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Winds of the West

“I feel the winds of the west; outbreath; letting go of my leaves; all I do not need. Into the darkness of the fall sunset; I release, receive; getting ready for the silence.”  -Ayla Nereo, Winds of the West


Tonight at 4pm were calling hours for my Grandfather, Reverend Richard Hardy. I am not there in physical form, but will attend his funeral at the Nelson church tomorrow. In lieu, I went for a walk to catch the last light of the day before the sun sank beneath the horizon. A dramatic angle of light pierced through the clouds illuminating the red sumac and wild rose hips. A cardinal, just as red as the hips, joined me by the brook.

Auspiciousness filled air. Spirits danced in every blade of grass and barren branch. I walked through vegetation that was once thick and impassable only because it had died back in the frosts. This is fall. Leaves let go of their branch and we can see further through the forests. In this time of Metal, we are invited to fill our lungs with clarity as we allow for elimination through the large intestine.

What is now revealing itself that may have been hidden before?

The revelations continue the more I grieve the death of my mother’s parents. An entire generation lost. What is there to hold on to? What will I refuse to forget? What do I choose to set aside that does not serve me any longer?

The memories float through my mind all day and night. Dreams are more real than the waking hours.

An opportunity to take some time to remember is a blessing. Death is a blessing. Saying goodbye is a blessing. Every moment, then and now, are blessings.

Grandpa Hardy was a powerful and deeply spiritual figure. He was tapped into the greatness of something much larger than anyone will ever know. I am filled with joy. After 96 years, he returns to the wonder and mystery where we all begin and end. He is reunited with his beloved, Helen. May the two of them hold hands and smile at us from above like two shining stars.

As I walked home, a rainbow appeared in the northeast, the direction of the calling hours, to signify they have begun. My lips formed a small shy smile. How precious a moment to cherish forever. With no camera in hand, I’ll just have to remember. That is all we have, after all. As my smile grew bigger, so did the rainbow. We smiled brightly at one another, rainbow and I.Grandpa Hardy 2008

Grandpa deserves the honor of the Great Spirit in every form imaginable- whether rainbows, hawks, owls, trees, rivers, ministers, God- they are all one. He was all heart, and deeply committed to serving others.

Bless his body and being as it returns to essence. His physical body will be buried beneath the Earth where his dear Helen lay almost three years ago. Peace, peace, peace. May it be so, and so it is.

Aho. Shalom. Amen.


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Making a Stand for what You Believe In

“Make a stand for what you believe in and do what feels right in spite of any judgment or disapproval from others.”

– Blue Heron power animal card by Steven Farmer


Three years ago I sat in this same chair at the same café with my herbalism teacher, Chris Marano of Clearpath Herbals. I asked him if I could be his apprentice. I told him I wanted to be an herbalist some day. He informed me that self-employment is laying down your own tracks, but it is extremely rewarding.

“There is no path blazed in front of you to follow,” he said. “Sometimes it will be extremely lucrative, and other times you may be struggling to pay the bills.”

“But your heart, “he said, “your heart will be happy. Your soul will sing. If you are meant to follow this path of herbal medicine, and you throw your heart and soul into the dream, you will be unstoppable. Nothing will get in your way. The Universe will provide exactly what you need to keep going. Do not waver. Pick yourself up when you fall. Trust.”

“I’m ready,” I said. “When we can start?”

One year ago I started my own business, Sweet Birch Herbals. Two days ago I left my part-time job and declared 100% self-employment. I have never been happier in my life. To be of service by facilitating healing with herbs and wellness consulting is truly the most rewarding profession I’ve ever had. My mind continues to be blown away by the power of healing with plants.

When I look at the shelves in my new apothecary loaded with teas, tinctures, and oils, I am filled with gratitude. Although I don’t like hierarchies, my true “bosses” are the hundreds of plants. They want to help people. They want to be acknowledged by humans for their incredible healing capabilities. What a true gift it is to work with them and for them. And, how grateful I am to be delivering herbal products grown and made with so much love to my community.


Thank you for believing in me! Thank you to those close friends and family who supported me in countless ways every day. You all keep me going!

Guess what?! An enormous Great Blue Heron just flew in front of the window of the café where I’m writing. What a blessing!

How are you making a stand for what you believe in?

Tell me, I want to know!

