May is the time to rejoice in the heart-opening beauty of spring. No wonder Mother's Day comes at this time of year. In traditional Northern cultures, this is a time to celebrate fertility, Beltane, May Day, or Gale Day. Prevailing winds are gentler now and farmers watch seeds sprouting. During May, take time to honor the mother within.
This nurturing inner presence is creative, abundant, generous and compassionate. Nourish the feminine by making a healing soup with greens from the abundant earth. Green spring tonics are a time-honored tradition to encourage gentle liver and gall bladder renewal. Leafy greens, both wild and cultivated, are some of the most nutrient dense vegetables available.
This is a time when we transition from winter hibernation to summer growth. Because we are part of the earth and its cycles, it's crucial to align with this seasonal change by strengthening digestion and immunity. Certain foods and culinary herbs are specifically indicated for supporting this transition. They tend to be ones that promote digestive and eliminative function, or strengthen the immune and endocrine systems.
Rejuvenating Nettle Soup
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large shallots
- 1 inch fresh ginger root
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard
- 4 cups freshly harvested young nettle tops
- 1 cup water or vegetable stock
- Peel and dice shallots.
- Mince ginger root.
- Place oil in a soup pot, warm it to medium heat, and sauté shallots and ginger for 5 minutes.
- Add spices. Sauté for a few more minutes.
- Dice zucchini and add to the skillet. Add mustard.
- Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the water / stock and nettles.
- Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes.
** You can add marinated tempeh or roasted chicken to the soup for a delicious meal.
Healing properties of ingredients
Nettles (Urtica dioica):
Warming and drying, nettles alleviate water retention, boost our body's stores of iron and offer many other nutritive minerals. Gently cleansing, they can help mitigate the effects of seasonal allergies. Use the young, fresh leaves in soup, pasta sauce, or as tea.
Olive oil (Olea europea):
Monounsaturated and liquid at room temperature, first cold-press olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which reduce risk of heart disease, maintain a balanced cholesterol profile, and reduce the overgrowth of ulcer-inducing Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the intestines. It improves calcium levels in the blood and enhances memory function by oxygenating blood.
Writer Lisa Mase is a culinary medicine coach, food writer, translator, and folk herbalist living in Vermont. For articles and recipes, visit Lisa at www.harmonizedcookery.com.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.