The lines between our seasons, I will admit, are blurred here on the emerald isle swaying between warm wet to colder wet and some wind BUT least I rant, Autumn is a wonderful month.

It is the time to harvest all the brightly coloured cultivated or wild foods.

YES, for me, Autumn is time of both harvest and of preparation as we know what Winter brings.  It is a time to build up our immunity and breathe into the season, knowing that we will be strong enough to take whatever Winter brings.

As much as I love the carefree nature of summer, I think Autumn is my season.  As summer ends I feel the exhaustion of its giddy ways.  Autumn brings a warmth and a chance to slow down a little, to be content and give ourselves some extra attention.

It is Master Tonic time.

 

It is elderberry immune elixir time.

 

And it is time for grounding warming foods include all the root vegetables, the hard winter squashes like butternut and pumpkin. Everything with spices like ginger, garlic, onion, black pepper, coriander, cumin,  cardamon, cinnamon, Garam Masala, or middle eastern blends like Ras El Hanout or Bharat.

 

Enjoying an evening walk is a sweet way to take in the seasonal changes which are all but subtle at this time of year.  Make sure to bring a basket or bag to collect something delightful from the hedgerows and bushes.

 

Elderberry Elixir

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh elderberries (or 2 cups dried)

4 cups cold water (filtered)

2-3 tsp. dried or fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup raw, local honey (or organic maple syrup or agave for a vegan/infant-friendly recipe). Double the amount of sweetener to increase shelf life

1 cup vodka or brandy (optional to increase shelf life)

 

Instructions: 

  1. Combine berries and spices with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 30 to 40 min. (syrup should reduce by ⅓)
  3. Remove from heat and let it soak for 1 hour.
  4. Mash mixture to get the most goodness out of the berries
  5. Strain using a funnel or a strainer and doubled cheesecloth or undyed cotton muslin bag and squeeze out liquid (careful, liquid can still be hot!). Discard the pulp in compost.
  1. Once liquid has cooled to just above room temperature, add honey and stir to incorporate.
  2. If using vodka or brandy, add here and stir until well combined.
  3. Bottle in sterilized glass jar.
  4. If you are feeling extra clever you can use this exilir and turn it into dummies by