So much love to you all,



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She Asks for Cinnamon

IMG_0952The rolling mountains of North Carolina remind me of back home. The woods of Vermont and the northern Berkshires of Massachusetts even smell the same. Down there where I visited the past week, the plants grow twice as tall and the forests are thick with understory it’s hard to walk off trail.
After a weekend at a ear friend’s DIY wedding where we played enough “corn in the hole” to make you dizzy and shared gluttonous meals of smoked trout, pulled pork, and collard greens, I packed up and headed east for an overnight with a couple in their mid 60’s who can downright claim themselves “homesteaders” if it were up to me.IMG_0969On the way to the homestead, my friend and I stopped to milk the newlywed’s dairy goats so they could have their first morning as husband and wife to rest and be with friends. It felt wonderful to be milking goats again after a few years away from Rawson Brook Farm, where I was an intern for 2 years. That was, until the Nubian stuck her foot in the milk pail, of course.

After about an hour drive, we were greeted on the porch of the homestead by two little old dogs, a proud rooster, and kind smiles belonging to Donna and Jeff. They offered us rocking chairs before inviting us into the house. Hand woven baskets hung from nails along the roof of the porch in perfect placement for snagging on the way to the garden and woods for fresh vegetables and wild edibles.

Jeff resumed constructing a basket made of tulip tree while Donna filled us in on all the stories of the season, which was in full peak. She asked about our journeys to the south, wedding highlights, and how our loved ones back home are doing without us. “Would you like a tomato sandwich?” she asked.IMG_0964

I could not decline her offer as my curiosity peaked.
Little did I know, the bread we ate our sandwich on was from wheat Donna had ground and baked that morning. Every surface of the kitchen including the washer and dryer were stacked with ripening tomatoes. When she opened the fridge to pull out homemade mayonnaise and pesto, I couldn’t help but notice the multitude of ball jars. “Finally,” I thought, “someone who has the bug of preserving food worse than me!”

The day carried on with laughter, tears, and sweat as we had a grand tour of the gardens and forests. It was well over 90 degrees, and fortunately there was a small spring fed pond on the property to cool off in.

IMG_1032When I asked for a glass of water, Jeff pointed me in the direction of the spring nearby. As I placed my cup under the flowing pipe, I noticed a black snake sitting in the sun on the shore just above me. We stared at one another for a while then I smiled and thanked it for sharing its home with me.

As Donna and my friend wandered through the garden picking dry beans for Donna’s ever evolving seed collection, Jeff showed me their beehive. He is a well-known storyteller traveling all over the country. He and Donna met almost 30 years ago at an international story telling convergence in Tennessee. As you can imagine, the medicinal plant walk he took me on that humid afternoon was one to remember. “Do you know this one?” he asked me as we came across each plant.

“It’s yellowroot. It has berberine in the roots. Here, taste it, mighty bitter.”

“Oh yes, it is. We have barberry up north for the anti-microbial properties of berberine,” I said.

“Every climate seems to have its own medicines,” he stated. “Up north you have barberry and even goldenseal. Down here, we use yellowroot because it’s prolific.”

“Is that wild yam?” I exclaimed.

“Yes, you’re right!” he replied with enthusiasm. It grows all around here. The midwife told Donna to take some when she was pregnant to relax her womb.

I was impressed by Jeff’s ability to recite each Latin name for all the plants we identified that day. His knowledge inspires me to continue learning about the intricacies of the natural world.

IMG_1049IMG_1058As Donna and I prepared dinner, I asked what language her grandmother spoke because I remembered she said it was not English. “Yiddish,” replied Donna.

“Mine too,” I said. “And my great grandmother.”

“Really? Where did they live?” Donna asked.

“Oh, a small town that no longer exists in what was part of Poland.” I answered.

“What was it called?” she asked.

“Rovne.” I replied. “But you’ve probably never heard of it.”

“No!” she shouted. “Let me get my maps out. We can see how close your family lived to mine.

Sure enough, just a few towns apart were our family’s origins in Poland before the war. This new discovery about our ancestry allowed for a greater level of softening in my heart. We stared into each other’s eyes and smiled. How fortunate we are to be here crossing paths at this magical moment in time.

“I’ve got chills now!” gasped Donna.

After a delicious dinner of crowd pea chili, fresh salsa, brown rice, bitter melon, and guacamole, I lay my head to rest. The sounds of bullfrogs, screech owls, and crickets sung me to sleep.
IMG_1025When my earplugs could no longer block out the rooster’s crow, I crawled out of bed looking forward to the next homemade meal and storytelling in the kitchen that is lined with canned goods. “Would you like oatmeal?” asked Jeff.

