(image from Tennessee Home & Farm)
Since Cobalt (my husband) and I began imagining our garden, I’ve had an inkling to learn more. ‘Tis my dream to one day have a sustainable garden; and to establish and participate in community gardens in my future career as a dietitian. However, instead of solely reading books and internet knowledge, I decided the best thing would be to actually volunteer at a local farm. Hence, I found and visited Crabtree Farms in Chattanooga, TN.
At the farm, I’ve learned about: seasonal crops and plant varieties, maintaining ideal growing conditions, harvesting crops, farm organization and routine…and so much more. Mostly, I’ve helped harvest and sort produce; but I’m hoping to also help in the greenhouse soon. (I would do both, but I’m trying not to overwhelm myself.)
A side note: I highly encourage being a part of farm life. This opportunity is such a blessing to me especially as I’ve discovered things God has created that I never knew about, such as: native paw paws; watching squash, zucchini and okra grow; and so much more.
Volunteering at Crabtree has not only been beneficial towards my knowledge of farming and my relationship with God; but also through contributing to my pantry. The staff willingly gives me the blemished “seconds,” which I then gratefully use for feeding Cobalt and I. Recently, I’ve brought home a LOT of squash (they’re in season)! Acorn, butternut and summer squashes. Consequently, I’ve wanted to make pureed squash soup all week; so last night, I finally accomplished this feat. It was rather time-consuming but also very rewarding! (I honestly don’t like time-consuming recipes, but occasionally I’ll take the challenge! :))
FOUR SQUASH PUREED SOUP
Estimated Time: 2 Hours | Makes: about 8-10 cups, depending on the size of your squashes
What I used:
- 1-2 TBS canola oil
- 1/2 red onion (a whole one would be better; but I only had a 1/2) and a small sweet red pepper, diced
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 3 medium-sized zephyr squashes, cubed (you can use just yellow squash as they’re the same thing)
- 1 acorn squash, cooked and mashed
- salt, pepper, ginger and 5 Spice
- 1 cube chicken stock + 2 cups hot water
- Paprika for garnish
How I made it:
1. I placed a 5-liter pot on the stove, poured in the oil and turned the heat on medium.
2. Once oil was hot, I added the cubed butternut squash and cooked it 15-20 minutes (with the lid on) until it was a bit soft.
4. Then, I prepared the acorn squash as follows:
- Preheated oven to 350F
- Cut the acorn squash in half, and brushed olive oil on it
- Lightly dusted the flesh with spices (salt, pepper, ginger and 5-Spice)
- Placed the squash, flesh side down on the cast iron
- Placed pan in oven and set timer to 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, I measured 2 cups of water into a tea kettle; and when the whistle blew, I added the water and a cube of chicken stock to the pot on stove. I stirred the soup and let it simmer (with the lid on) while waiting for the acorn squash to cook in the oven.
6. When timer buzzed, I took the acorn squash out of the oven and pressed on the skin with my finger. It was soft so I carefully (because the squash was VERY hot) spooned out the soft flesh. I added the flesh to the pot on the stove.
Some people like to add milk or cream to this type of soup. You also may do so if you like :)
I served the soup with some homemade biscuits.