We are deep in Winter here in Maine. Six more weeks of Winter reads more like 18, and while we’re itching for Spring and some warm weather to stick, it’s been so wonderful to get cozy and tune into my body’s needs during the Winter season with this remineralizing Winter dashi broth.
Even if you live in a warmer climate in the Northern hemisphere, a big shift happens during the Winter season. The air is drier, and again depending on where you live, there isn’t much produce available. While access to mega grocery stores is such a modern luxury taken for granted, we don’t always realize the natural shifts in diet we should take during the Winter season due to this constant availability of goods.
From an evolutionary and energetic perspective, our bodies are tuned to expect a certain quality of nutrition season to season. With the shift from warmer to dry and cold air, our bodies contract and conserve energy. The colder the climate and more sensitive our systems, the more contradicting and potentially problematic consuming raw, cold smoothies for example. We are taught in our modern society that consuming smoothies, salads and raw veggies are healthy and aid in balancing our hormones and help us to lose weight, when they could be the very thing that is disrupting our balance this time of year.
More so, during winter, we should be focusing on replenishing our mineral stores. In general, so many of us are mineral deficient. We don’t consume nearly enough due to poor water quality, acidic foods, and even our natural produce contains far less mineral and nutrition content than it did even 20 years ago. Our minerals are the building blocks, the energetic conduits that make everything in our bodies work. From building our bones to the function of our hormones to the protection and longevity of our cells and nervous system function, we need and rely on these minerals for optimal health and healing. What’s more, unlike some vitamins like vitamin D, we cannot produce or co-factor minerals.
A traditional Japanese vegetable stock typically made from seaweed, fish flakes or even bones as a way to make indigestible foods edible and extend nutrition of otherwise flavorless and nutrient-deficient meals. It’s evolved over centuries into a complex and umami flavored concoction with many layers and used as the base of many miso soups and ramen recipes. Similar to our traditional bone broths in nutrition, unfortunately it has also been modernized, simplified and important steps for nutritional benefits cut – I’m revisiting this classic as a way to bring deep nutrition and revitalize our mineral stores during winter.
Made with seaweeds rich in trace minerals, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, iodine, helping to stimulate and strengthen the skin, hair and nails, nourish endocrine system, adrenals and thyroid. Combined with shiitake mushrooms rich in vitamin D, this remineralizing dashi broth is made for Winter.
Winter correlates to the Kidneys in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and associated with the element and flavor, Salty and Water element. Water also relates to the sex organs, genitals, reproductive organs and urinary system. Enough salt supplies the minerals needed to maintain our delicate balance. Water and its trace minerals balance and hydrate and buffer the system.
The right balance allows us to thrive, while processed salts without the proper hydration creates problems in the body, especially this time of year.
Want to learn how to balance the body and cleanse effectively this time of year? Learn more the course, Living with the Seasons – Fall + Winter.
This simple dashi recipe is something that I didn’t realize how much I missed. Living in NYC around the corner from Angelica Kitchen, I would crave a cup of this broth. Always steeping, the whole restaurant had a sweet and salty umami scent wafting that seemed to echo how wholesome the whole place was. You’ll be surprised at how satisfying and filling it is and how even a mug sipped seems to replace a tea mid-afternoon.
Add additional veggies for a heartier winter soup.
Adapted from The Angelica Home Cookbook
2 quarts water
2 pieces dried kombu
2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms
3 Tablespoons brown rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons mirin
3-4 Tablespoons tamari
2-3 thumbs ginger sliced
Chopped raw scallions as garnish
Combine water and kombu in a saucepan or stockpot and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and ginger and reduce to low heat, simmering uncovered for approximately 1 hour.
Strain broth and add other ingredients, adjusting for taste as desired. Enjoy!
*Mushrooms and kombu can be used sliced in the soup or in another batch of soup or recipe.