“Sure!” I said, without leading on that oatmeal is not my favorite breakfast item. He lead me over the bread making area where Donna grinds the flour.

“Here, in this mill, we’re going to roll the oats,” he demonstrated.

I was in awe of this moment watching him pour in whole oats and turning them into rolled oats right in front of my eyes. I offered to try, so Jeff stepped aside. I had never seen, nor wondered for that matter, how rolled oats came to be. They stay fresh when stored in whole form. And, I confess, I thoroughly enjoyed the oatmeal more than ever before.

There was one thing missing, though. Cinnamon! I asked if there was any cinnamon powder in the kitchen. Donna got up and rummaged through the cabinets assuring me there probably wasn’t any, but she would look anyway. Jeff suggested another option, spicebush. Donna handed me a jar of dried red berries and a small mortar and pestle to grind them. I tried not to be rude, but I couldn’t help but laugh. I was tickled silly by the couple’s local spice option per my request.

American allspice, or spicebush is the local option for cinnamon. It is aromatic, pungent, and warming. With a handful of blueberries, honey from the bees, and freshly ground spicebush, those rolled oats were full of so much love.

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Reishi Mushroom Hunting- a typical, or not so typical day in the life of an herbalist

reishi ganodermaI awoke at 4:30am before sunrise and could not fall back to sleep. I had only been sleeping four hours before tossing and turning. A little voice in my head said, “Get up, this is the magical hour, don’t go back to sleep.”

“No!” I replied, I am so tired and have such a long day ahead, please just a few more hours.

“Sorry, sweet one, the forest is calling you. Get up and leave the house before breakfast. There’s no time to waste!”

I reluctantly pulled myself out of bed, threw on the same clothes I wore the day before, brushed my teeth, grabbed my basket with wild-crafting materials and headed to the forest like a grumpy teenager forced against her will to attend high school.

When I saw the way the morning light beamed across the path before me, all my angst disappeared. The voice was right. This forest was full of magic and I did not want to miss this opportunity. I knelt down, tied my boots tighter, said a brief prayer for the beauty of the Earth, and then headed up the trail.

reishi handsAs the first light of the day kissed the morning dew on the stone beneath my feet, I was being guided further into the forest where there would be a big surprise. The air was still. Birds were sharing their morning songs. My inner chatter was drowned out by the deafening peace of the early hours.

I spotted the first reishi mushroom on a large fallen hemlock tree- their undersides so white and cool to the touch and tops so deep red and golden. I smiled and offered my heart to this incredible mushroom. Then, I set a strong intention to use its medicine for healing my community.

As I knelt beneath the canopy, I could feel my heart opening to the wonders of the forest floor. I felt a sense of acceptance, that everything was alright. Every time I discovered a new flush of mushrooms, I would spot another one nearby. It felt like a special treat to be surrounded by so much incredible medicine!

reishi hannah
After harvesting the larger, mature mushrooms, I had a strong urge to meditate. Rarely does this happen, so I decided to listen to this intuition and continued up the trail to find a sunny spot to sit.

Suddenly, I heard a loud “Whoooooo,” and right before my eyes an enormous bard owl flew above me into a tree! I stopped in my tracks. After several minutes I began walking again and when I reached the top of the hill, I had a perfect view of this ancestor spirit animal above. We stared at one another. The owl’s dark eyes looked right through me deep into my soul.
I breathed for several minutes with my eyes closed and when I opened them the owl was staring uphill. I looked and there behind me were yet even more reishi mushrooms. Because I felt I had enough I did not intend to check them out, but the owl insisted with her intent stare.

reishi gregSo, I gathered my damp and deteriorating paper bag of reishi to head further uphill. Instead of walking to the tree I originally saw, I spotted another, larger tree so I checked it out. On the opposite side I found three enormous reishi mushrooms I fondly call the Grandfathers. These beauties were about 8 inches in length and had a deep reddish brown varnish on top. I imagined these Grandfathers were the original spores of the forest, which spread to all the other trees downwind.

