healthy recipes

Eating with the Seasons

  • Discover the connection between your diet and your health
  • Learn recipes that will help you keep balanced in each season
  • Stay healthy and strong all year!

Alaska Center for Acupuncture
Great Seasonal Recipes

Font Size

A seasonal approach to eating is a fundamental principle in Chinese medicine. To stay healthy throughout the year the of foods that you eat should change to some degree to match the unique qualities and demands inherent in each season.

To learn more about each season and corresponding recipes, please click through the tabs below. We will be adding to our recipes regularly so be sure to check back from time to time.

In Spring, be sure to include plenty of tender, leafy greens and herbsWatercress that arise with the intense Alaskan spring season. For example, dandelion greens, watercress, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, rainbow chard, romaine lettuce, and fresh parsley are all rich with nutrients and will help energize your day. Additionally, you can try sprouting. Growing your own nutritious sprouts is easy and can be done in a just a few days with seeds and a sprouting jar. Lastly, put chickweed to good use by adding this nourishing weed to your salads.

Spring Recipes:

  • Beet Kvass--- From "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig p. 610

    download pdf

    Makes 2 quarts

    • Beets3 medium or 2 large organic beets, peeled and chopped coarsely
    • ¼ cup whey (see below)
    • 1 Tbsp sea salt
    • filtered water

    This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalized the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments. Beet kvass may also be used in place of vinegar in salad dressings and as an addition to soups.

    Place the beets, whey and salt in a 2-quart glass container. Add filtered water to fill the container. Stir well and cover securely. Keep at room temperature for two days before transferring to the refrigerator.

    When most of the liquid has been drunk, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature for another two days. The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first. After the second brew, discard the beets and start again. You may, however, reserve some of the liquid and use this as your inoculants instead of the whey.

    Note: Do not use grated beets in the preparation of beet tonic. When grated, beets exude too much juice resulting in a too rapid fermentation that favors the production of alcohol rather than lactic acid.

    Whey and Cream Cheese - Adapted from "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig p. 87

    Start with high quality, plain (unsweetened) yogurt such as "Nancy's" organic or "Brown Cow". Always use whole milk yogurt, not low fat or no fat varieties.

    Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dish towel or cheese cloth folded over several times. Pour in the yogurt, cover and let stand at room temperature for several hours. The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer. Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready. Store whey in a mason jar and cream cheese in a covered glass container. Refrigerated, the cream cheese keeps for about one month and the whey for about 6 months. The cream cheese, which is a by-product from making whey, is far 1 superior to the commercial variety, which is produced by putting milk under high pressure and not by the beneficial action of lactic-acid producing bacteria

    Whey is also great for helping with digestion – one tablespoon of whey in a little water will help digestion. It also helps to keep joints movable and ligaments elastic.

  • Rejuvelac--- From "Healing with Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford

    download pdf

    Rejuvelac is a fermented drink that provides an inexpensive source of friendly bacteria helpful for creating healthy intestinal flora.

    • 2 cups wheat berries or quinoa
    • 1 quart water

    Soak 2 cups of wheat berries for one day. Discard soak water. Soft white wheat berries work best, although I prefer quinoa. Rinse berries/quinoa and soak again in a jar containing one quart water. Cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth or sprout screen and let stand for two days. Pour off rejuvelac. Add one quart of water to the wheat. After one day, pour off second batch of rejuvelac and compost wheat. Begin soaking more wheat berries/quinoa to make a fresh batch of rejuvelac.

    Makes 4 cups

    Rejuvelac tastes a little sour, somewhat like whey. If too sour, reduce the fermentation time. If it tastes foul, discard. This happens if it ferments for too long or the wheat is poor quality. Rejuvelac brews faster in hot weather. Once made, keep refrigerated.

    For a stronger sour drink: after rejuvelac is first made, refrigerate it and keep wheat berries in the jar. Each time you pour off a drink, refill the container. Rejuvelac can be kept for several weeks.

