Fall is my favorite time of year
The waking to the crisp temperatures, the food that comes into season, not feeling like your hippie deodorant failed just by walking to the mailbox. In all seriousness though one of my favorite annual activities is to go apple picking.
There is a beautiful orchard that my husband and I go to every year in Woodstock, IL called All Season’s Apple Orchard. We are never disappointed. We arrive bright and early to be one of the first people in the orchard (this is a great option if you do not have children, and want to get in/out quickly). We grab a quick breakfast of apple donuts (I wait all year for these bad boys), then jump on the “hay ride” into the orchard.
There is something very special about picking your own food, and then turning your bounty into a mouth watering dish. Did you know that the apples that you eat all year round actually come from big containers that sit in warehouses all year long? If you have never eaten an apple fresh off of a tree I highly recommend it. It is like nothing you have ever tasted before.
Another benefit to going to an orchard is that you can buy FRESH non-pasteurized local honey. The way that orchards are able to continue to have apples year after year is because they maintain their own beehives. They then sell that honey in their small shops. Local honey is not only delicious, but has also been shown to help inoculate you to the local flora. Having some troubles with outdoor allergens? Have a teaspoon or two of local honey a day. Obviously, if you are diabetic, have a low immune system, or are thinking about giving it to a small child use your common sense. You do not want to cause more problems.
Apples in Chinese Medicine
Taste: Sweet and sour
Properties of apples:
- Reduces heat (especially Summer heat)
- Generates fluids for the body in general
- Moistens dryness and cools heat in the lungs (protects lungs from cigarette smoke)
- Stimulates appetite
- Remedies indigestion. This ability is due in part to the presence of malic and tartaric acids which inhibit the growth of ferments and disease-producing bacteria in the digestive tract.
- Apples contain pectin which has been shown to remove cholesterol, toxic metals such as lead and mercury, and the residues of radiation.
- Benefits low blood sugar
- Apples and their juices are also cleansing and beneficial for the liver and gallbladder making them a useful addition to your primary medicine for soften gallstones.
Apples are high in Vitamin A and Potassium, and on average have about 107g of water. Which, is why in Chinese Medicine it moistens dryness and generates fluids. You want to be aware of what type of apples you are eating. Some apples are higher in sugar than others. Green apples are generally lower in sugar content than Honeycrisp or Fuiji. This makes green apples a better choice for detoxing. Also, Chinese Medicine is really big on “it looks like what it treats”. Ex. Beets bleed and are therefore good for the blood, walnuts look like the brain and are therefore good for the brain. Both of which have been proven by clinical studies. Beets are good for blood because they are high in iron, and walnuts are good for the brain because of the omega 3 content. In Chinese Medicine the color Green is related to the Liver/Gallbladder. This makes things that are green great for detoxing the Liver/Gallbladder.
What does all of this mean? The old slogan of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” really isn’t all that far from the truth.
Asian pears in Chinese medicine
Not really an apple, but definitely does not look like a pear
I am including them in this article because the season to pick them is mid-September, like Honeycrisp apples, and their properties are similar.
Taste: Sweet, Slightly Sour
Properties of Asian pears
- Affects the lungs. Stops coughing associated with hot lungs (dry cough)
- Moistens the lungs and throat
- Moistens dryness in general. Quenches thirst resulting from heat conditions. (This includes heat from menopause)
- Eliminates heat and excess mucus
- Clinically used for diabetes, injuries to the skin, constipation, loss of voice, gallbladder inflammation and obstruction
Asian pears are not for those with deficient digestive fire, with symptoms that include loose or watery stool, signs of coldness, and swollen pale tongue. Excessive use of pears during pregnancy may cause poor fetal development and miscarriage.
Reference: Healing With Whole Foods, p. 616 & p. 622 By Paul Pitchford
Recipe for apple chips
- 2 Medium Apples (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Honey Crisp)
Preheat oven to 200°. Cook time 2-3hrs with 1 hour of cooling.
I recommend coring the apple first, and then slice the bottom. On the thinnest setting on your mandolin slicer start slicing from the bottom of the apple. Watch your fingers! If you do not have a mandolin then use a really sharp knife. You do not want to use a serrated one.
Place your apple slices on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Season both sides of the apple slices with cinnamon. With sweeter apples I usually just put cinnamon. Be creative. You can use cinnamon and sugar, nutmeg, ginger, basically anything you would put into an apple pie.
Cinnamon in Chinese Medicine is very warming. It calms the mind, helps with menstrual cramps, and also releases the exterior (a cold with clear mucus).
Ginger is very warming as well, it helps with digestion, can help with menstrual cramps, and also releases the exterior (a cold with clear mucus).
All three (Cinnamon, Ginger, and Nutmeg) are all really great additions for people that tend to have issues with gas and bloating on a regular basis.
Cook for 2-3 hours until crisp. Half way through flip them. After they are done let them sit in the oven with the door closed for another hour. You will find that if the apple was sliced to thick that it will come out kind of spongy. It is still delicious just maybe not what you are going for. This will help them to crisp up nicely. Store apple chips at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Recipe for Asian Pears
- One Asian Pear
- Goji Berries
This is a wonderful recipe for women with menstrual disorders.
Preheat oven to 350°. Slice pears into quarters leaving the core. Season with cinnamon, ginger, walnuts and goji berries. Cook in the oven until soft. Eat warm. This dish makes a delicious snack, or breakfast.