Just another day in the life of a medicine woman!

reishi bumps

In gratitude for all the incredible healing properties of reishi ganoderma…

Reishi mushrooms are relaxing to the nervous system, especially if you are in fight or flight mode. They calm the “shen” or spirit according to the Chinese, making it excellent for ADD/ADHD symptoms. It is referred to as the mushroom of immortality. They are anti-cancer, adaptogenic, restore and rebuild organ systems, alleviate side effects including nausea from chemo and radiation treatment, enhance the effects of chemo, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, protect the liver and spleen, lower cholesterol, expectorant, antispasmodic for the lungs, anti-inflammatory for arthritis and digestive system, anti-oxidant, anti-anxiety, improve cerebral function especially from adrenal exhaustion, Alzheimer’s, Lyme, or emotional trauma, immunomodulator, and BPH inhibitor which supports prostate health.         -Materia Medica from Chris Marano of Clearpath Herbals


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Waking Up from a Long Winter

DSCN6437The magic wings of spring are upon us. Nettles are popping up, Japanese knotweed shoots are covering the riversides, and bright red rhubarb is bursting through the topsoil. The Earth is waking up and so are we!

Yesterday my apprentice and I ventured out to a serene valley in the woods where the ramps (wild onions) grow. Basket and trowels in hand, we walked with excitement anticipating what we might find. As soon as we reached the lush green valley of ramps, we spotted a large piece of chaga mushroom growing near the base of a yellow birch. What a gift for our fist foraging foray together!

DSCN6441After setting intentions to harvest only what we need, we quietly dug the fragile, yet stubborn roots. The trickling creek beside us, woodpeckers in the treetops, and soft sunlight kissing our faces, it was a moment to remember forever. I feel blessed to be nourished on so many levels by Mother Nature.

There are many new exciting changes for the business and myself. I am collaborating with another young farmer who is starting Full Kettle Farm, where we are growing medicinal herbs for tea in Sunderland. Today we transplanted nettles and chocolate mint into rich Pioneer Valley soil.

DSCN4924I will also be selling herbal teas, tinctures, salves, creams, and elixirs every other week at the Tuesday Market in Northampton starting May 5. Come visit me and check out the abundance our local farmers and producers provide for our community!

Cheers to a healthy happy growing season ahead!

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Rooting into the Earth, Reaching for the Sky

hannah yoga on beachMy spiritual practice for the past few weeks has been about bringing awareness to my root chakra. When I am engaging in conversation, where is my root? When I am making dinner, where is my root? When I am responding to emails, where is my root? When the ground thaws and I am sowing seeds, where is my root?

This question brings me back to my center, or my Hara, in the language of Shiatsu, a Japanese modality of acupressure, which I am learning. Bringing awareness to my Hara while rooting down into the earth and reaching my crown up toward the sky invites infinite connection to Source. My power lies in this connection.

If I am aligned within myself, I align with a power greater than I can imagine. Amazing shifts and manifestations begin to happen, sometimes subtle, sometime groundbreaking.

What happens when I live my life from the awareness within my root chakra?

Try it out, right now. Root down through the tailbone and reach up through the crown. Allow energy to flow freely from the sky to the earth and from the earth to the sky. You are part of this natural flow of energy. You can access this place anytime.tall tree

Take a few deep breaths and imagine where that energy meets. Is it in your belly… your Hara…your center… where all life begins?

What seeds are you germinating this spring?

What else can you let go of and gift back to the earth before reaching for new growth.

Imagine you are like a tree in the forest. As the ground thaws, water fills your roots as they spread further into the moist, fertile soil. Now draw that sustenance upward toward the sky, budding out as you reach for the light. Maintain this balance and flow of energy as spring arrives.

What happens if too much energy is shooting upward with not enough rootedness?

The tree could topple over. I encourage you to find balance as spring stirs beneath our feet and we welcome warmer air to fill our lungs. What do you need to find more balance? Where is your root? How much more ease and grace can you carry through this transition from winter to spring?

In Shiatsu and Chinese Herbal Medicine, we adopt the Five Element Theory. There is always “Earth Time” before beginning a new element. Winter is Water and Spring is Wood.

What information does Earth have for you before making this transition to Wood?

FiveElementsModified1Blessings on your transition to spring- may it be sweet like the sap from the trees and sustain whatever new growth you are calling into you life!

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Trusting in the Abundance

41e7c02fee4da4378482de03640c7152When I woke this morning, I grabbed my journal to write about my dream last night.

A large red tailed hawk sat on a branch above me. We were both fishing along a wide river. I reeled in a small fish. I was so hungry that I ate it in less than a minute still feeling dissatisfied afterward. Then, the hawk dove into the river and caught an enormous salmon three times its size.

“This is what you ought to be going after,” she told me. “The big fish.”