    Note: I have used Rejuvelac instead of whey in the Beet Kvass recipe. This works well for people who cannot tolerate dairy products at all.

  • Sweet and Sour Root Vegetable Side Salad--- Recipe by Samantha Berg

    download pdf

    • 1 medium sized organic beet
    • 2 medium sized organic carrots
    • 1 medium sized organic apple - fuji, pink lady etc.
    • 1 organic lemon
    • 1 thumb sized piece of organic fresh ginger

    Peel beet, apple, and ginger. Wash carrots. Chop vegetables and ginger into big chunks and add to food processor. Spin until shredded but not soupy. Remove from food processor and place into large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice into veggie mixture. Serve immediately.

    Optional: For a slightly more sour flavor, use a cheese grater to remove some lemon peel before juicing the lemon. Add shredded lemon peel to salad.

    This is a great cleansing salad to eat first thing in the morning as an alternative to juicing. And while it’s using mostly autumn vegetables, this preparation is great for the spring in that helps detoxify the liver and Gall Bladder. This also goes great as a side-salad with meat, fish or any meal.

In Summer, you generally want to eat light, cooling foods. Grilled or stir-friedGrilled Vegetables vegetables and colorful salads along with wild salmon and halibut are tasty healthy staples for summer dining. Collect wild berries, and sample raw local honey and be sure to enjoy fresh fruits in season like, peaches, melon, plums and cherries. Eat vegetables like summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and corn. Take full advantage of fresh herbs like peppermint, cilantro and basil.

Summer Recipes:

  • Two Easy Homemade Salad Dressings

    download pdf

    Balsamic Combo Dressing – Makes ½ Cup

    • ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
    • ¼ cup Extra Virgin olive oil
    • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
    • Add organic ketchup and organic maple syrup to taste

    Combine the vinegar and oil in a container with a lid. Start by adding a tablespoon of ketchup and a couple of teaspoons of maple syrup. Shake well. Salad For more of a tangy flavor, add more ketchup, for more sweetness, add maple syrup. You can experiment to find a balance that works.

    This dressing adds a a tangy, sweet flavor to any salad. We like to put it on a combination of fresh mixed greens or baby spinach with tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, chopped bell peppers, roasted pecans and blue cheese or goat's cheese. It's a great base to start with, and then you can add fresh herbs in season or dried herbs work well too.

    Some of our favorite combinations and substitutions:

    1. Add chopped fresh, thyme, tarragon, garlic and oregano
    2. Substitute raw apple cider vinegar for the balsamic
    3. Substitute raw honey for the maple syrup (use less)
    4. Use your own homemade herb infused vinegars
    5. Add some naturally brewed soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos

    Miso and Lime Dressing

    • ¼ Cup Miso Paste – available in the natural foods section at Fred Meyer or Carr's - white miso yields a mild flavor, red or brown is stronger
    • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Juice from one lime

    Combine the miso, lime and oil in a small bowl and mix well. Taste for balance and adjust ingredients. Drizzle over your salad. This dressing is thicker and has a stronger, salty/savory flavor, but still combines well with a variety of vegetables

    Substitutions and Changes for Miso Dressing:

    1. Use lemon instead of lime
    2. Use sesame oil instead of olive oil
    3. Add some plain organic yogurt
    4. Use your own homemade herb infused vinegars
    5. Add some chopped fresh ginger or chopped fresh garlic
  • Rhubarb with Lemon, Ginger and Agave Nectar

    download pdf

    • 2-3 cups chopped rhubarb – small chunks are better
    • juice from one large lemon
    • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
    • organic agave nectar (organic maple syrup or raw honey both work too)

    Put the rhubarb in a pot with a small amount of water. Bring it to a boil then bring it back down to a simmer. Add lemon juice and ginger, then cover the pot. Simmer for at least ½ hour to 45 minutes. At this point the rhubarb will be very tart. Add small amounts of agave nectar until desired balance of tartness and sweetness is reached. Simmer for another 15 minutes to half an hour. Add liquid if needed to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. This makes a great stand alone dessert treat on its own, or you can use it as a topping on yogurt or ice cream.

