An Herbalist’s Perspective on Autumn Care

A footpath through an autumn forest.

Autumn in the northeastern United States means that green becomes gold as plants stop producing chlorophyll, the pigment that makes leaves green, causing the familiar and fleeting warmer pigments to shine through. The trees are preparing for the coldness and darkness of winter. One way they do this is by consolidating and drawing their resources down and inward. Plants also release parts of themselves that cannot be sustained, mostly their foliage, as an answer  to Autumn’s call of necessity and discernment. 


The transition seasons are beautiful and embody an energy of "bothness." For this reason Autumn and Spring may require us to spend a bit more attention orienting to time and space, our bodies, daily rhythms, and both the kind of and preparation of  herbs, foods and beverages we have daily. What metaphorical foliage are you called to drop as you move into the quiet and fertile darkness of Winter’s womb? What are you drawing inside for sustenance?

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Applesauce Spice Cake - A Yummy Winter Treat!

Applesauce Spice Cake

Adapted from Beyond the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan

¾ cup (1½ sticks) organic butter, softened
1 cup honey or maple syrup
2 large eggs
2 cups unsweetened applesauce (use homemade if you have it)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 and ½ cups whole spelt flour
1 and ½ cups white spelt flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 TBL baking soda
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds
¼ tsp ground clover

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 or 10 inch cake pans.
In a medium-size bowl, cream the butter with honey until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, applesauce and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together the flours, oats, baking soda and spices.

Beat the dry ingredients into the wet. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let pans cool for 10 minutes and then turn them out onto cake racks.

Glaze: Heat 1 cup maple syrup, ½ cup organic cream or half and half, and 2 Tbl flour in a saucepan over low heat, whisking until it begins to simmer and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool the glaze. Pour between cake layers and over the cake once the cake is cool.

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