Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Entering late fall, it is time for dinner parties and holiday get-togethers. Being someone who isn't into overly sweet desserts, I am always on the lookout for simple and light after-meal treats. As we approach the peak of the flu season, this is also a good time to strengthen our Lung meridian health to boost the immune system. So why not kill two birds with one stone?
According to TCM nutrition therapy, the autumn season is related to the Lung meridian. The weather is dry and windy (resulting in itchy skin, chapped lips, eczema acting up, and dry coughs). Hence, it’s important to consume food that generates body fluids, promotes warmth and circulation, and provides grounding energy.
One of the best seasonal food that generates fluids to combat the dryness of fall is the pear. Pear has the benefit of moistening dry kin, relief dry coughs by nourishing the lungs while having the ability to also eliminate excess mucus. Pear also has the function of clearing heat in the body. It is effective to soothe sore throats and promote bowel movement. It can also cool inflamed and irritated tissues, especially in the gut.
From a western medicine perspective, the pear is anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycemic, and a diuretic. It is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, and potassium, which play a role in building immunity, cholesterol metabolism, alcohol metabolism, and protection against ulcers. It is also an excellent source of polyphenol antioxidants that protect against oxidative damage. When baking, use the whole pear including the peel, as it contains six times more polyphenol than the flesh!
Combined with herbs used in TCM and Ayurveda, this recipe below uses simple ingredients you can find in the pantry. At the end of a meal, this plant-based dessert can aid digestion, act as a gentle laxative, and also soothes any discomfort in the throat.
Baked Pears with Cardamom, Cinnamon and Orange
Serving size: 4
Prep Time: 5 mins
Bake Time: 60-75 mins
4 medium pears
8 whole cardamom pods - breaks up mucus and opens up the airways of the lungs, warm the Stomach and Spleen meridians
Strips of orange zest or dry orange peel - resolve mucus/ phlegm, aids digestive discomfort
pinch of cinnamon - warming effect, speed up blood and Qi circulation. Exclude if feeling feverish and have sore/ swollen throat.
A drizzle of honey - moistens the lungs, soothes cough, and throat irritation.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Wash the pears thoroughly.
Cut the pears in half and remove the core with a spoon. Place them cut side up in a baking dish.
Use a peeler to remove strips of orange zest, or use dried orange peel.
Place a cardamom pod + pinch of cinnamon + drizzle of honey in the center of each half-pear.
Top the pears off with orange zest or orange peel
Bake for approximately 60-75 minutes. The pears are done when they are knife-glide tender.
* This is such a versatile recipe! You can switch things up with many different herbs and spices in the kitchen. One option is to make this recipe enclosed in parchment paper, add a splash of sweet vermouth to intensify its warming effects, and add flavor. You can add extra flavor and texture dimension with whole star anise, crushed walnuts, dates, oatmeal, and dried fruits.
Research assistant: Alejandra Villaran