The red tailed hawk’s statement makes me wonder how many times I just settle for things the way they are rather that going for what I really want. What would happen if I went for the big kahuna?

The question, “What do I want?” has been popping up every day. Honestly, this question scares me. What if I don’t actually get what I want? I don’t want to feel the disappointment, so I’d rather stay small and accept things as they are. Or, what if I get what I want and then don’t feel satisfied?

The red tailed hawk delivered her fresh caught salmon directly to me.

“Here you go, try a taste of the big fish.”

My mouth watered. I indulged voraciously. I shouted out in such glory you would have thought this had been my first meal in days. The flesh was juicy, tender, and perfectly cooked (not sure how the hawk did this, but hey, it’s a dream!)

The red tailed hawk taught me not to settle with the small fish. Now, I’ll carefully take them off my hook, and throw them back into the river. I’m willing to be patient and go after the big kahuna.

This dream appeared straightforward, yet has complex meanings that may take months to understand. The meaning I took away when I first woke up was completely different than what I wrote here.

I saw the red tailed hawk representing our abundant community of people, plants, and animals. When she offered me the salmon, I felt moved because she was telling me to trust in the surrounding abundance. Let go of the fears of scarcity. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself about money and your business being financially sustainable in the first year. Relax. Be patient. Everything we truly need will show up. It takes a lot of trust, but I know it is worth it.

The dream ended by me offering what was left of the salmon to the red tailed hawk. I whistled but she did not come back. Maybe she was not hungry. Maybe she caught the salmon as a gift to me. So, I detached and let the seagulls and other small birds have at it.

 After receiving such an amazing gift, I wanted to offer what I could not finish rather than let it go to waste. I had enough. My belly was full. I felt grateful to the hawk and now wanted to share the abundance with others. Nature understands this concept. Nothing is waste. Everything gets recycled, or re-gifted because an organism somewhere needs it.

As I continue to ask myself, “what do I want?” I intend to balance this inquiry with, “what can I give?” I believe when we all have enough, we will be more inspired to give. That is my hope.

Thank you, red tailed hawk for being my teacher and power animal.

I recommend reading Charles Eisenstein’s book, “Sacred Economics,” where he explores gift economy rather eloquently.

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Plant me by the Sea with my Kin

vultureYesterday my sister and I arrived in Palm Beach, Florida. We took a direct flight from Hartford where it was barely 15 degrees. Even the water pipes on the plane froze so the flight attendants could not offer coffee or tea.

My sister and I dragged our pale skinned bodies deficient in Vitamin D off the plane. We were greeted by 80 degrees of balmy Florida air. The great thaw was about to begin.

I planted my bare feet into the warm sand. Sun kissed my exposed skin for the first time in months. Waves crashed on the shore like music to my ears. Ahhhh, finally, some respite from the North’s bitter cold.

The aches and pains in my neck, back, and shoulders began to melt away. Gratitude filled my heart as I stared out to sea. Endless hues of blue remind me of how vast the Earth and oceans are and how we are connected to all of it in more ways than we’ll ever know.

On the plane, I read an article in YES! Magazine by Robin Wall Kimmerer called, “Alternative Grammar: A new Language of Kinship.” Wall Kimmerer is learning her native Anishinaabe language and discusses how disrespectful the English language can be by referring to the Earth as “it” for a pronoun. This grammatical error reinforces the belief that the Earth and all “its” creatures are separate from humans.

We don’t watch our Grandmother’s making soup and say, “Look, it is making soup.” Referring to a person as “‘it’ robs a person of selfhood, kinship, reducing a person to a thing,” says Wall Kimmerer. She believes our language objectifies the natural world and reinforces the notion that our species is somehow more deserving of the gifts of the world than the other 8.7 million species with whom we share the planet.

I agree with Wall Kimmerer that we need a new language that reflects the life-affirming world we want, a language with its roots in an ancient way of thinking. She spoke to her elders about this issue and they pointed out that “while their language carries no responsibility to heal the society that systematically sought to exterminate it,” they believe “the reason we have held onto our traditional teaching is because one day, the whole world will need them.

The proper Anishinaabe word for beings of the earth is Bemaadiziiaaki. Wall Kimmerer suggests for practical purposes we use a new pronoun from the end of the word: “Ki.” Is there any synchronicity here with the word from the Chinese, “Qi,” and the Japanese and Korean, “Ki,” which both mean life force energy?

cranesWall Kimmerer declares “kin” as the plural pronoun for earth beings so we can refer to the birds and trees as our kin. I admire her wisdom in this cultural transformation, which has the power to shape our thoughts and actions when relating to the living world.

