In Celebration of Nourishment: Crab Apple Chutney

Monday, September 30, 2013 9:30 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
In Celebration of Nourishment: Crab Apple Chutney

With Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs


Crab apples

"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health." -Hippocrates
If you have spent any time with me, you will know that my favorite motto is nourish, nourish, nourish. Everyone and everything needs nourishment. And as we can see in the above quote Hippocrates knew this a very long time ago. The question is what is nourishment and how do we differentiate nourishment from approaches to health that are actually depleting. Many of the health modalities, including "alternative approaches" deplete our bodies and psyche's. They define health as a fixed state and do not acknowledge that life is anything but fixed. Really the only thing we can count on is change. While many people turn to approaches that are depleting, we can shift this at anytime. The best place that I have found to start is with love and compassion for ourselves and each other. From a place of love and compassion it is easy to recognize that there is not a one size fits all approach to health.
Finding a definition for health, that does not hold us to standards that are impossible to meet is a powerful way to nourish ourselves. The media would have us think that we "should" all be youthful and of a certain body type etc for our entire lives. This is clearly unreasonable, yet there are whole industries built up around these ideas. That said, the definition of health that I have adopted from my very wise mentor Isla Burgess, is that

"health is reflected in our ability to be flexible, adaptable and resilient."

This definition embraces that fact that we are in a continual state of change. It fully recognizes that health is a constant state of motion and that we are on a journey.
Establishing compassion and then defining health in a way that encompasses all beings provides us with many more options. Options to be the perfectly imperfect humans that we are.
That said, food is a rich source of nourishment, not only ingesting it, but sourcing it. When you harvest your own food and when you source it from someone you trust you are creating connections and relationships that nourish your spirit. The local food movement has provided the opportunity for communities to be nourished by relationships as well as vitamins and minerals.
As fall approaches and I plan for the food that will grace my pantry and nourish me over the winter, I can't help but think about crabapples. I have long loved these and was delighted a few years ago when I discovered that not only are they delicious, but they are rich in pectin. Pectin is a prebiotic substance. Prebiotic substances, including pection, inulin and algin are basically food for the prebiotic bacteria that our digestive system needs to function most effectively. Our gut is at the heart of our immune system and affects every system in our body, so providing nourishment to this system provides the building blocks to health. They assist our entire body in it's efforts to maintain the flexibility, adaptability and reliance needed to maintain health.
Simply adding crabapples to your diet can increase the health of your digestive system considerably. In order to fully benefit from the pectin in crabapples, the apples need to be cooked. Cooking releases the pectin and renders it more bioavailable. You can get similar benefits from applesauce as well. Below is one of my favorite recipes for crabapple chutney.

In nourishment,

Crab Apple Chutney

2 cups crabapples, quartered and cored (leave the skins on)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 TBS grated orange peel
1 TBS fresh ginger

~Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and stir well.
~Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 50 minutes.
~Uncover and simmer a few more minutes over low heat, cooking off excess liquid. Let cool. Enjoy!!
~Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
*If you make a larger batch a water bath canning method works well for preserving chutney!
Makes 3 cups.


Linda Conroy is a bioregional, wise woman herbalist, educator,wildcrafter, permaculturist and an advocate for women's health.

She is the proprietress of Moonwise Herbs and the founder of Wild Eats: a movement to encourage people and communities to incorporate whole and wild food into their daily lives. She is passionate about women's health and has been working with women for over 20 years in a wide variety of settings.

Linda is a student of nonviolent communication and she has a masters degree in Social Work as well as Law and Social Policy. Linda has been offering hands on herbal programs and food education classes for well over a decade.

She has completed two herbal apprenticeship programs, one of which was with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center and she has a certificate in Permaculture Design.

Linda is a curious woman whose primary teachers are the plants; they never cease to instill a sense of awe and amazement.

Her poetic friend Julene Tripp Weaver, eloquently describes Linda when she writes, "She listens to the bees, takes tips from the moon, and follows her heart."

Listen to a thirty minute interview with mentor Linda Conroy


Study with Linda Conroy from Home

~Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making~
( Link to detailed description of Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making )

The goal of the course is to have participants become familiar with herbal medicine, to become comfortable incorporating herbs into daily life and to gain hands on experience making simple remedies at home.

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