By Monica Kar
Every year, during the dark, cold months of winter, it seems as if spring will never come. Around mid-February, summer starts to seem like a dream. But then Mother Nature starts to smile again, with carpets of green grass seeming to appear out of nowhere. Spring arrives and brings lots of showers and beautiful flowers. Overnight spring seems to turn into summer and winter is a faint memory. The circle of life!
There is so much to do in spring and summer, after the relative slow pace of winter, that preparing food seems almost like an intrusion in your day. And yet this is a wonderful time for visiting farmer's markets for fresh produce.
I grew up in northern India where, if we were lucky, we had 15 or 20 days of spring before the relentless dry heat of summer began. This was the time to eat as many watermelons, melons and local berries, like "jamun," as we could before summer arrived with at least 50 different varieties of mouth-watering sweet mangoes!
In India, it is said that if you take the time to cleanse yourself in the spring, the summer heat will not affect your body in a negative way. Bitter tastes are very cleansing and cooling, and found in many greens most generously supplied by Mother Nature at this time. For a quick, purifying tea, make organic Dandelion Tea by washing thoroughly and then boiling in water the leaves of a dandelion plant. Boil until the water is reduced by one-fourth. In this same way, using ginger root, you can prepare Ginger Tea. Both of these are good cleansers and toners for the body.
This is also a good opportunity to consider taking some time at an ayurvedic spa such as The Raj, in Fairfield, IA, to cleanse the body in a safe and supportive environment.
Here in the Midwest, the first fresh produce at our local organic store is an assortment of herbs — chives, parsley, cilantro, dill, sage, mint, oregano, basil, salad greens, etc. This is followed closely by tiny, orange, really sweet carrots, asparagus, radishes, chard, spinach, and bitter greens such as kale and arugula.
To take advantage of your fresh finds, chutneys can be made quite easily to accompany your meals:
The bounty of Nature is ours to enjoy. Let us not forget to thank nature, with every meal, for supplying us with exactly what our bodies require ...Mother Nature has been named well!
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