While my sister and I look out to the sea and watch the seagulls, pelicans, vultures, and cranes soar above us, I will refer to them all as my kin.

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What kind of impact do you want to have on others?

DSCN2905Someone recently asked me, what kind of impact do you want to have on your clients?

I thought of a specific woman who came to see more for support losing weight so she can feel more energized and balanced in her body.

My response to this illuminating question:

She feels heard. She remembers that she can always call upon her own inner wisdom for the answers. She feels more in her body, connected to herself, aligned with purpose. She feels hopeful about the future and all that she wants to manifest in her beautiful life. She goes home and shares her experience of our session with her beloveds.

She journals about her dreams so they can gestate like seeds beneath the soil. She lights a candle, burns some sage, inhales, exhales, and completely sets herself free.

She cooks nourishing whole foods to honor every cell and molecule in her body. She remembers how it feels to be part of something larger.

She feels lighter with each tear as she grieves for the suffering of the past. She remembers her deep calling that connects her to work, community, and self. She commits to begin again with less self-judgment and criticism.

She pours a hot cup of tea and sighs with relief.

This storm has passed, as they always do. She anticipates the package from Sweet Birch Herbals that contains her Constitutional Formula and Wellness Protocol. Every time she takes her herbs, she is honoring her precious self.

Imagine what is possible when she invites self-love and acceptance to flow effortlessly into every action?

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Colorful Kimchi can brighten your home (and enhance digestion)

kimchiI was happy to be hosting the local Fermentation Club just as another winter storm rolled in. Together we made kimchi, sauerkraut, and beer. What better way to spend a cold, blustery day- chopping veggies with friends?

Now that the Earth is all tucked in for the winter, I’m fortunate to still be eating roots from Mountain View Farm’s Winter Share in Easthampton. The bright orange carrots and watermelon radishes reminded me of those warm summer days long before 2 feet of snow covered the ground.

Looking for a little warmth and color this time of year?

Make winter roots kimchi! I found a tasty recipe here.

Kimchi is a spicy Korean dish that is teaming with probiotics that aid in digestion. You can make kimchi by fermenting any vegetable you like with ginger, hot pepper, garlic, and onion.

This special kimchi recipe uses earthy-flavored burdock root (called “gobo” in Japan), a deeply-nourishing plant that stimulates lymphatic and other glandular flows, cleansing the blood, and tonifying the organs of elimination. Rich in trace minerals, burdock is associated with stamina, longevity and sexual vitality.

Here’s how to do it:


sea salt

1-2 daikon radishes

1 small burdock root

1-2 turnips

a few Jerusalem artichokes

2 carrots

a few small red radishes

1 small fresh horseradish root (or a tablespoon of prepared horseradish, without preservatives)

3 tablespoons (or more!) fresh grated gingerroot

3-4 cloves garlic (or more!)

3-4 hot red chilies (or more!), depending on how peppery-hot you like food, or any form of hot pepper, fresh, dried, or in a sauce (without chemical preservatives!)

  1. Mix a brine of about 4 cups water and 3 tablespoons salt.
  1. Slice daikons, burdock, turnip, Jerusalem artichokes, and carrots, and let them soak in the brine. If the roots are fresh and organic, leave the nutritious skins on. Slice the roots thin so the flavors will penetrate. I like to slice roots on a diagonal; you could also cut them into matchsticks. Leave the small red radishes whole, even with their greens attached, and soak them, too. Use a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged until soft, a few hours or overnight.
  2. Prepare the spices: Grate the ginger; chop the garlic and onion; remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush, or throw them in whole. Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Experiment with quantities and don’t worry too much about them. Mix spices into a paste, adding grated horseradish.
  1. Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine. Taste vegetables for saltiness. You want them to taste decidedly salty, but not unpleasantly so. If they are too salty, rinse them. If you cannot taste salt, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of salt and mix.
  1. Mix the vegetables with the spice paste. Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart jar. Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until brine rises. If necessary, add a little of the reserved vegetable-soaking brine to submerge the vegetables. Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar, or with a zip-lock bag filled with some brine. Every day, use your (clean!) finger to push the vegetables back under the brine. Cover the jar to keep out dust and flies.
  1. Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the kimchi every day. After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator.

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