One of the wonderful and nourishing foods to eat during the moon time (menstrual period) is definitely a warm soup. It is gentle, soothing, nutritional, warming, nurturing, and grounding, which is exactly what our woman’s body needs. And when we make the soup with a broth that has a medicinal property that supports this special phase, it becomes even more of the food medicine. This soup is made with such intention—making the soup with the beautiful, seasonal vegetable winter squash, with the nettle tea as broth!
Soup with herbal tea as broth
I have been quite excited about making soup with herbal tea as broth. What a magical thing to be able to make a delicious meal with the herbal tea that our body can benefit so well from! In the moon time lunch recipe I posted last month, I have introduced one of these ways with the miso soup (read the article here). And this month, I am writing about one of the herbal tea broths that I have been using for many years. It’s the nettle tea.
When I lived in Hawaii in 2010, I learned about the stinging nettle soup. How this deeply medicinal herb can become a delicious soup! There are many nettle soup recipes using the vegetable broth additionally, but what I have learned was just using the nettle for the broth. To me, it tasted a little similar to the kombu seaweed broth with its earthy and deep flavor. It makes sense, indeed, as both of them contain good amounts of minerals, vitamin A and C. The nettle tea broth brings wonderfully gentle and deep flavor!
The healing power of warm soup
There is, indeed, a reason why the warm soup has been one of the major dishes eaten when we become sick. The warmth is comforting. Soup not only makes us feel warm, but it also warms our organs, which supports their functions. Soup is easy to eat and easy to digest. As food approaches our digestive system gently, our organs don’t need to strain to break down the foods, by which we can restore our energy.
Also, the warm liquid has another magic. When we take the nutrients through warm liquid, the nutrients can be absorbed through our blood vessels easily and effectively. All of these benefits can be very well used during the women’s moon time. As the body is working hard to cleanse the womb as well as produce the blood, the body wants to be nurtured and restored as much as possible through diet as well as resting. Soup as warm, gentle, nutrient-dense, and delicious liquid is a wonderful medicine for our body and soul.
Nettle—perfect herb for the moon time!
Nettle contains many nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, and K, some B vitamins, as well as various minerals including high content of iron. As vitamin C supports the iron absorption to the body, nettle is a wonderful blood builder. It is what a woman’s body exactly needs during the moon time as blood is consumed for cleansing the womb. In the Eastern perspective, this herb supports the health of the kidney and overall fluid movement in our body, which is also an important aspect for the menstrual health.
Winter squash—yellow medicine for the stomach and spleen
As the fall season arrived, beautiful winter squashes are out in the market. Pumpkin soup is one of my favorite soups. Its bright yellow color is not only beauty for the eyes and bringing the feeling of warmth and positivity. Also, this color supports our well-being of stomach and spleen, bringing warming and nurturing energy to the body. Spleen is the organ that filters and stores the blood. Therefore, the well-being of our spleen is deeply connected with the health of our blood. For this soup, I used the Hokkaido winter squash. Its creamy, sweet, rich, yet mild flavor is perfect for making gentle and delicious pumpkin soup.
Ume plum vinegar purifies the blood
You can season this soup just with salt and pepper, but I replaced the ume plum vinegar with a partial amount of salt, using it as a hidden seasoning agent. Adding this vinegar not only makes the flavor a little more complex and delicious, but it is also another addition for the health of the blood since ume plum vinegar helps to purify it. Umeboshi, one of the major fermented foods in Japan and the mother of the ume plum vinegar, has been eaten for centuries for this purifying purpose as well as for detoxing the body.
We say how umeboshi can make our blood “sara-sara.” Sara-sara is an onomatopoeic word denoting the smooth and undisturbed movement. Ume plum vinegar, like umeboshi, can make our blood “sara-sara,” which supports the smooth cleansing process in the women’s womb.
Easy and peaceful making
Making this soup is very easy and meditative. All you need is onion, pumpkin, nettle tea and some seasoning. I blend the soup at the end because I love the creamy texture of it. Also, by blending, it makes it easier for our body to digest, hence it is more effective for our body to absorb the nutrients. But if you don’t have a blender, you can still make this soup. Without blending, you can eat delicious, soft, and chunky pumpkin, which is also very soothing and satisfying.
It could be a very nice thing to have the large quantity of soup made before your moon time begins. In this way, you have the most nurturing food ready which you can heat up, eat, and be nourished by so easily.
Moon Time Soup: Pumpkin Soup with Nettle Broth
- For 2 cups nettle tea:
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp dried nettle
- 500g winter squash (I used Hokkaido winter squash.)
- 1 medium size onion
- olive oil
- 2 tsp ume plum vinegar
- freshly grounded black pepper
- Step 1 Boil 2 cups of water and add the dried nettles. Steep it for about ten minutes.
- Step 2 Strain the tea leaves and have the nettle broth ready for use.
- Step 3 Dice the onion. Peel and cut the winter squash into smaller and thinner pieces.
- Step 4 Heat the oil in the pot at medium heat and add the onion. Sauté until its color becomes half-translucent.
- Step 5 Add the winter squash and sauté together until the vegetables become slightly tender.
- Step 6 Add the nettle broth into the pot. Put one bay leaf in and close the lid. Turn the heat up to bring it to a boil
- Step 7 Once boiled, turn the heat down and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Step 8 If you will purée the soup with a blender with a plastic container (like I do with my Vitamix), let the soup cool down until it gets to room temperature before putting it in the blender. You can eat this soup as it is without blending, or, if you have a hand-held mixer, you can take out the bay leaf and go ahead and blend them until everything becomes smooth.
- Step 9 (For those who use a blender with a plastic container), once the soup cooled down to room temperature, take out the bay leaf and blend it, then pour the soup back in to the pot.
- Step 10 Add some water to bring the soup to your desired texture.
- Step 11 Heat it and adjust the flavor with ume plum vinegar, salt, and freshly ground pepper.