4 whole Pears (Bartlett’s work well)
½ cup Water
1 tsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Ginger powder
¼ tsp Cardamom
1-2 tsp Honey to taste
- Peel and chop pears into 1-2in. sized pieces.
- Place chopped pears in medium saucepan, stir in water, lemon juice and spices and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cover with lid for 15min or so, stirring occasionally until pears are soft and cooked throughout.
- Remove from heat and add 1-2tsp honey to taste.
- Blend cooked pears into pear sauce with blender, immersion blender, or for thicker chunky sauce mash with potato masher until desired texture is reached.
There are five types of flavors in Chinese medical nutrition; salty, spicy, bitter, sweet and sour. These different flavors help to strengthen different organ systems and promote various functions in our bodies. For example the sweet flavor, referring to the sweetness of squash or grains instead of processed sugar, helps to strengthen the digestive system. The spicy flavor helps to open our pores and our sensory organs, clearing the lungs and nasal passages, and boosting circulation.
Following Chinese nutritional concepts by eating foods that are seasonally and climatically appropriate, tasty pear sauce is perfect for the late-fall in the Pacific Northwest. Pears are considered slightly cooling, as are most fruits, with the flavors of sweet & slightly sour. The sweetness helps to strengthen the lungs and digestive system to help clear excess phlegm and mucous from the body, while the cooling and sour nature helps to moisten dryness and quench thirst. Pears are particularly well suited for sticky, slightly yellow phlegm with dry throat and cough. They also help to ease constipation, which if severe can also contribute to shortness of breath as the lungs and diaphragm may not have space to descend fully on inhalation.
As pears are slightly cooling and moistening in nature and it’s already cold and damp outside during our Pacific NW fall and winter, we use warming spices and cook the pears to balance their nature and effect. For this recipe I’ve chosen cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to balance the cooling effect of the pears, to further support the phlegm relieving properties, and to support the digestive system. Cinnamon is one of the most frequently used food-grade herbs in Chinese herbalism and is quite popular in western cooking as well this time of year. Cinnamon is warming and invigorating to promote circulation throughout the chest and to the extremities, while its spicy flavor also helps to transform phlegm, harmonize digestion, and boost the immune system. Ginger and cardamom are also food-grade herbs; they are warming and have a particular affinity and beneficial effect with supporting the digestive system. Oftentimes following a cold our digestive system can be compromised, with reduced appetite and sluggish transit.
The honey, which can be added or left out of this recipe, is neutral in temperature and sweet in flavor. It helps to moisten the lungs and respiratory tract, easing dryness, reducing nasal congestion, and reducing constipation. Locally sourced, raw honey is particularly beneficial as a food-grade herb for those suffering from mild seasonal allergies in the spring and fall.