October 23, 2008

Embracing the descent, and ways to cook squash

Today was gorgeous. I went to visit my friend at the organic farm where she works, and was finally able to settle into and embrace the descending energy of Fall. I walked the fields and harvested spaghetti squash, buttercup squash, pumpkins, kale and plantain. Organic farms are a far cry from the "conventional" monoculture farms that use NPK fertilizers and pesticides. Here there was bounty everywhere. Nature irrepressible! The kale volunteered from a previous year's crop, and everwhere there was amaranth and lamb's quarters. Motherwort. Plantain. Grasshoppers!

Now I'll be racking my brain to come up with varied and clever ways to put the bounty to good use. I would love to hear your ideas!
  • I have visions of a squash and coconut soup with green chilis and purple potatoes.
  • A squash coconut curry sounds nice, too. With chicken!
  • Roasted squash with olive oil, rosemary, hot pepper flakes and brown sugar like they make at Whole Foods.
  • Canned squash for later.
  • Baked squash with brown sugar, cinnamon and coconut oil.
  • Some wicked garlic squash shredded like hashbrowns.
  • I'd like to turn at least one of the pumpkins into a casserole with sausage, mushrooms, onions and nuts. I'm going to bake that one in the shell :) Maybe for Turkey Day?
  • Another pumpkin will be soup that tastes like pumpkin pie, with cinnamon, coconut milk, nutmeg, clove, ginger and just a bit of extra sweetness.
  • Spaghetti squash like spaghetti! Mmm, with buffalo sausage, oregano, mushrooms and onions.
There is something deeply comforting about aligning one's rhythms with those of the Earth. I've been out of sync lately, and I have missed the primal ebb and flow of nature. I sing when I harvest, to honor the plants and their generous gifts, and also to remind myself of the Sacred Nature of food and medicine. I think it is easy to forget that food is Sacred and Healing, when we get busy, and nourishment becomes something to check off our to do lists, instead of a deeply connected and thankful act of love. Love for ourselves, love for those we feed, and appreciation for the sacrifice made by that which feeds us.

Pumpkins and Squash are sweet foods, and Traditional Chinese Medicine has a lot to teach us about the flavors and energetics of foods. Loosely quoted ~ "Sweet flavors are associated with Earth in TCM, and they have influence over Stomach and Spleen Networks. Sweet has Yang qualities. Sweet flavored foods are warming, strengthening, harmonizing, relaxing and moistening. These foods strengthen Spleen Chi, and help with acute weakness. They also nourish body fluids, relieve inner tension and stabilize one's inner center." To help warm the Stomach when eating energetically sweet foods, use a warming cooking method like roasting, baking, adding warming spices, frying or grilling.

*Source ~ Chinese Nutrition Therapy by Joerg Kastner, M.D. L.Ac.

I could have rested in that field all day, but work and dogs were calling. The sadness of Fall was profound, but so was the gratitude that I feel for the harvest and knowing that I will have good food to see me through the winter.

Green Blessings!


Heather ~ Wild Vitality! said...

Timely as ever, here is an article from Mother Earth News with recipes for Pumpkin! The shrimp bisque looks fantastic!


Shamana Flora said...

oh me gosh that is lot of squash! YUUMMY!!
Missing you too!!

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