Mandarin Orange Gummies, A Nutrient Dense Winter Treat

Healing Wisdom from The Yellow Emperor’s Classic on Chinese Medicine


The three months of winter, they denote securing and storing… Go to bed early and rise late. You must wait for the sun to rise. Let the mind enter a state as if hidden {as if shut in}, as if you had secret intentions, as if you had already made gains.
(Unschuld, Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Ch.3 p49.)

This passage is from an ancient Chinese medical text called The Yellow Emperor’s Classic on Chinese Medicine. The Yellow Emperor, Huang Di ruled in the middle of the third millennium.

Following the Energy of the Seasons

This ancient wisdom guides us to follow the energy of the seasons.  It gives us permission to hibernate, rest, consolidate, contract and slow down in winter, which is so contrary to our western cultural rhythms.

It gives us permission to rest in what we have done and slow down our minds from trying to always create something new. It seems we all must be doing something, or we feel unproductive or useless.  Winter is a time for less social engagements.

Deeply Nourishing Foods

It is also a time for deeply nourishing foods that are slow and well cooked, warm and easy to digest. Foods that go deep such as roots, broths from bones, marrow and gelatin nourish us at our core.

Just as the plants have retracted their energy to their roots, so do we:

In winter the true qi of the depots descends into the kidneys. The kidneys store the qi of the bones and of the marrow.
(Unshculd, Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Ch 18, p307.)

It is a good time to store up so that we have the force and vitality to expand into the spring and summer rays of the sun. Using seasonal ingredients is another way to align our bodies with nature’s rhythms.

Gummies: a Nourishing Treat

Gummies are a deeply nourishing treat that are especially appropriate during the winter as our energy contracts deep into our body.

The most important ingredient in gummies is gelatin, made from long-simmered bones, marrow, and cartilage. Gelatin and bone broth are some of the most healing and easiest foods to digest, commonly thought of as convalescent food (hence jello given in hospitals).

I have been making these for my kids for some years, and it was always hit or miss, for I am just not a recipe follower. With the help of Nourished Kitchen (see her Glowing Ghost Gummies here), I did follow the bones of this one and made my own creative additions and flavor adjustments.

Gummies are the most satisfying treat I can give my children where I know I am supporting their healthy growth. They are loaded with grass-fed gelatin (Great Lakes is my favorite), seasonal fruit, and sometimes herb flavors.

Gelatin contains

  • High amounts of protein
  • Amino acids
  • collagen for strong bones, teeth, hair, and nails

In Chinese Medicine, gelatin is an essence (Jing) tonic. Gelatin is what makes a good bone broth gel. In our own bodies, Jing is our bone marrow, our brain matter, the deepest part of our beings.

Jing is the source of all of our vitality, emanating into yin, yang, qi and blood and spirit. From deep within, if our Jing is strong then our spirit (Shen) emanates vitality.

Gummy Recipe

  • 1/4 cup gelatin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed mandarin orange juice (I add the juice of 1-2 lemons as well, for my kids like it tart)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (for color and a little medicine!)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Put your gelatin into a mixing bowl and pour on the water to soften.
  2. Heat your juice, turmeric, salt, and honey on low heat until honey dissolves.
  3. Pour over gelatin, and stir stir stir.
  4. You can put your mix back over a very low flame on the stove to aid in dissolving. You may have to strain out some of the lumps. I eat these gelatin globs because I know what’s good for me!  Nourished Kitchen suggests using a mixer. For me, this aerates the gummies and changes them to a less-pleasing texture.
  5. Pour into silicon molds or a square food storage container.
  6. Put in the fridge to chill for about an hour.
  7. Pop them out of the molds, or cut into squares if you put in a food storage container.
  8. The recipe makes between 25-30 gummies. And let your children have at them!

You will feel good as they gobble up this healthy treat, knowing you are nourishing them deeply.

