Winter squash is a wonderful food for autumn. The abundance of this tasty squash peaks in early fall and is available to early winter. Winter squash is a food that nourishes your yang energy which is masculine in nature and is described as light, dry, directed, focused, logical, and action oriented.
In the fall, I suggest that you switch from cold, uncooked foods, such as salads, to more warm, cooked foods, such as soups and steamed vegetables. This brings us to winter squash which is sweet and warm, beneficial to your digestion, and supplements qi. Squash also disperses inflammation and, in that way decreases pain. Most importantly, squash tastes terrific!
Below, is a recipe that pairs squash with another wonderful food, ginger. Ginger benefits digestion, neutralize poisons in food, ventilates your lungs, aids the circulation to your limbs and, as a medicine, it has been shown to be helpful in counteracting nausea from morning sickness, motion sickness, and food contamination.
Fall Recipe: Ginger Squash Soup
This delicious soup is the perfect “comfort food”. Brenda Langton, owner of restaurants Cafe Brenda and Spoon River, recommends experimenting with the many different winter squash varieties to find the balance of richness and sweetness that best suits your taste. Here is a recipe from The Cafe Brenda Cookbook.
- 1 medium butternut or buttercup squash
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons peeled and chopped ginger root
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons yellow or white miso
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- juice of one orange
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup half and half (optional)
1. Wash the squash well. Peel and use the peelings to make stock. Chop the squash into 1-inch pieces, discarding the seeds. You should have about 4-5 cups chopped squash.
2. In a large soup kettle, saute the onion, ginger, and garlic in vegetable oil. When the onion softens, add the squash and saute for five more minutes.
3. Add stock and cover pot. Simmer over medium heat for 30-40 minutes.
4. Add miso, salt, pepper and orange juice. Puree soup in a blender in batches, if necessary, until smooth. Add cream. If the soup is too thick, add more soup stock.
If you are trying to avoid eating dairy products, try adding coconut milk.
This adds a creamy texture and a coconut flavor.
Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.
*Image of “soup” via Shutterstock