Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Buy Seasonal and Make Butternut Squash Soup

As I mentioned in my previous post, over the next five days, I will be blogging about each of the five principles of Oxfam's GROW method - simple steps every family can take to live within the planet's ecological boundaries and end hunger. Up next: Seasonal
"We waste lots of energy trying to grow food in the wrong place, at the wrong time of year. Discover what's in season near you and you'll find perfectly delicious fruit and vegetables to eat which aren't using all that energy to reach your plate."
You know that beefsteak tomato you thought of buying because you were craving caprese salad in the dead of winter? Consider this before you buy it: a whole lot of energy and greenhouse gas emissions was used to force tomatoes to grow in winter. And don't forget about the miles and miles that tomato had to travel, which also means more greenhouse gas emissions. And do I even need to mention the inferior taste and texture? You get the point.

1. Grow Your Own
If you can, start your own fruit or vegetable garden. Is there anything better than just-picked garden veggies? Plus it has been a fool-proof way to get my kids to eat their veggies. They grew it. They want to eat it. If you don't have the space to grow a garden, be sure to check out community gardens or join a CSA.

The boy and dad harvesting veggies from the garden last summer

2. Buy What's In Season
Here in New England, we are lucky in that while certain growing seasons are shorter than others, produce is as varied as it is abundant. Almost every meal we make will be based on what's in season and what we can get locally. Besides, it also gives us something to look forward each season. Like this Butternut Squash Soup we make every Fall. Visit www.oxfamamerica.org/growmethod to find out what’s in season near you. Now go make this soup - Butternut squash was only $.69/lb at Russo's the other day!

Butternut Squash Soup with Grilled Cheese. Hello Fall!
Butternut Squash Soup
Inspired by Mill at 2t Restaurant, Tariffville, CT

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1.5-2lbs), peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 sage leaves
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup half and half

DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add squash, onion and carrots and cook until lightly brown (about 7-8 minutes). 
  2. Add stock and bring mixture to a a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and sage. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  3. Remove sage leaves and discard. Place in blender or with an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of half and half and blend for 20 seconds. Serve immediately.
This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Women Online/The Mission List to raise awareness about Oxfam America's GROW Method. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own.

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