Last year I wrote about elixirs for Yoga Journal. While we generally think of such brews, at least from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, as bags of herbs that often look and taste like dirt, I was pleased to learn there's a whole other liquid world designed to both nourish, heal and please the palette.
I was lucky enough to interview Elise Maire Collins, a San Francisco yogini, who wrote the excellent Chakra Tonics: Essential Elixirs for the Mind, Body, and Spirit, and she told me, "Taking time to make something fresh is like sadhana in our yoga practice. As you listen to your body and figure out what it needs and then make something by hand, you’re taking important measures to heal yourself which expands your practice even more.”
So with the petals falling off the very first bloom of my roses, I decided to make some fresh rosewater -- a luxurious panacea that I love to use in a delightful rose lassi. Here's Collins' simple recipe:
1 cup fresh rose petals
1/2 cup boiling filtered water
Pour hot water over the rose petals and let them steep for about 20 minutes. Strain and refrigerate.
This time of year I also find myself craving almond milk. As the spring winds blow and the temperature rises, my vata-pitta constitution gets a little aggravated and the alkalizing protein of almond milk is a grounding, calcium rich force. An added benefit -- after soaking the almonds for several hours, I begin to pop the moist nuts out of their skins in a slow mindful manner and voila, I'm engaging in a kitchen-friendly meditation. The result: a delicious treat that's great plain, as an alternative to any dairy product you might use in your morning cereal or your any-time-of-the-day smoothie. Collins' recipe is a snap and I promise, it tastes nothing like the sugary, bland stuff available in cartons.
1 cup raw almonds
4 1/2 cups purified water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar
Soak the almonds in 3 cups of water for no less than 1 hour but up to 8 hours.
Peel nuts by popping them through your fingers. They should shed their skins with ease.
Put soaked, peeled almonds, 1 1/2 cups of soaking water and 1 1/2 cup fresh filtered wate, vanilla and agave nectar in blender and blend at high speed for 2 minutes.
Pour the milk through a fine strainer to capture the pulp and then please enjoy.