Greener Spaces Better Places blog

How to harvest the ultimate autumn meal for your winter bounty

With balmy summer days behind us, Autumn calls for a more grounding pace with food that captures the waning warmth of the sun. 

Nothing says Autumn like root veggies bursting into April reflecting the hues of shedding trees and dry fallen leaves. Think pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots – and now it’s time to harvest those autumn babies and bring your labour of love into the kitchen and onto your much-deserving taste buds.

Growing your own vegetables like the ones in this recipe is very easy! Learn more about it here. 

You can also grow your own herbs, such as rosemary which is low maintenance, here is a great guide. Plus bay leaves are beautiful for cooking when fresh from a bay tree, learn to grow one of your own here.

Before you dive into the garden, don’t forget to give your pruning equipment and digging tools a good clean and sharpen, give the veggies a quick wash, and yourself a hearty pat on the back. Then try the below recipe for a super simple go-to that captures your Autumn bounty in one delicious nutshell (or bowl!).

Image credit: Zen Chung @ Pexels

Recipe: Autumn’s Sunlight Soup

Serves 2-3

Stephanie Alexander’s pumpkin soup recipe from The Cooks Companion

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, diced 
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled, whole
  • 1 generous chunk of pumpkin, chopped into cubes (approx. 500g)
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into cubes
  • 2 carrots, chopped into cubes
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder 
  • 1 litre vegetable stock or water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Handful of basil leaves or a sprig of rosemary
  • Seeds to garnish

 

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius 
  • On a large baking tray, place the pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, garlic cloves and sprig of rosemary
  • Sprinkle cumin, nutmeg, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper
  • Give it a quick toss, put the tray in the oven, roast until cooked and golden for approximately 30-45min. Take out of oven and put aside
  • Place a large pot on medium heat, saute onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft and transparent
  • Add roasted vegetables from the oven into the pot (discarding the rosemary sprig)
  • Pour stock or water over vegetables so they are covered – add more water if needed
  • Stir in the curry powder, add 1 bay leaf, bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for 15mins
  • Turn off the heat, blend to desired consistency or leave chunky to your liking 
  • Stir through some fresh basil leaves (or picked herbs you like), and season with salt and pepper, and garnish with some seeds
  • Serve with toasted sourdough (home-made if you are a baker!)

Summer, Autumn, Winter…

Once you’ve licked your lips of the last morsel of soup and have harvested all this season’s edibles, you might be wondering what to plant now for the season ahead – winter! Friend and Greener Spaces Better Places Ambassador, Charlie Albone (About The Garden), recommends planting these crops for winter:

  • herbs: chives, dill and parsley
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • dwarf beans
  • radishes
  • kale
  • cherry tomatoes

If you have any specific questions about growing in your area’s climate, head to your local Greener Spaces Better Places accredited nursery and chat with the expert – and keep an eye out on the journal for more seasonal suggestions to come!