Schisandra Salt + Watermelon Cooler
Last Friday, we held or first ever Studio Warming Party! Having our own space to gather, create and hold workshops has been a dream ever since we started The Kosmic Kitchen in Florida 6 years ago. We're so grateful to everyone who stopped by with well wishes for our new space. One phrase I kept hearing from friends was "what good energy" the space and surrounding area has. Not to mention the good omens brought by a neighbor's friendly cat who came in for a peak (and some loving attention) and the buzzing hummingbirds just outside the door.
Summer and I made a few herbal treats including this Salted Watermelon + Lime cooler inspired by this Bon Appetite recipe. Its such a simple recipe that can be infused with your favorite summer flavors like mint, lemon verbena, lavender, peaches + pears. I loved the idea of the salted rim and added an herbal twist with the naturally salty flavor of Schisandra powder. Now, you won't get the medicinal affect of this "five flavored fruit" by enjoying it this way, but you'll be able to taste its properties, which is really the first step at understanding what herbs do.
Schisandra is unique in that it contains all five of the flavors---sweet, sour, bitter, pungent + salty. Herbalist David Winston talks about the flavors of Schisandra chinensis saying,
"The peel and flesh are sweet and sour, the seed is pungent and bitter, and the whole fruit is salty. Because it has all of the tastes, it benefits the five yin organs: the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and spleen."
Tasting herbs is one of the foundations of learning what they do. Our tongues know the properties of plants before our minds can. For instance, when you taste something sour, your mouth immediately has a 'puckering' sensation or it tightens. This can also be called astringent in action, meaning it tightens tissues and helps to control excess fluids.
One of the traditional uses for schisandra berries are to help with frequent urination, diarrhea and night-sweats as it helps to tonify the kidneys which are the 'waterways of the body.' As an adaptogen, schisandra has a dual effect on the nervous system meaning it is stimulates the reflexes and mental activity while also helping to relieve anxiety.
This drink is a great way to cool down and stay hydrated during the warm + dry season. Adding in our favorite Atlantic Grey Salt helps to make this drink even more hydrating with electrolytes from the salt and from the watermelon. Definitely a drink we will be making all summer long.
1 seedless watermelon, flesh cut + cubed
Working in batches, blend watermelon, fresh lime juice salt + enough water to cover watermelon until smooth. I used about 1/2 lime, 1/4 tsp sea salt and 3-4 cups of water per batch. Taste each batch to get the flavors to your liking. Strain using a mesh strainer and pour into double quart mason jars. Store in fridge to cool until ready to serve.
For the schisandra salted rim:
Mix sea salt + schisandra powder onto a little plate. I used about 1 tablespoon of schisandra and 1/2 tablespoon salt. Use a lime wedge to rub the rim of a glass and dip into the salt until coated to your liking. Pour in the Salted Watermelon + Lime cooler and garnish with a lime wheel or edible flowers. Save any extra schisandra salt for later in a jar with a good lid.
*As with any new herb, make sure to consult an herbalist or practitioner to make sure their medicine in right for you. Schisandra is known for not being used by folks who have acute viral or bacterial infections and it increases the affects of barbiturates.