As we are now diving into September the itch for all things fall is getting persistent. I went to the farmers market over the weekend and picked up fresh fruit from my favorite orchard Ela Farms. They had beautiful fresh ginger gold apples and Santa Rosa plums. Which turned into this apple and plum cobbler. That is gently sweet and simple baked treat centered around seasonal ingredients that harmonizes the Earth element.
This vegan cobbler recipe is warming and nourishing. Benefiting the gut and immune system with nutrient rich seasonal fruit, immune boosting elderberries, nourishing corn based cobbler biscuit’s, and warming spices. Warming the home and our bodies. Preparing us for the transitioning season. I always love making cobbler with summer fruits so this recipe is a nice twist on a summer classic for the fall season that is creeping in on us.
Nutrition and Health According to TCM
TCM nutrition is a way to understand food and health the way nature intended. By following the seasons we eat food that is seasonally available. Using cooking techniques that do not tax the body. And approach diet on a individual basis. Looking at health conditions and using food as medicine to heal these conditions over time. While also maintaining a healthy lifestyle habits. Ensuring longevity, vitality, stamina, flexibility and strength. The seasons teach us everything we need to flow to flow through life at a natural pace.
Harmonizing the internal Earth element through lifestyle choices is all about habits that nourish the mind, body and spirit. Whatever nourishes you helps you thrive during this time of year. This can be pot lucks with friends, connecting with our community, taking time to care for ourselves especially when we are experiencing burn out symptoms. This can be extra rest, time with your hands in the Earth in the garden, drinking a daily herbal tea, yoga, meditation, dips in the river, walks in the forest. Allowing yourself to do what ever it is that keeps it calm, centered and grounded.
What Is TCM?
TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system that dates back to over 3,000 years ago. Taking a more natural and holistic approach to medicine. The foundation of understanding TCM is though the 5 Element system. How the macro cosmic energies act in the same way as the micro cosmic energies with in us. Studying the way qi moves helps us keep it flowing though the meridians of the body through food and movement practices. TCM has an ancient lineage of how this all can be mastered though many modalities of study that takes many lifetimes to understand. Committing to this way of thinking is a life long practice that keeps us mobile and clear headed through out our entire life. This is how it greatly differs from Western medical system. If you are like me seeking answers to your health problems. Here they are.
Late Summer Conditions According To TCM
The Earth Element (late summer) is best explained as the time for nourishment. Look at the abundance of food around you during this time of year. In Chinese medicine late summer is the most important time for food therapy because it is the time of year we focus on the health of our digestion while also focusing on boosting the immune system before we enter the colder months. Late summer is often characterized with heat and dampness which can cause indigestion, bloating, skin issues, inflammation and lowered immunity. Focusing on strengthening our stomach and spleen meridians can help us deal with these symptoms caused by the nature of the season. Root vegetables, dark leafy greens and cooked seasonal fruits help cleanse and strengthen the digestive system. Avoiding dairy, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, will help relieve the gut from gunk that gets stuck and tax the spleen and stomach.
Benefits of Apples, Plums, & Spices
During the Earth element we focus on mildly sweet, yellow, cooling and damp reducing foods. Especially foods that have a special affinity for the spleen and stomach. Apples, berries, plums do just that. While elderberries build our immune system. Then the warming spices nourish the health of our lungs.
Apples (ping guo) help reduce summer heat, moistens dryness, and cool heat in the lungs. Building immunity, relieving asthma, bronchitis and mucus build up. Which make them a perfect treat for the fall season also known as the Metal Element. The fruit is a excellent source of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin c. Active also as a digestive aid helping with indigestion, high blood sugar, high fat content in blood, cleansing toxic accumulations in the colon, moving body fluids, treating both constipation and diarrhea.
Plums are slightly cooling and help build body fluids and are a traditional food remedy for easing constipation and heat in the liver. Making this indulgence packed with benefits that will help you deal with the seasonal changes. Cooked fruit is always the preferred method of eating fruit in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
To learn more about foods that help you stay balanced this time of year check out the Earth element eating guide. Also try drinking a digestive herbal tea like this one made specific for staying healthy this time of year. With nutritive digestive herbs like ginger, marshmallow, calendula, fennel, hops, fenugreek, and Yerba Santa.
How To Make A Vegan Cobbler with Apple and Plum
Having a small cast iron skillet makes this recipe super quick and easy. All you have to do is chop up the fruit and add to the bottom of the pan. For the vegan corn cobbler biscuits all I did was use vegan butter and corn flour for the base and dropped spoonfuls on top of the fruit. The cobbler biscuits turned out perfectly fluffy and moist and the baked fruit was subtly sweet and will warm you right up.
Spiced Apple and Plum Cobbler
Apple and Plum Fruit Filling
- 3 apples
- 10 plums
- 3 tbsp of elderberries fresh or dried
- 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp of corn starch
- 1/2 tsp of cloves
- 1/2 tsp of cardamom
- 1/2 tsp of allspice
- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
Corn Cobbler Biscuits
- 1 cup of corn flour
- 1/4 cup of vegan butter
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 3/4 cup of nut milk
- 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
- Chop apples and plums add to mixing bowl with other ingredients.
- Add to bottom of a cast iron pan.
- Mix dry ingredients together add in wet and mix with hands.
- Use a spoon to drop in biscuit batter then add a drizzle of milk and sugar on top of each biscuit.
- Bake at 400 for 45 minutes to 1 hours until biscuits are done and slightly golden on top.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books, 2009.
“Healing Herb Directory.” White Rabbit Institute of Healing, 5 Apr. 2022, www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/.