The Wood element relates to Spring and the colour green, and Spring is when new green shoots emerge from the soil. Surrounding yourself with new life is a wonderful way to embrace the season.
Now is a great time to get out into the garden or start a herb garden on your windowsill. Grab some pots, a bag of potting mix and some seeds. It’s the perfect time to plant basil to ensure a good supply to go with your summer tomatoes. Coriander, parsley, thyme, chives and mint are easy to grow and so useful to bring some colour and life to your meals. Ordinary scrambled eggs become a delicious treat when garnished with freshly picked herbs.
Watching your seeds sprout and grow is great visual therapy for the Liver in Spring, helping you to connect with the cycle of the seasons and harnessing the power of your subconscious to engage the body in regeneration and healing.
Sprouts are also great to eat. They’re cooling and cleansing according to Chinese medicine dietary therapy, and they help to free the flow of stuck Liver Chi-energy. As the seed germinates into a sprout, nutrients become much more available and plentiful, such as vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and free fatty acids. This makes sprouts easier to digest than their seed counterparts, and provides a powerhouse of vitality.
How to make your own sprouts
Place one part seed to at least three parts purified or spring water into a clean, large, wide-mouthed jar and cover with mesh or cloth (I use a Chux secured with a rubber band!).
- Soak as specified below, drain well and keep in a warm dark place (or on a dish draining rack covered with a cloth), ideally with the jar mouth tilted down for full drainage.
- Rinse morning and evening and drain well as above, until sprouted (if using alfalfa, radish, red clover or mustard then after three days continue the sprouting process while exposed to indirect sunlight, to create chlorophyll).
- Remove hulls by placing sprouts in large bowl of water and gently shaking them, reaching underneath to scoop up loose hulls. This is essential for alfalfa and radish as the hulls easily rot. For other sprouts it’s optional, according to taste.
Seed — Soak time — Days to sprout
- 2 tbsp alfalfa &/or red clover — 6 hrs — 5-6 days
- ¼ cup radish &/or mustard — 6 hrs — 5-6 days
- ½ cup lentils &/or fenugreek — 8 hrs — 3 days
- ½ cup mung beans — 8 hrs — 3-5 days
- 1 cup wheat, rye &/or oats — 12 hrs — 3 days
- 1 cup aduki, chick pea, soy*, other legumes, grains — 12 hrs — 3-5 days
- 2 cups sunflower seeds — 12 hrs — 2 days
* Soy must be rinsed 4 times a day to prevent rotting
Source: Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
Sprout salad with French-style dressing
Enjoy your home-grown sprouts in a salad with this French-inspired dressing. It combines pungent and sour flavours to raise your Yang energy up and cleanse the Liver and Gallbladder.
Place 1 heaped tablespoon of Dijon seed mustard in a bowl. Gradually add good quality extra-virgin olive oil or Udo’s oil, stirring constantly. The mixture should become thicker and creamy. When oil starts to bead on the top, it’s time to add the juice of a few lemons, tasting until you get the balance you like. Season with natural salt and a hint of (optional) crushed garlic.
See also: Zingy Spring Salad