Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Squash soup

This easy-to-make pumpkin soup warms and fills us with a similar flavor profile as pumpkin pie but without all of the heavy sweetness of a pie.

Our Canadian readers will be celebrating Thanksgiving next week, so I wanted to share one of my favorite autumn recipes for pumpkin soup, though we just as often make it butternut squash soup. Whatever squash you grew this year or you find abundant at your farmers market, use that.

You can use this as a soup course, serving just a small portion, or you can change the flavors to make it more naturally sweet and serve as a hot dessert substitute for pie. Sometimes we make this our main dish for dinner, but it works well as a side dish for Thanksgiving.

Warm to the Bone Harvest Soup

Serves: 4-6
Time: 90 minutes, mostly unattended

  • 2 cups pumpkin, cubed (other squash, such as butternut, works well)
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Spices. Balance 2-3 of the following to taste.

  • Ginger
  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put all ingredients into a roasting dish.
  3. Cover.
  4. Roast for 1 hour or until squash is soft. A little caramelization around the edges improves the flavor.
  5. Blend until smooth. Depending on your blender, you may have to cool first. With a VitaMix, just buzz it hot.
  6. Return to heat in a saucepan.
  7. Add salt to taste—this depends a lot on the stock used.
  8. Adjust spices.

We at bynature.ca wish you and your family the best during this harvest season.

Image © Msheldrake | Dreamstime.com

 

Changing Colors: Fall Leaves with Children

Child wearing fall leaf wreath

Are your children curious about the leaves changing color? Harvest time is ripe for a little science and a lot of crafts with fall leaves.

All this week, we’re going to post about changing colors—not just leaves changing but other colors as well.


The Science of Fall Leaves for Children

“Why are the leaves turning yellow, Mommy?”

Are you ready to answer? Here is a simple version for the youngest children.

Starting when trees grow new leaves in the spring, a tree makes food from the energy of the sun, carbon dioxide from the air, and water from the earth. This process of making food is called photosynthesis. The sun’s energy is absorbed by a chemical called chlorophyll. Leaves get their green color from chlorophyll.

As the days get shorter and cooler in the fall, trees stop making food and the green chlorophyll breaks down. The leaves change color as the green goes away and leaves yellow, orange, and brown.

For an older child, you could explain that the leaves were always yellow and that the green, the chlorophyll, was just the dominant color until the tree stopped making it.


Children’s Crafts with Fall Leaves

It’s always fun to use natural materials to create season-specific decorations. As you are surrounded by fall leaves, you have an abundance of colorful craft materials.

We create strings of leaves as a garland to celebrate fall. Bring bouquets of leaves into the house and put them in a vase. Create a wreath. Use different leaf colors to create a collage. Press particularly beautiful leaves in paper.

And, whatever you do, rake all of the leaves in your yard into a pile and JUMP IN THEM! This is perfect fun for a child (and a parent).


The Funny Part

Fall leaf garland

When I planned this post, it was cold during the days, and I expected it would just get colder every day. Then, today arrived and it was 89 degrees Fahrenheit, and we couldn’t find enough color changed leaves to make a garland.

Fall? Hot leaf garland

The version of the mini leaf garland without cropping context shows my outdoor thermometer. In the direct sun this afternoon, it claimed to be 120 degrees (which it was not). It will probably snow next week.


Resources

Education World has a great collection of explanations of photosynthesis just for children. They include fun fall leaf activities as well.

Wreath image © Olga Vasina | Dreamstime.com

Prepare Your Compost Pile for Winter

Yellow Leaves on Grass

It already feels a bit nippy in the mornings, and it’s time to pay attention to the garden. Even when I don’t manage to grow much food in my garden, I still keep feeding my compost pile because I feel better knowing I’m reusing kitchen waste. I am ambitious about my garden, but I just get busy. Maybe you are the same way. Even if all you are going to do is ignore your compost all winter (my personal method), just take some time, maybe 30 minutes, to tend to your bin before you lose it under a layer of snow.

Spread it around. If you worked your compost enough during the year that it is dark brown and earthy smelling, spread it on the garden. You will dig it in come Spring. If you do spread your compost, start a new pile.

Turn the pile. You probably add more kitchen waste (nitrogen rich green material) for a while then more sticks, leaves, and paper (carbon rich brown material) for a while. Turning the pile evens out the mix.

Give it a sniff. Does it smell earthy or is it more like ammonia? If you smell ammonia, you probably have an abundance of green, kitchen waste. You need more brown material, like dried leaves. Fortunately (or unfortunately), you probably have an abundance of leaves right now. Layer the leaves and other materials keep a good mix. You need more brown than green material, probably 2/3 brown to 1/3 green, but this really depends on the specific ingredients in your compost pile. If you add too much brown material, your compost will take longer to break down. It will still break down, just more slowly. Understanding the right balance between green and brown is one of those skills you will develop over time.

Spread it, turn it, sniff it. Done. You are ready for winter. My lazy method of composting fits even the busiest schedule.


Need more help?

If you are up for the challenge of composting all winter, check out the Compost Guy’s Winter Composting information. He’s in southern Ontario, but he gives tips for keeping your compost active further north as well.

If you need Composting Basics for the Beginner Gardener, read our earlier post.

Image © Ben Goode | Dreamstime.com.