30 Days of Winter – Day 12 – Black Forrest Congee

30 Days of winter continues with this fun new recipe.

Mini slow cookers are great for winter, you can pick up these tiny slow cookers from supermarkets (I got one from Woolworths recently) for around $20. The benefits of slow cookers being smaller is great for congee, because generally each serve is quite small, and you want to the food warm and fresh to capture the yang essence as much as possible (the food gets less beneficial the more you have to reheat it).

This recipe only has 2 ingredients:

1x jar of pitted cherries

3/4 cup barley

Put both ingredients into your slow cooker, pouring all of the liquid of the cherries in too.

Cherries are blood nourishing in Chinese medicine. Because they are one of the few warm fruits, as well as their colour – red/purple colored foods are considered tonifying to Blood and organs that make or move blood like the Liver and Heart systems.

Ok, there is some sugar added into the pitted cherries, but in small quantities it can aid the cherries acting as a tonic to the Heart, calming the mind. This recipie is good to eat if you are annoyed and getting easily frustrated.

Barley in Chinese medicine is a tonic food to yin – it’s dense and nourishing but not as dense that it’s dampening like its friends wheat and oats. Barley is good to eat if you are a damp person, or your practitioner says “you have dampness” a much better grain than wheat, oats or any type of processed flour.

I hope you enjoy eating your Black Forrest Congee as much as I am (while writing this blog!) – Marie.




NOTICE: this information is provided in public interest of keeping people healthy as possible. Common sense should always be applied. Too much of anything can be hazardous to health. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis by a health practitioner. If you have a health condition, you should check with your health care practitioner before using foods as medicine treatments, if you are in any way unsure about the suitability of the food agents, herbs or recipies for your body. In an medical emergency always contact emergency services, call 000 in Australia.

Chinese medicine organs and some words are capitalised to indicate they are different to the biomedical understanding of the organ. In Chinese medicine each organ represents the system of function according to ancient principals of understanding, including the channel system, spiritual, mental and physical functions. The traditional understanding of Chinese medicine organs is actually a functional system often encompass many now biomedically defined aspects such as lymphatic and endocrine (hormone) functions that are attributed to that organ. A lower case letter of an organ will indicate it’s reference to the biomedical organ. EG Kidney  (the Kidney functions of CM) and kidney (biomedical/physical kidney).


This article is written by Marie Hopkinson, the Chinese Herbalist & Acupuncturist at Metro Health and Medicine in North Perth. Marie is available for consultation by calling 1300 132 830 or email info@metrohealth.com.au