    Organic agave nectar is available in the natural food section at Fred Meyer and Carrs. Agave nectar (also called agave syrup) is a sweetener produced in Mexico from several species of agave including Agave tequilana (also called Blue Agave or Tequila Agave)

    Agave nectar has a low gycemic index, which means it won't cause your blood sugar level to sky rocket like other sweeteners. Organic agave is best so you don't have to worry about unhealthy chemicals or pesticides. Agave is sweeter than sugar, so you need less. Another advantage of using agave is it has a neutral taste. Maple syrup and honey both impart distinctive flavors – so when you want to add sweetness without changing flavor, agave is an excellent choice.

    In Chinese Medicine, rhubarb is recognized for its ability to stimulate the liver to produce bile salts, helps increase digestive juices and also helps the intestines regulate the absorption of fats. However, it is considered to be energetically cooling to the digestive system. So, while it is useful for treating constipation, it can cause loose stools in some individuals whose digestive systems are inherently weak from cold. Adding ginger to the rhubarb helps to balance its effects, as ginger is warming to the spleen and stomach.

In Autumn, turn towards the more warming, autumn harvest foods, includingBlueberries carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic. You also want to emphasize the more warming spices and seasonings in your cooking (i.e. cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, garlic peppercorns, mustard seeds, and curries). A healthy treat can be had by roasting or baking fall fruits like pears and apples or wild Alaskan berries. Autumn is a good time to switch emphasis from salads and stir-fries to more soups, stews and vegetable roasts.

Autumn Recipes:

  • Roasted Root Vegetables

    download pdf

    Use any combination of the following: carrots, beets, any variety of potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, turnips, celery, onion and garlic. Roasted Vegetables

    You can peel whatever you like, but I usually leave skins on the potatoes and carrots. Chop veggies into bite sized pieces. I chop the onions but leave the garlic in whole cloves. Toss with olive oil, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper to taste.

    Cover and cook veggies in a large casserole dish for about an hour at 375 degrees or until veggies are soft, approximately 1 hour. Makes a great side dish and also works well for reheating in a crock pot the next day.


    • Add some homemade chicken or beef stock if you have it for flavor prior to cooking
    • For a more savory dish, leave out the sweet potatoes and squash and add more garlic and onions, and cook with rosemary, thyme and sage.
    • For a sweeter dish, leave out the garlic, go light on the onion, and add more sweet potato, squash, beets and carrots. Add a chopped apple or two and some cinnamon and ginger.
    • You can also sauté chicken, sausages, or red meat and add to the veggies for a more substantial dish.
    • Also tastes wonderful served with cheese on top – we like blue cheese, parmesan or sheep's milk feta cheese.
  • Apple Cobbler--- from "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig

    download pdf

    Serves 6

    • 8 tart apples
    • Juice of 1-2 lemons (lime is OK too)
    • Grated rind of 1 lemon (lime rind OK too)
    • 1 tablespoon Arrowroot powder* (see below)
    • 2 tablespoons Rapadura (dehydrated sugar cane juice – can also use turbinado sugar or Sucanat, or organic sugar)
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¾ cup crispy almonds* (see below)Apple Cobbler
    • ¾ cup arrowroot or bulgur flour
    • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
    • ¼ Rapadura
    • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Peel and core apples and cut into slices. Toss with lemon juice. Mix Rapadura, lemon rind, arrowroot and cinnamon together and toss with the apples. Place in a buttered baking or soufflé dish. Place almonds in a food processor and process to a powder. Add butter, arrowroot or bulgur flour, Rapadura, vanilla and salt and process until smooth. Crumble this mixture on top of the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream.

