Start of Summer: A pumpkin bowl of egg custard kicks off sweet summertime

Heavy showers pour down, claps of thunder rumble – the increase of thundershowers signifies the arrival of summer.

Start of Summer, or "Lixia" in Chinese, is the seventh solar term of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, falling on Monday, May 6 this year.

As its name implies, the solar term marks the transition of seasons: Summer comes after the warm spring.

After this day, the temperature rises rapidly in many places in the Northern Hemisphere with plants and crops in luxuriant growth, fulling of vigor and vitality.

It is also a crucial time for farmers to harvest the wheat, rape and other summer crops, as well as to weed out the rank grass and combat drought or flood.

What to eat during summer days?

As summer heat hangs in the air, people tend to have a poor appetite since the digestive system is affected by the hot weather.

Eating more fruits and vegetables – such as watermelons, tomatoes, pears, which are full of vitamin C, vitamin E, and other nutrients – can help promote digestion.

What's more, eating sweet or sour food not only boosts your appetite but also helps nourish your liver and kidneys. Foods with mild and gentle tastes like pumpkin and honey are greatly recommended.

Coronary protection is another important issue during summer days as the heat might be a strain on the heart.

People may easily feel tired or fidgety as well. In this sense, good rest is essential for maintaining your vigor.

"Lixia" eggs: Erect and eat!

In Chinese folklore, the circular shape of the egg is a symbol of good fortune, referring to a safe and fulfilling life. Games featuring the egg, like egg erecting, painting and striking, are traditional customs during the start of summer, and popular in the summertime.

In addition, eggs can help provide the body with more strength and energy, which is beneficial for the heart as well. Traditionally, Chinese parents believe that eating eggs would protect children from inappetence and other health issues in summer.

Eating eggs has thus become another custom of significance to kick off the summer months. The typical dish prepared on the first day of summer is called "Lixia Eggs."

A tonic dessert featuring eggs as well as the above-mentioned ingredients including pumpkin and honey is a must-try on this day.

It is greatly recommended to add some peach gum – a natural resin secreted from the peach tree believed to be beneficial to the digestive and cardiovascular systems.

Take a pumpkin, wash and cut off the top and save it as the lid. Scoop out the pumpkin pulp and seeds to make a pumpkin bowl. Whisk eggs and mix them with milk and white sugar, stirring well.

Pour the mixture into the pumpkin bowl, and put the top part back on as a cover. Put the stuffed pumpkin into the steamer. After 25 to 30 minutes, take it out and add some honey and peach gum on the thickened mixture. Now, it is ready to serve.

Watch the video at the beginning of the story for step-by-step instructions and more details on how to make a pumpkin bowl of egg custard!

Source: CGTN