The winter is upon us and each glimmer of colour and light, that we are granted in the skies above, is a total gift. The days are getting shorter and darker as the count down towards the Solstice progresses. Spending more time in the home in this climate offers an opportunity to make things cosy, warm and homely but getting outside into the fresh cold air is essential. We have been marvelling at the seasonal shifts as all of nature seems to quiet a little – a pause.
The abundance of apples that we collected over the past few weeks are proving to be inspiring ingredients for a host of different dishes; apple sauce, dried apple rings, apple cakes, juicing for cider making and apple cider vinegars. As the temperature drops we are loving making mulled-apple juice with spices and have discovered a fabulous addition to our regular winter favourite this year – Dandelion root decoction is delivering a wonderful, sweet sustaining energy in the spiced juice.
Hot Spiced Apple Juice & Dandelion
This is a perfect winter warmer. We have been filling our flasks on long winter walks with this flavoursome, healthy treat.
Apple juice is a super nutritious healthful beverage with numerous benefits. This versatile fruit juice is packed full of plant compounds such as polyphenols and flavonoids which have loads of research showing how beneficial they can be to our healthcare and the hydrating quality of apples is maximised when they are juiced. The spices in the recipe all show anti-infective and immune system boosting potential.
The addition of the dandelion root brings additional benefits. The medicine of the humble dandelion is multi-faceted. It affects blood sugar regulation, digestive secretion and enzyme production, thus normalising digestive function. The herb can cool an over-heated system. Dandelion root supports the emotional body with a grounding quality aiding in the exploration of ‘root causes’ of disease. We see this with the (carrot-like) tap root that digs deep in the earth, indicative of its deeply detoxifying quality for the system. Recent research shows a potential as anti-tumour medicine.
Firstly, we make the Dandelion decoction.
When working with the dandelion roots, we decoct them rather than making an infusion. By boiling the cleaned chopped roots herbs in water.
- Put a generous handful of chopped cleaned roots into a pan with ½ litre water
- Bring to a gentle boil
- Put a lid on the pan and gently simmer for twenty minutes
- Remove from the heat
- Strain out the roots – these can we composted or just eaten as they are
- Juice the apples (we love a wide variety of apples here including crab apples) make about a litre of juice
- Add all the juice and dandelion decoction to a pan
- Grate a 2cm cube of ginger
- Cut strips of organic orange and lemon peel – a handful of mixed peel
- Simmer the liquid with the peel, ginger, 3 cloves, 2 cardamom pods, 1 star anise, cinnamon stick for about 10-15 mins letting all the flavours combine – take a moment to revel in the delicious scents
- sweeten to your taste using honey, maple syrup, or any sweetener of your choice
- Serve with a sprig of fresh mint and a slice of lemon.