Happy January and happy second season of Dryness! Yes, traditionally in Chinese medicine Fall is the season of dryness, but having been to China, I now realize that's because they don't have the drying radiator heat so prevalent in the US Northeast.
Dry sinuses, dry eyes, dry skin - it all seems to get worse in the winter. So, it's really important to nourish the Yin during the winter. Soup is the perfect food for this time of year. It's warm to support the body during the coldness of the season, yet still brings fluids to the party.
Soup is extremely versatile, allowing you to customize for your specific needs. If you're a little blood deficient, you can have soups with meat or red or black beans, if you have hypertension, celery or tomato soup would be an excellent choice.
For general dryness though, pear and apple soups are great. Asian pears particularly help moisten the Lung and the Lung in Chinese medicine also governs the skin. Dry hacking cough, dry nose, itchy skin - pears are your friend. You can of course eat pears or cook them in some other way, but making them into a soup adds moisture and gives you the option of adding some embellishments.
For those of you liking detailed recipes, Allrecipes has an interesting pear/apple soup. My version is a little more specific to supporting the Lung/Kidney, and perhaps a bit more free form.
4 large pears
The juice of a fresh lemon
About 2.5 of water or better yet, coconut water
A cinnamon stick, a few cardamon pods, a couple of star anise, a few slices of fresh ginger or a tablespoon of ginger syrup
About a tablespoon of honey or more to taste
A pinch of salt
A few tablespoons of unsweetened thick coconut milk/cream or more to make more creamy (I used the Taste of Thai brand)
Core and chop the pears
Combine ingredients in a saucepan bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pears are tender.
Allow to cool a bit especially if you're using a conventional blender to process in the next step.
Remove the cinnamon, cardamon, anise and ginger slices
Blend with an immersion or conventional blender until smooth ( the immersion blender is easier)
Lemon and/or orange zest makes a great garnish.
The addition of the aromatics here helps "disperse" the Lung - they help the lung function better. The coconut cream nourishes the Kidney (important during the winter)and generates fluids, while at the same time supports Yang (the functional aspect of the body).
Depending upon your goals and taste you can play with the ingredients - concerned about some phlegm - up the ginger and other spices and reduce the coconut milk and honey. More concerned about dry skin - up the coconut milk. Hate cardamon - leave it out! Facing January is difficult enough. Have enough soup and you may even be able to use your Hello Kitty humidifier less often!