Gummies are a healthy treat for

  • The elderly
  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding women

It is also beneficial for fertility enhancement.

Note: It is not advised to give raw honey to children under one year old.

Other seasonally appropriate flavors could be

  • Elderberry
  • Rosehip
  • Persimmon
  • Quince
  • Yerba santa

Allow your inner alchemist to create and concoct. I would love to hear what you come up with!





Anna Mama’s Postpartum Stew


Right before I was about to give birth to my firstborn Cypress, my dear sister friend and fairy godmother to our boys, Deborah Mahgen shared with me a Persian stew that contained fresh fenugreek. We both got so excited about this for postpartum for me! I made it right before giving birth, a huge batch with plenty for later. And immediately following Cy’s birth, it was the first thing I ate with yogurt. And I ate it throughout the first few weeks, and anytime I craved it. I still crave it. This recipe is a bit thicker than the traditional Persian version.

I have made it for many mamas through the years, you may have seen it on, I made it for Emily when her son was born. She and her hubby gobbled it down. These days our small town of Nevada City is experiencing a baby boom right now, so I recently made a batch for dear mama Catie. She ate a 1/2 gallon jar in a week, and immediately called me for the recipe to make more. I just made more for several more mamas who just gave birth.

So for all you mamas in our town who are about to give birth or just had your baby (two weeks ago, six months ago or even later; my boys are five and seven, and I still need to eat this stew every now and again to fortify myself), here is to your nourished postpartum body and bodacious milk supply!

This stew is full of galactagogues, lactation supportive herbs and spices, and mineral rich herbs and greens to cool the liver from the firey experience of birth. Please note: the onions and the garlic don’t seem to affect babes because they are combined with digestives spices.

It is a blend of interior warmers, digestives, blood tonics, and blood coolers. This is all so important for postpartum support. Your body is tired from the initiation of birth, and also has to kick up blood and qi production to make breast milk. Digestion will be a bit sluggish, for you now have to make milk and blood from your food. The combination of meat, herbs, spices and fats make for an easy to digest meal, that leaves a mama and her baby feeling so very satisfied. Fennel, fennugreek, ginger, cumin, and a little cinnamon, all warm the interior, consolidate the surface and aid in stoking the digestive fire. After full dilation and open vulnerability to bring baby into the world, it is good to warm and strengthen the emotional and physical body, so there is qi enough to close up the portals and seal.

I just learned from Katie De Mota at The Nest that fenugreek may be an allergen to those allergic to peanuts. Please omit this ingredient if so. The nutrient dense greens and fresh herbs are blood cleansing nourishing and cooling, and the meat nourishes the blood and essence.

These amounts will yield 5 or 6 meals, so enough to freeze for when the craving hits. And it will.

2-3lbs meat; lamb, beef or buffalo, or goat, cubed.

2 heads of celery

2 fresh bunches of the following:

fenugreek, parsley, cilantro, dill, green onions

1 bunch tarragon (optional)

1 bunch dandelion

1 onion chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, pressed

2-3 potatoes, or parsnips, or sweet potatoes, your choice. I like it with potatoes.

1-2Tbs turmeric

1/2-1Tbsp powdered ginger

1Tbs cumin seed

1Tbs fennel seed

1-2Tbs fenugreek seed (especially if you can’t find it fresh)

1 Tbs nigella seeds, aka kalajeera in Indian markets (optional)

A little bit of ground cinnamon

Lots of olive oil, probably 1 cup total

salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, puree celery, and all the fresh green herbs. I do the celery first, then the herbs in 2 batches.

Put 3 Tbs oil in a stew pot, add onion, garlic. When onions are translucent, add seeds and spices. When seeds start popping, add meat. Sautee until browned. Add your pureed greens and more olive oil. Add your root veggies of choice. Then simmer for about half to one hour until the roots are done.

Serve with a dollop of plain sour yogurt. Eat to your heart’s and your breasts and your baby’s content.