Bless your herbs then use them to make mint chocolate chip ice cream with your kids in celebration of the feast of the Assumption.
by Theresa Wilson
A unique tradition to celebrate the feast of the Assumption of Mary is the blessing of fruit and herbs. Parishioners bring to churches their first fruits (or vegetables) and herbs — especially ones with healing qualities — to be blessed.
The custom rose primarily from the Germanic countries and is rooted in the Old Testament. “Then God said: Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. And so it happened: the earth brought forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw that it was good.” (Gen 1, 11-12) See, kids? Veggies are good!
The association with Mary is no mistake. She assumed, uncorrupted and without sin, body and soul into heaven. By extension and by Catholic tradition, the Assumption shows us that our earthly bodies are good and should be treated with respect and dignity.
The Aug. 15 feast day falls right around harvest time for many gardens and farms, making the link between good food and the healthy treatment of our bodies pretty strong.
And why not make good food even better by churning it into ice cream? (The Assumption is in August, after all!)
In my little urban garden I was able to gather quite a bit of sweet mint, peppermint, spearmint, and chocolate mint after a week of rain. What could be a better way to get kids involved in celebrating the Assumption of Mary than to make mint chocolate chip ice cream together? My recipe calls for one large bunch of mint, but if you have an herb garden with a variety of mints growing, go ahead and use them all.
*This recipe requires a 2-quart ice cream maker.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.” — The Canticle of Mary, the first prayer of the Church.
Theresa Wilson is an alumnus of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York. After pursuing her passion for all things food, she quickly rose the ranks in fine dining cuisine as a professional chef, and as a chef instructor and assistant director at a culinary institute. She is now a busy stay-at-home mom and short order cook to her amazing, energetic young daughter and son.