Tuesday, December 21st was Winter Solstice, the very shortest day of the year. Days are now growing longer, the quality of light is at its most ethereal and majestic, and every living thing seems to glow and sing!
The winter solstice is known in some ancient traditions as the Return of the Sun, which refers both to the sun itself and to our inner light and wisdom. I am struck by the similarity here to Ayurveda, where Agni is said to grow strongest inside the body during the winter. Agni is light, heat and fire – an essential force of intelligence and vitality, ruling digestion and metabolism in the physiology.
This waxing of this inner flame is of course excellent for the midwinter feast season, when we need as much digestive fire as we can get!
Onions and garlic are excellent digestive stimulants, as are popular winter herbs and spices like oregano, rosemary, thyme, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fennel, anise, and cardamom. Many of these same spices can also boost mood and energy – so enjoy the flavors of the season this winter and let your inner light shine, shine, shine!
Here is a quick and delicious recipe to warm you up!
(Makes two generous servings – adjust as needed)
- 2-3 cups unfiltered organic apple juice
- 1 organic flavorful orange or Meyer lemon (or combination) – trim ends, slice into thin rounds, discard seeds
- ¼ cup water
- ~2 Tbs maple syrup or regular sugar
- 1 two to three-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into several smaller pieces
- 1 one to two-inch piece of fresh turmeric peeled and cut into several smaller pieces
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ½ twist of fresh ground black pepper
On stovetop, combine water, maple syrup, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon and stir on low heat until just warmed and combined. Add citrus slices and apple juice and simmer on low heat for five to ten minutes for flavors to blend. Turn off heat, add black pepper and stir. Remove large pieces of ginger and turmeric and serve warm to hot with some citrus slices and a cinnamon stick in each cup. Voilà!
Yes, dry spices can be substituted for fresh ones!
Yes, this can become an “adult beverage” with a splash of spirits!
Please don’t use honey unless you are adding it after the heat is off (honey doesn’t like to be cooked.)
Cheers, and Happy Holidays!!!