Summer Season Living
It is in the vibrant and active Summer garden that most plants ripen and reach their peak growth. For the human being it is a social, active, expressive time in the seasons where we frequently move out from our homes during the very full and long Summer days. The garden expresses abundance and so will the healthy human being. At this time we can begin to use foods that have strong, active and expansive energy, to mirror the yang quality of energy that we require at this time of year.
During the hot Summer months we naturally use simpler cooking methods such as fast boiling, steaming, blanching and quick water sautéing. We are often trying to spend less time in the kitchen and so we enjoy eating and preparing food outdoors in the company of friends. Raw salads are now included that use fine cutting of vegetables. Matchstick cutting can lighten the energy of root vegetables, fine strips can be used in pressed salads, and diagonal cutting and ½ and ¼ moons can be used now. (Verses the full moon and large chunky cuts of Winter styles). In the kitchen we are concerned with ‘cooling and fuelling’ our family to deal with the demands of the Summer fire. It is also good to intermingle this with a sense of calm in our food as a resting point in the industrious season of Summer. It is a time for preparing our food with gentle hands, or at a time of the day where the kitchen is quiet, while steering away from very spicy and intense or complex flavours.
The emphasis is on leafy, butter greens and yellow and orange round and root vegetables. The sharp flavours of radish and spring onion can be more often included, as can light soups, more tofu and cooling summer desserts. Grain, noodle, bean, vegetable and sea vegetable salads can be used frequently now. Fruit salads, fresh melons and cucumbers can be very refreshing at the end of a long, hot and busy day but we must remember to not overuse them – a residual dampness will be left in the system that either makes us feel lethargic and sluggish, or will resurface in the autumn taking the shape of an Autumn cold with the dampness now manifesting as mucous. Likewise we need to resist the urge to overload on chilled foods (especially ice-cream and cold drinks). Rather, we need to cool our systems through the quality of foods that we eat.
The Fire element of Summer
The element of Fire is warm and light and it creates warmth and light. It is dynamic and moving, full of spark and vitality and brilliant in its activity. Fire always refers to life in some way. It is a life principle. The fire in our home’s hearth creates warmth, love and the rhythm in our life, as does the fire of the sun dictate the rhythm of activity in our day. The human being who is healthy in their Fire element, is warm and can give warmth and joy to others.