Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Autumn Flavors: Fresh Ginger Root & Apple Salad


A fundamental teaching of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that food is the basis of all healing and health.  The body's job is to transform food into usable nutrients which then nourish all the tissues and organ systems;  how well it does this depends greatly on the quality of the food taken in. Whole unprocessed foods and medicinal herbs are thought to possess inherent energetic qualities which can balance and strengthen the body. Depending on the season, the climate and one's stage in life, specific foods are chosen according to their individual properties to ensure good health.

Pungent, spicy foods such as ginger root (also onions and garlic) are associated with the respiratory system, as are foods which are light or white in color (such as rice and pears).  It's traditional to incorporate some of these foods into the diet in the autumn, when the respiratory system is vulnerable to the seasonal changes in temperature and daylight. A classic example of this use of food is rice porridge laced with sliced green onion and fresh ginger root,  a well known home remedy for colds and flus.

This grated ginger- apple salad has been in my autumn repertoire for many years. The sweet tart fragrance of autumn apples contrasts beautifully with the pungent ginger root and creates a refreshing and deliciously simple dish. Flavorful apples are available this time of year in farmer's markets. Look for locally grown varieties for best quality.  Select ginger roots which are smooth and plump- dried out woody roots are difficult to grate and may lack flavor.  I use about a tablespoon of grated ginger for each medium sized apple, but the ratio can be adjusted to your taste.

Fresh Ginger- Apple Salad:

1 medium piece organic ginger root, well scrubbed, unpeeled
2 medium organic apples, unpeeled
cinnamon powder 
soy milk or nut milk, optional
maple syrup, optional

Grate the ginger root coarsely with a hand grater as in photo above.
As you grate the ginger, most of the peel will separate from the flesh and can be discarded.
Grate apples. Don't discard the peel- it adds color and nutrients to the dish.
Combine ginger and apples in a bowl and toss briefly.

Serve immediately in individual bowls with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Optional: Add a few splashes of soy milk or nut milk.
Got maple syrup? Drizzle!