    Variation: Peach Cobbler
    Use 8 ripe peaches in place of the apple.

    Variation: Blueberry Cobbler
    Use 6 cups blueberries in place of apples and omit cinnamon

    Sam's Variations:
    I have used this recipe with all kinds of berries from fresh to frozen. You can even prepare it with a combination of strawberries and rhubarb – just make sure to cook the rhubarb a little first, because the hour cooking time is not necessarily enough to cook the rhubarb on its own. Most often I use mixed frozen organic berries and leave out the cinnamon.

    If you don't want to make the crispy nuts, regular nuts work fine. I prefer pecans to almonds for the buttery flavor, but a combination of half almonds, half pecans also works well. Walnuts also taste good. And I have made a half almond, half shredded coconut version as well.

    As far as sweetener goes, I usually substitute organic maple syrup for the Rapadura, and I use less. If the berries seem tart, I might pour a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup on top before cooking, but I use very little in the crumble, more like 1/8 cup instead of ¼ cup of Rapadura. Be aware that using the maple syrup in the crumble changes the texture a little, so you may need to add more nuts or arrowroot to keep it crumbly. I have not tried honey, which tends to be sweeter, so I would also recommend using it sparingly to start.

    Crispy Almonds – Makes 4 cups

    Benefits of soaking, sprouting and roasting nuts = they are more digestible, nutritious, and contain less "anti-nutrients" such as enzyme inhibitors, so they are less hard on the mouth and digestive organs.

    • 4 cups almonds, preferably raw and skinless
    • 1 tablespoon sea salt
    • Filtered water

    Skinless almonds will still sprout, indicating that the process of removing their skins has not destroyed the enzymes. (the skins are probably removed by a machine process.) Skinless almonds are easier to digest and more satisfactory in many recipes. However you may also use almonds with the skins on.

    Mix almonds with salt and filtered water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven ( no more than 150 degrees) for 12 -24 hours, stirring occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container.

    This recipe works well with pecans, walnuts, raw peanuts, hazelnuts, and cashews

    (From "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig)
    Arrowroot flour, the only starch with a calcium ask, is a nutritious food, obtained from the fleshy root stock of a tropical American plant. It is an easily digested food well fitted for infants and the convalescent.

    It resembles cornstarch in being white, fine and powdery. When heated in water in certain portions, it thickens to form a jelly, an excellent thickening agent. It is also considered ore desirable for gravies, sauces and pastries than some of the more common starches and flours. It is used primarily for food in dietetic use, where it enjoys a reputation for smoothness and palatability.

    Arrowroot was once widely used in baby formulas as a superior carbohydrate, experience having shown it agreed with babies better than any other starch or sugar. We now find the reason. It is the only starch product with a calcium ash. In this regard, the calcium chloride, in the form of calcium found in arrowroot starch, is very important for the maintenance of proper acid and alkali balances in the human body.

    Arrowroot only thrives on tidal flats where the sea minerals are available. Its known health-building properties may be due to trace minerals from the sea, as well as from the calcium it gets from the sea water. If it is used in ice cream formulas in place of cornstarch, arrowroot imparts a vanilla-like flavor and a smooth texture Arrowroot as it comes to you is not a refined product.; it is simply the dried and powdered root Royal Lee, DDS Journal of the National Academy of Research Biochemists.

In Winter, you want to turn even more exclusively toward warming foods.Winter Soup As a general hint, foods that take longer to grow are more warming than foods that grow quickly. Most animal products fall into the warming category (i.e. moose, beef, lamb, and venison). Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic and sweet potato are all great for the winter months. Eggs and nuts are good too!

Winter Recipes:

  • Baked Squash

    download pdf

    Main ingredients:

    • Organic Butternut Squash or Organic Acorn Squash
    • Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Nutiva Brand – available at Fred Meyer – is great!)

