Food is Medicine
We hear the above phrase often. One of the things I've always loved about Chinese herbal medicine is how accessible so many of the "herbs" are, because they're actually foods and spices. Ginger, scallion, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, raspberries - these are all considered herbs and yet we use may of them daily.
Hawthorn berry (known as shān zhā) is a personal favorite of mine. It's sweet and sour and tart and I could eat them by the fistful. As an added bonus, it promotes digestion of heavier or greasier foods, making it the perfect addition to a holiday meal. Along with orange peel (known as chén pí, another Chinese herb that's good for the stomach) they blend harmoniously into cranberry sauce for a delicious twist on a holiday classic.
Not sure where to acquire hawthorn berry? Click the link and you can order directly from The East | West Company apothecary and we'll ship it directly to your home. It's the perfect solution if you're traveling, too - we can ship to any address you like and it'll be waiting for you!
Hawthorn Cranberry Sauce Recipe
~ 2 cups fresh cranberries
~ 1 cup dried hawthorn berries
~ 1 cup water
~ 1/2 cup sugar or honey, with additional reserved to taste
~ 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1. Wash cranberries and hawthorn berries separately, setting cranberries to the side.
2. Boil enough water to cover the hawthorn berries and soak for 10 - 15 minutes, until the berries soften. Remove the pits by picking them out. Be sure to get all of them as they are very, very hard and sometimes very small. Drain, and discard water.
3. Repeat step 2, ensuring all pits have been removed.
4. Chop the softened hawthorn berries or pulse in a food processor or blender
5. Place hawthorn berries in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add cranberries, bring to a boil again. Reduce heat and simmer until the cranberry skins burst, about 8-10 minutes. Add any additional sugar or honey to taste during this process until it reaches the desired sweetness (additional sweetener may not be needed).
7. Add orange zest and smash the berries a bit. Allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Dr. Elizabeth Collins