This is the perfect meal for cold winter mornings. Packed with nourishing grains, fat/protein, and sweet dried fruits. If you have to go out for a morning hike, ski, or snowshoe this will set you up for several hours of vigorous exercise. I love that you can quickly throw all the ingredients into the crockpot after dinner, push a button, and wake up to a great breakfast. If you cook for a big group of people, be sure to keep this recipe in mind. It can also be adapted for camping. The ingredients are easy to store and transport.
Last summer I noticed a strange stalk growing from the neighbors yard under my fence. Since he is a doctor of oriental medicine I suspected it might be something interesting. Sure enough I discovered it was Goji. It managed to over winter in our climate, send out many more stalks and produce some lovely berries this year. I have been purchasing the dried berries recently. I like to use them in my rejuvenation pastes. I also eat them by the small hand full when I crave something sweet after dinner. I love the slightly astringent/bitter taste at the end. I find the fresh berries pleasing as well. I look forward to larger harvests through the years and experimenting with this plant. If you have been resistant to using goji, this hot cereal might be the incentive to use this “heal all. In Chinese medicine goji is a popular ingredient in medicinal soups, stews, and porridges.
Slow Cooked Oats with Nuts and Dried Fruit
To a standard crockpot/slow cooker add…
One 8 oz. can of coconut milk with fat
1 cup of water
2 cups of milk of your choice
1/2 cup of goji berries
1/2 cup your choice of dried fruit, diced if needed (raisins, prunes, figs, cranberries, golden berries etc.)
1/2 cup of chopped nuts of your choice (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds)
1 ripe banana
1.5 cups of oat groats/steal cut
Cook on low, overnight, in a crock pot.
Sweeetner as desired. Top with yogurt or cashew cream.
This evergreen/perennial is considered native to Asia but is commonly cultivated in Europe. It is in the nightshade family (ground cherry, tomato, chiles/peppers) The “bush” typically grows from the ground in 6ft long stalk/stems which may have short occasional short branches. These fall over like tomatoes and benefit from being on a trellis. Stems may have spines and have a whitish film, Leaves are medium green, alternate, narrow, spade shaped, with smooth margins. Orange/red berries are drop shaped. Pale purple (greenish) flowers are tube shaped with 5 partially joined petals. Prefers full sun and poor , well drained soil. There is a native variety that grows in the American Southwest (L. pallidum).
Do not confuse with other members of the solanaceae family that have red berries like Solanum dulcamara or americarum which are poisonous.
Lycium is used in both Eastern and Western medicine. You may not find this plant discussed in some of your Western herb books because it is not cultivated much in the US. Goji berries are a great adaptogenic herb for when the body is ill or under stress. As a nutritive herb, the provide support/strength for the liver, kidneys, endocrine system and the “blood”. Lycium helps remove toxins and is considered a Yin tonic. This herb has been used to treat weak muscles/back/ligaments/veins, night sweats, fevers, colds, pneumonia, dizziness, bleeding, inflammation of the bronchial tubes, asthma, hair loss, low blood sugar, infertility, symptoms of hormone imbalance or menopause, tinnitus, vertigo, aging, diabetes, anemia, high blood pressure, varicose veins, poor circulation, fatigue, dry skin/tissues, poor immune system, tumors, impotence and to reverse weight loss associated with cancer or AIDS. They may improve eye health (macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma) and sight as they are high in carotenoids, lutein, and flavonoids. When used regularly in the diet, berries can help support the growth of healthy bowel flora and decrease cholesterol levels.
Latin Name: Lycium barbarum/chinensis (most commonly cultivated)
Botanical family: Nightshade/Solanaceae
Parts used: fully ripe or dried berries. The bark and root only by experienced doctors of Oriental Medicine. The immature leaves sometimes in soup.
Energetics: sweet, warm, bitter or neutral, cooling and sour
Emotional/spiritual uses:grounding, nourishing, calming, strengthening
Contraindications: acute fever, diarrhea, bloating, “damp” constitution