    Optional ingredients: pecans, cooked fresh cranberries, chopped/sautéed apples and raisins, cumin, ginger (raw or powdered), cinnamon, maple syrup, raw honey, agave nectar, butter, sea salt.

    Directions: Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice squash in half. Scoop out seeds with a spoon. Using a butter knife, coat the inside and edge of squash with a thin layer of coconut oil. Place each half of squash face down on a foil covered baking sheet. Depending on the size of the squash, baking time will be from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours. Cooked squash will be very soft and slightly caramelized – cooking too long will dry them out. Remove squash from oven and turn over so they are face up.

    Basic: Put a pat or two of butter in the center of the squash, sprinkle cumin or ginger or cinnamon; add a dash of maple syrup. Serve warm.

    Fancy: Chop and sauté apples in butter with some raisins and toasted pecans, a pinch of sea salt and some raw honey. Spoon into center of squash and serve warm.

    Colorful: 2 cups of fresh cranberries will cook in about 5 minutes. Put them in a pot with a small amount of water at the bottom. With the temperature on high, they will start to pop and split in a matter of minutes. Lower heat and stir frequently. Add chopped fresh ginger and agave nectar or maple syrup to taste. (Fresh cranberries are very tart – so taste them-you may need more sweeteners) Spoon the warm cranberry mixture on top of buttered squash. Looks gorgeous!

  • Congee Recipe

    download pdf

    Congee is a soup made out of grains (traditionally rice, but any grains will work). The grains are slow cooked overnight, making them easily digestible. Congee harmonizes, warms and nourishes your digestive system.

    • 1 cup rice (brown or sweet brown or some combination of both)
    • 5-7 cups water Congee - Traditional chinese porridge rice gruel

    Bring rice and water to a boil then set on lowest heat setting for gas stove or between warm and low for electric. Cover and cook overnight (about 8 hours). Congee will look like oatmeal in the morning.

    For a great breakfast, add sea salt, raw honey, toasted walnuts, dates and butter or ghee (clarified butter) and serve with a little milk or rice milk. To eat congee for lunch or dinner, reheat with a little chicken broth and serve with chopped veggies like kale, carrots and onions. You can also add some cooked beef or chicken. Congee is easy to reheat, so use what you want for each meal and leave the rest in the fridge. I make a huge pot at the beginning of the week so I can have it available for quick meals anytime.

    Congee Variation

    • 1/4 C. Rice
    • 1/4 C. Quinoa
    • 1/4 C. Barley
    • 1/4 C. Yellow mung beans – soaked and rinsed first
    • 7 C. water

    Cook according to above instructions. This congee is higher in protein and tastes better with savory foods. And it still tastes good for breakfast with a little sea salt. Feel free to experiment with different grain combinations that sound good to you.

  • Soup Stock

    download pdf

    Quick soup stock tip from Sam and Kevin:

    We save all of our vegetable scraps (carrot peeling and tops, celery bottoms, potato peelings, onion peelings, broccoli stems, kale stems etc.) in the freezer in plastic bags. We also save the bones when we cook a whole chicken or other meat. Once we have plenty of scraps (2-3 bags worth) it all goes in the stock pot, we fill the pot with water, add some vinegar and everything cooks overnight. Sometimes we add extra ginger or garlic as well. We strain the stock in the morning and then freeze the broth in large containers to use for making soup at a later time.

    Chicken Stock - from "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon p.124

    • 1 Whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones or wingsChicken Stock
    • Gizzards from one chicken (optional)
    • Feet from the chicken (optional)
    • 4 quarts cold filtered water
    • 2 tablespoons vinegar
    • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
    • 1 bunch parsley

    If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them – they are full of gelatin. (Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth.) Even better, use a whole chicken, with the head on. These maybe found in Oriental markets. Farm raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

    Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

    Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. (The skin and smaller bones, which will be very soft, may be given to your dog or cat.) Strain the stock in to a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fast rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.

Back to top