Supportive Fall Foods

Combine seasonal fruits and vegetables with a cornucopia of herbs to support your digestion and immunity this fall.

Photo by Getty Images/Quynh Tra My Nguyen

We all have to eat, and we need whole, seasonal foods to be healthy. We need herbs and spices not only for flavor, but also to help us digest and assimilate what we eat. What we create from the earth’s harvest helps shape who we are and what we love. It sets the scope of our taste buds, priming our palates for the foods we crave and find comfort in. It provides our basic nourishment for strong bodies and vibrant minds. For me, it also provided something that I can’t really name.

More than food was given to me at the table where we dined on fish that my dad taught me how to clean and cook. The need to harvest, create, and give away was embedded in my being. The ritual of picking blackberries in August is etched in my cells. I get a little cranky if I haven’t made my annual pilgrimage to gorge at the blackberry patch to make blackberry pies by summer’s end. Harvesting the abundance and sharing it brings me such joy.

Wherever you live, there’s a river of wild or cultivated local food and herb harvests for you to dive into. Get into the kitchen with your family and reclaim your food culture. When apples are ripe, make apple cinnamon pie. When it’s almond season, make herb-salted almonds. Each season holds a craving to honor what has ripened. The following recipes feature herbs, such as astragalus, that will support your health as the fall season descends upon us.

Autumnal Astragalus

Autumn is a wonderful time of year to eat and drink astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus). This valuable, natural medicine increases our resilience and stamina and invigorates the vital force. Astragalus is an adaptogen — it restores energy levels in healthy people with its enlivening and rejuvenating effects that counteract the ravages of stress. Antiviral astragalus strengthens the body’s resistance to sickness, and builds up the immune system in preparation for the cold and flu season.

Photo by Adobe Stock/Enlightened Media

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