and pollution, and less treatment with pesticides. These are some solid reasons for eating with the seasons!
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food.” – Hippocrates