Grain in Ear: A seasonal dish at the beginning of midsummer
By Ye Qing
The Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. The Grain in Ear, also known as Mangzhong, the ninth solar term, begins on June 6 this year. The syllable "Mang" refers to the awn on the seed shell of cereal plants. The beginning of the Grain in Ear means the grains are mature, so it is a solar term reflecting agricultural phenology.
Enter the Grain in Ear, the rainfall, temperature, and humidity in the air are increased, such weather will make people feel sleepy and have a poor appetite. At this time we should eat foods with light flavors, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and soy products.
Wheat is sown in autumn and harvested in summer. During the period of the Grain in Ear, new wheat is ripe, and it tastes very good this season as well. According to tradition, during the Grain in Ear period, people are encouraged to make a variety of wheat food to send to their parents.
Plum food is another choice of the Grain in Ear season. Sour in taste, plums are difficult to eat directly, so they can only be eaten after being turned into foods and drinks such as sour plum drink, preserved plums, and plum licorice. Plums have been an important summer fruit for more than 4,000 years.
Worship the queen of the flower
Most of the flowers will have withered by May. As a Chinese saying goes, after the Grain in Ear season, once the flowers fade, people will worship the queen of the flower, to show their gratitude.
Worshiping the queen of the flower not only conveys people's gratitude to the flower queen but also expresses their good wishes for the next year. There are also wonderful descriptions in the "Dream of the Red Chamber" about worshiping the queen of the flower.
The Grain in Ear, marked by high midsummer temperatures, is coming. In addition to seasonal wheat foods, foods with bitter taste are also suitable for this season, such as bitter melon braised Jizong mushrooms seen in the video.
Bitter melon is a great source of several key nutrients. Although bitter in taste (hence the name) it is especially rich in Vitamin C and can help to reduce blood sugar.
Jizong mushroom is one of the top-class mushroom types, unique to China's Yunnan Province. You can fry it, boil it, or make soup with it.
(Cover image by Du Chenxin, video edited by Chen Shi)