As we move into a new season, and if you’re in Los Angeles, 100+ temperatures feel like they’ll never let up, paying even closer attention to the foods hitting the farmers markets can be a good way to connect with Earth’s shifting relationship to the Sun. Fresh jujubes or red dates, a round fruit with edible skin is in abundance in the autumn. Green when harvested, they can be crunched raw, and when dried they turn a deep reddish brown to be brewed into teas, broths and stews, bestowing a rich sweet and sour flavor to a dish. Jujubes are used medicinally to help circulate the blood and nourish the liver, and supplements the blood with vitamin C. They are also considered to have a slight sedative and soporific effect, which can help ease the fire of mental and physical restlessness. Jujubes, like goji berries, are potent medicinal foods, to be used and consumed sparingly, and with intention.
Used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine, and in the west more commonly seen in powdered ‘superfood’ form, look for fresh moringa in the fall— their green, silver dollar leaves are highly nutritious and so delicious, an appealing alternative to spinach or arugula. Densely packed with vitamin B6 which is thought to be good for hormonal regulation, moringa is also a good source of iron, which is important for preparing for childbirth. The leaves have a bite to them raw and can be used in smoothies or juices, but are also delicious in savory soups. Tear off the leaves, and throw a handful in to a soup or stew at the last minute to retain their vibrant green. In the MotherBees kitchen we’re using moringa right now in our Seasonal Greens Soup, which gives the mothers we serve more than their daily dose of fortifying greens.