Spicy Pumpkin Soup & Storing Squash

Saying goodbye to the last stored pumpkin as it goes into the soup pot and then our bellies!

Here is a quick and delicious soup recipe for you to try! Using the last sugar pumpkin I had stored from the Fall, I made this soup a few weeks ago when the weather was colder and a spicy soup was just what the doctor ordered to fight off colds as the seasons started to change. Feel free to be creative because this is a really simple and versatile recipe, so you could swap in other kinds of squash or other flavours instead of the curry and coconut if you want to use ingredients that you have on hand. This soup is based on a recipe from 101 Cookbooks for Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup that has been on our soup recipe page for a while. If you want to try one of the recipes linked on Root Cellars Rock and share it as a post, we’d love to have you as a guest RCR blogger, email info@rootcellarsrock.ca to give it a try!

A note on storing pumpkins and other squash, with information from the book Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel:

It’s pretty amazing to think that we’re still eating October’s beautiful local squash in the Spring and it doesn’t take a lot of planning to be able to do that. To store winter squash be sure to pick them (or buy them from your local farmer) at their peak maturity in the Fall and leave their stems on. Squash that don’t have their stems on, that have blemishes or cuts in their skin, or have been picked prematurely are best used right away in the Fall rather than stored. But you could make them into something delicious like this soup and freeze that for later meals, rather than storing them whole.

Give winter squash about 10-14 days to cure, which basically means drying out time. You can do that by leaving them in a sunny, dry spot outdoors in the Fall or if the frost has come or it’s rainy then try curing them in a warm and dry spot in your house like next to the stove, hot water heater or furnace. Once they’re cured, squash like to be stored between 12-15′ C (55-60′ F) and 60-70% humidity. That’s warmer and dryer than the average root cellar, so a special cellar isn’t needed, and actually squash do really well kept tucked away in regular rooms in your house. The Bubels write ” We find an unheated side room just right. Attics, regular heated basements (far from the furnace) and spare bedrooms are often within the ideal temperature range. Some folks stash them under the bed. Ruth Stout once wrote that she kept hers in a box under her kitchen table. Good storage squash will keep for as long as six months- a lot of good eating from an undemanding vegetable.” And we agree with that here at RCR! I stored small butternut squash and sugar pumpkins in my kitchen in a wicker basket kept away from the light on a bottom shelf. My house is fairly cold so the temperature worked out right even though it was the kitchen. Two out of about a dozen went bad before I could get to them, but that might have been avoided because I wasn’t following the Bubels’ tips and the stems were cut off on those ones, which is right where they began to rot.

If you’re a gardener you may want to consider planting a few squash of your own this year and then you can give this a try in the Fall. It’s a pretty fantastic thing to be able to take a meal right from your garden to your table. Growing squash, storing them, and then making this soup in the winter is a great way to give that a try. For this recipe I used store-bought fresh herbs to garnish, but in the Fall you’ll be able to use local ones grown outdoors, or if you want to start an indoor herb garden then you’ll have fresh herbs on hand all year.

Spicy pumpkin soup garnished with fresh cilantro.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

1 small to medium sugar pumpkin: cut in half,  seeds cleaned out, and roasted (for instructions on how to roast the squash, check here)

1 14 oz can of coconut milk (other kinds of dairy or non-dairy milk would work if you’re substituting)

curry paste (the original recipe called for red, I used green. I think it’s okay to use what you have, because you just add a little at first and keep tasting it until you get a spiciness you like)

water or vegetable stock

2 teaspoons salt

fresh cilantro to garnish (or try garnishing with toasted pumpkin seeds or other herbs)

Once it’s cooled down, scoop the roasted squash out of its skin and into a soup pot set on medium heat. Add the coconut milk. Add 1 teaspoon of curry paste. Start with that and later after the soup is blended, you can add more curry paste once you’ve tasted it and see if its spicy enough for you. Bring the ingredients to a simmer.

Once it has started to simmer, remove the pot from the heat and blend the ingredients with a hand blender. Be careful of the hot soup splashing up, it will hurt! Add water or vegetable stock as you blend until you reach the creamy consistency that you prefer.

Bring the blended soup back up to a simmer and add the salt. At this point taste it and add more curry paste if you like. Dish out your soup, let it cool a bit and then garnish it with fresh cilantro leaves or whatever else you prefer. Enjoy!

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