Pears, Apples and Peaches. Oh my!

Fall Fruits

Here in the Pacific Northwest the weather has cooled off and we are all starting to get the impression that Winter is well on its way. However, one of the great things about the Fall is the wonderful bounty of local fruit that we inevitably get.

Fall is characterized by the weather becoming more cool and dry as we move into winter. Our lungs are especially vulnerable in this season, and it is much easier to catch a cold as the weather cools. If you are prone to colds or other lung aliments like asthma or allergies, it is especially important for you to pay attention to your diet during this season. Fall is a great time to strengthen your lungs because, although the weather makes us more vulnerable, there is a large variety of foods available to help us out.

Pears are the traditional fruit to help nourish the lungs. They moisten which can combat those nasty dry coughs that seem to stick around. In China during the fall it is possible to get a hot pear tea with pears, dates and rock sugar. Not only delicious, this is also thought to help protect the lungs from the dry weather. The pears nourish the lungs and the dates and sugar help give the digestion a boost. This helps both build energy in the body and specifically target the digestion. An easy way to prepare pears is baked with some sugar.

Pear Tea

Baked Pears

1-3 Pears

Sprinkling of Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Slice the pears into quarters. Be sure to remove the cores. Place them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Traditionally, rock sugar is used, but regular sugar is fine. You can also experiment with honey! Bake until the pears start to get a bit brown, about 10 minutes. Then eat them warm.

Another great recipe is Pear Tea. We had a variation of this in Xi'an, China. The ingredients have been adapted to make them easier to find with the exception of the Da Zao. These small red dates are sold dried and can be found in most International Districts.

Pear Tea

6 c water

1/4 c da zao (red Chinese dates)

1/4 c sliced almonds

3 sliced asian pears, cored but not peeled

1 tbsp honey

In a medium sized saucepan add the water and the dates. Bring to a boil. After they are boiling, add the pears and almonds. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 min. Add the honey and dissolve in the simmering tea. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before serving. Serve with a spoon.

If you aren't a fan of pears, but want some of the benefits, try apples. Fall is a great time to start looking for apples as they start to come into season. They don't have as strong an association with the lungs as pears, but they are a great alternative. Like pears they are cooling in nature and can help clear heat from the lungs. This makes them another great fruit for a dry cough.

Spiced Peaches

I couldn't leave one of my favorite fruits off of this list. Peaches are wonderful and delicious and unlike most fruit that is moistening and cooling, they tend to be a bit more warming. They are thought to be a fruit of longevity in China and often you can see them depicted in paintings. In small amounts peaches help our complexion, aid in digestion and nourish the lungs. However, because of their warmer temperature be careful not to over indulge. Too many peaches can cause the opposite effect, indigestion.

I hope that this helps you see our seasonal fruit in a slightly different way. Enjoy the fall weather!