In just a few short weeks, the summer warmth will fade and begin to give way to the crisp beauty of autumn. The drama of these seasonal transitions is one of the main reasons I love living in the north. I can't imagine a year without flaming leaves vivid against grey skies, the shock of the first snow fall or the excitement of seeing those first glimpses of pale green in the spring. But there's no denying that these constant fluctuations in our environment can wreak havoc on our systems, which rely on routine and tightly controlled homeostasis to keep us flourishing and well.
That's why I like to do a little extra for my body during these times of seasonal flux. Something I've found particularly useful (and delicious) is cooking up simple, nutrient-packed broths. Easy to digest and full of vegetables and herbs that nourish the body and bolster our immune systems, they're wonderfully soothing. Broths also tend to be very easy on the digestion, providing a source of easy nutrition that demands little of our digestive tracks, enabling the body a much needed breather to rest, repair and attend to other things — like protecting us from illness.
You can sip these broths from a mug like a savory tea or make them into a more substantial meal by adding vegetables, legumes, whole grains or noodles. Some, like miso, can be whipped up in an instant and the others are easy to cook in big batches and freeze to have on hand for when you need them. Here's a few of my favorites:
Ginger and Turmeric Broth
Full of warming aromatics and healthy inflammatory response properties of turmeric and Ginger, this broth is incredibly warming and soothing, great for calming an upset belly or if you're just feeling a little under the weather. Add rice, lentils and vegetables to create a more substantial meal.
- 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or put through a garlic press
- 2 tablespoons grated Ginger
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 dried red chili or 1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 cups veggie stock
- juice of 1 small lemon or lime
- Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and sauté for several minutes, until beginning to soften, then add the garlic, Ginger, turmeric and spices.
- Cook for 30 seconds to a minute longer, ensuring the onion is well coated in the spices, and then pour in the veggie stock.
- Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Strain through a sieve and then store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Soothing Coconut Milk Broth
This Thai inspired broth feels both comforting and refreshing all at once. Slip whatever vegetables you have hanging around into the broth and cook until tender to create a delicious, satisfying soup. Add rice or noodles to make a more substantial dish.
- 2 x 400g cans coconut milk
- 2 cups veggie stock
- 4 tablespoons green curry paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
- 1 green or red chili, sliced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh Ginger
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- juice of 2 limes
- Combine the coconut milk and veggie stock in a large pan placed over medium heat.
- Add the curry paste, garlic, chili and Ginger and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Cook for about 15 minutes then turn off the heat and add the coconut sugar, soy sauce and lime juice.
- Check for seasonings, adding more soy, sugar or lime as your taste dictates.
- Drink as a broth, or add in vegetables like broccoli, sliced greens, chopped mushrooms or steamed sweet potatoes or winter squash to create a meal.
Ginger Sesame Miso Broth
Miso has a deep umami flavor that is incredibly satisfying, not to mention being a fantastic source of beneficial probiotics and essential minerals and B vitamins. This recipe is designed to make one mugful — for those days you just need something comforting and restorative and you need it now. As always, feel free to add noodles or some sliced greens to make it more substantial.
- 1 tablespoon miso paste (I prefer red, but white and yellow work too)
- 1/2 - 1 tsp powdered Ginger
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2 cups freshly boiled water
- sliced scallions to garnish (optional)
- Place the miso, Ginger and sesame oil into a mug.
- Add the freshly boiled water and stir until the miso is completely dissolved.
- Garnish with thinly sliced scallions and enjoy.
Writer Danielle Charles Davies holds a Bsc in Herbal Science from Bastyr University and completed the two-year clinical training program at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism in Montpelier, VT. Her writing has appeared in Taproot, The Journal of the American Herbalist Guild, and Kindred Magazine, among others. She lives in Northern Michigan with her husband, two dogs and eight ducks. She blogs at www.bluemoonkitchen.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 sell any product.