Preparing Our Pantries (and homes) For Winter

By Anna Marie Beauchemin / Clinical Herbalist + Holistic Nutritionist

Fall is a time for slowing down, letting go, and preparing the home (and mind) for the season ahead. A time to harvest root crops for storage, gather wood for the fire, to let go of summer, and to ready our bodies for the cold (and flu) season ahead. A time for restoration and preparation - fall is my favorite time to slow down and ground before winter comes.

See below for some of my go-to tips for making autumn a time of grounding and building - from the body to the home.

Readying The Home for Winter

People often talk about spring cleaning, but fall is my favorite time of year to clear clutter and create a clean space for the winter hibernation ahead. Around the autumn equinox I find myself clearing expired and unused items out of my cupboards, recycling accumulated paper, donating used items that are taking up room in my closet, and making sure the garden and home exterior are neat and tidy to weather the colder weather. By resetting the home and clearing out the old, we create a clean and refreshed space allowing us to ground ourselves  and prepare for the reflection and restoration that the winter months bring.

Food Pantry Prep

As an herbalist, I’m all about autumnal pantry prep. From canned foods such as tomatoes and jams to frozen summer pestos and dried and medicinal herbs – the pantry is my focus for all things healing and health when I want to prepare my body for the winter ahead. By preserving summer fruits and veg through canned and frozen goods, I ensure that my kitchen table will be stocked with the vibrancy of summer all winter long. I also love to dry leftover culinary herbs from the garden to use in cooking, teas, and broths for all my healing food prep needs.

Herbs For the Spice Cabinet

By stocking up on immune supportive roots (such as astragalus and echinacea), medicinal mushrooms (like reishi and shitake), and warming herbs (my favorites are cinnamon and ginger) I’m preparing my kitchen for all my healing needs in the months to come.

Fall is also the time when I start to incorporate more immune-nourishing botanicals (like the reishi and astragalus mentioned above) into my diet through broths and powders. Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves begin to find their way into my lattes and cocoas, helping to keep things toasty as the world cools. In addition to taking the medicinal mushrooms mentioned above, I also find myself cooking with fresh ones often.

Body + Mindset Shifts

Last, but not least, I love to take time to set some intentions for the remainder of the year, as this can often be a busy time and I want to be sure to make space for the things that matter most. In nature we see the trees drop their leaves and the vibrant green of summer transform into something new. Fall is the perfect time to drop our own leaves and prepare ourselves for the transformation that winter hibernation brings. Our minds (just like our homes) can be tidied up, creating space for true rest and relaxation in the months to come. The change of the season is always a great time to ask ourselves “What can I leave behind, and what do I want to become?” That which we’re ready to drop like an old leaf, then gets recycled into the earth.

About Anna Marie Beauchemin

Anna is a trained clinical herbalist and holistic nutritionist, and biologist with a strong background in the culinary art who aims to bridge the worlds of herbalism, cooking, and garden-centric ecology through her work. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California Berkeley and is a registered Clinical Herbalist through the AHG who has studied clinic-based herbalism with a variety of respected teachers and institutions.

Note: The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please make sure to consult with a licensed physician before adding herbal or dietary supplements into your life, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication.

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