Dancing Around the Wheel with Mary

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On Saturday many Christian communities celebrated Mary Assumption, the day when Mother Mary was assumed into heaven, as a heal and whole physical human being.

I always regard this day as a reminder that we all originally are heal and whole like this. Yes, you see that correctly, I do not believe in an original sin that makes us all guilty. Instead, I believe we always have a choice on how we act and behave in life.

Also, I regard this time of the year a good opportunity to take a look at the female qualities in life. The being and creating and allowing part of ourselves, as we all have male and female aspects within.

But I have written about all this in previous posts.

It seems, that the tradition of celebrating this day, like many, goes back to pre-Christian times, by the way, as I recently read, here (in German), and here (in German).

In many areas of southern Germany as well as Austria and Switzerland, another tradition for the day of Mary Assumption is to bless the harvested herbs that are then used for healing and protection.

It actually is a good time for harvesting herbs, now, as many of them are now standing in their full power and have a high content of beneficial properties.

Also, cutting back the garden and balcony herbs, now, will allow them to grow new and healthy shoots in time before Winter, so that in Spring they can grow back even healthier and more abundant for us.

In keeping with the seasonal cycles we have harvested our herbs at the beginning of the month.

This brought us a nice bundle of sage as well as Moroccan mint, a few lavender blossoms and blossoms of white clover, a hand full of flax seeds plus a little bundle of their decorative stalks, a sprig of peppermint which we had planted after a bought bundle had grown roots, earlier this year and last Friday we could also harvest our first hollyhock seeds.

Further, our tomatoes are blossoming, so we have a chance to harvest a few tasty cherry tomatoes that we have grown from seed, this year. We planted them late.

And in last years pot, a potato plant started to grow. Obviously we have overlooked something, last year. This might bring us a little unexpected potato harvest, later.

I have read (in German), that in some orthodox traditions honey, apples and bread are part of the celebrations for Mary Assumption. Interestingly, Kim has brought home a little bag full of foraged apples, just in time before this date.

So, we used some to make a vegan apple-onion-melt (like those recipes made with lard, only a vegan version) for Christmas, and I have slow-TV footage for you, as well:

The rest of the apples went into a light syrup, also for the holidays, and I have Slow-TV footage of this, too:

Those apples are special. They have red blossoms, fruit flesh and seeds and a nearly cherry-like taste. The cores, of course, are being used to make a very special vinegar:

We also have made more plum butter:

Additionally, we have made a batch of zwetschgen butter. Zwetschgen are a special type of plums. I have read that they could be compared to Damson plums which grow in Great Britain. As I never had Damsons, I cannot tell you If I would agree with this:

Further, we have some fennel jam as well as two kind of red onion jam, yesterday. Not only are those very tasty by themselves as a bread spread, they also go with many dishes. We set two jars of the fennel jam and one jar of each onion jam aside for the Winter holidays. Njummy!

The fennel jam we made with green grapes and last year’s homemade pear vinegar:

The onion jam we split in two batches. One we made with blue grapes and last year’s homemade nashi vinegar, the other batch we made with blueberries and last year’s homemade quince vinegar:

Additionally we also have bottled our first vinegars of this season: banana-strawberry, banana-strawberry-plum, strawberry-plum, banana-strawberry-apple and apple-peach-banana, and yesterday we bottled banana-apple vinegar. You cannot buy those anywhere in town.

Fortunately we had the opportunity to forage several big bundles of mugwort, last year. It grew like mad at our favourite place. This year, we will not make it there due to the pandemic, so good that we picked up a bit more, when we could.

We also went crazy with canning fruits in syrup, last year, which turns out to be very helpful, now, for similar reasons.

You know what?

I never had clotted cream in my whole life. There are recipes out there, now, how to make your own. Just that I neither can or want to do milk products coming from animals. I have read up about it, though, and decided to give it a go with coconut milk. I found out that the cream used should not be pasteurised because too much heat destroys the ability or the proteins to clot. So, I doubt this would work with canned coconut milk. But we make our own by pouring hot water over coconut flakes, letting it sit for 30 minutes, then grinding everything up and straining it through a nut milk bag.

For this special date, I decided to treat myself and give it a go. We took care that the water we used for our coconut milk was not boiling, anymore, but only had 80°C. After straining the coconut milk we waited a bit until the cream had set up on top of it. We skimmed the cream off and poured it with a little more coconut milk into a flat bowl so that it would cover the bottom for about an inch or so. Then we treated it like a classical clotted cream recipe and let it sit in the oven at 80°C for 12 hours, so that the cream could clott. We allowed for this over night.

It seems you get less clotted cream than from a classical batch made with cream from cow milk. But it worked and is actually quite delicious!

As we had the oven going, we also created a batch of coconut yogurt to let it sit on top of the stove where it was warm. We had tried this a short while ago and realised that this yogurt is really tasty.

Meanwhile we used our yogurt maker to make a big batch of soy yogurt – our regular go to.

The rest of our homemade coconut milk was used to make scones and a pancake. We also tossed in the strained coconut flakes and some of the strained fruit scraps from our yeast and vinegar makings, the latter after grinding them up thoroughly.

This way we got cantaloupe-coconut scones to eat right away, Apple-raisin scones which we froze for the Autumn holidays and a big oven pancake with banana and coconut. Yes, you can eat banana peels. I do not find them very tasty raw, but grinding them up with a bit of liquid after using them for making yeast or starting a vinegar (which is the same process) is a really good way to put them to use in bread and cakes. The banana taste comes through and the fermentation process has even added some nutritional value.

I cannot take you on many walks, these days. Instead I show some slow-TV for slow-food, take you on a journey into the world of seasonal food preparation and hope you enjoy those little segments of kitchen meditation just as much as the walks – which will come again, I am sure.

What traditions are you honouring around this this time of the year? Are you beginning with the harvest, too – literally and figuratively?

Are you ready to shine a bright light of awareness on the path of beingness, today?

Much Love,
Steffi