Autumn colours, food and phytonutrients!
Nature has a funny way of letting us know she has our back. This time of the year we are experiencing the hues of red, orange, brown and yellow. We typically associate this to the season of autumn and when we look at our vegetables we are seeing the end of the tomatoes, red capsicums, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots. The magic ingredients in our vegetables are phytonutrients and these are the plant chemicals that are anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, immune enhancers and hormone regulators. As vegetables are so high in fibre they are good for heart health and blood/sugar regulation. So when our mums and dads said “eat your vegetables they are good for you” they were 100% right.
Let’s look at the medicine cupboard of our autumn vegetables.
Autumn vegetables are high in the phytochemicals, zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene. These nutrients enhance the immune system getting ready to brave the cooler months and all the environmental factors that can impact on our health. Pumpkins are plenty this time of year and they are rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene which is great for skin, eye, mucous membrane, immune and liver health. As well as high in antioxidants such as vitamin C and E as well as containing iron, folate and potassium for heart health.
Have you ever thought about why pumpkin soup makes you feel so good? It’s because they are a good source of the amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine which help to produce serotonin, one of our happy hormones. So go buy one of Ruth’s yummy chemical free pumpkins and cook her recipe suggestion and know that mother nature has your back this autumn.
Hearty Pumpkin Soup
1.2 kg / 2.4 lb pumpkin (any type)
1 brown onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves , peeled whole
3 cups (750ml) vegetable or chicken broth/stock
1 cup (250 ml) water
Salt and pepper
1/2 – 3/4 cup (125 – 185 ml) cream (For a plant-based option use coconut cream)
Cut the skin off and scrape seeds out of the pumpkin. Cut into slices then into 4cm / 1.5″ chunks.
Place the pumpkin, onion, garlic, broth and water in a pot – liquid won’t quite cover all the pumpkin. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat and let simmer rapidly until pumpkin is tender – about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and use a stick blender to blend until smooth. You can also let cool and used a standing blender.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir through cream (never boil soup after adding cream, cream will split).
Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle over a bit of cream, sprinkle with pepper and parsley if desired. Serve with crusty bread!
TIP! IF YOU HAVE TIME, BAKE THE PUMPKIN, GARLIC AND ONION TOGETHER BEFOREHAND TO GIVE THE SOUP EXTRA FLAVOR