Our ancestors carried seasonal rhythms from generation to generation. Daily patterns of tending to what needed to be accomplished to survive, while using what was available from the natural world, is ingrained in our beings. When our ancestors were outside caring for plants & soil, harvesting food, making clothing, and repairing their shelter, they were taking care of what needed to be accomplished to survive. When we do those same things outside today, we experience biological responses that calm our nervous system and brighten our mood. These practices help us stay grounded in times of change. We are designed to flex with the seasons, change our food sources with what can be harvested nearby, and prepare for the coming winter by warming ourselves with clothing, fire and food.
Earthroots is carrying on these traditions in a modern way through our programs and workshops. Today, we are sharing a recipe that hopes to inspire you to spend more time in nature while awakening to the same patterns that enabled our ancestors to survive.
As we transition into cooler temperatures of autumn, we can all benefit by tuning into the wisdom of nature connection and practice the same routines that enabled our ancestors to survive. Saving seeds, growing food, eating seasonally and warming our bodies are the routines that we will share today.
One of the abundant foods of this season is winter squash. Squash seeds are planted in the late spring and as they grow, they soak up the heat of summer and ripen in the early fall. Their hard skins protect the squash, which once harvested, can be stored and enjoyed through the winter. Hard squash varieties include butternut, kabocha, acorn, delicata, turban, spaghetti, pumpkin and many more.
Save Seeds, Conserve Culture
The gift of life is stored in seeds. Saving seeds to plant again preserves the food we love and connects us with the flavors and nourishment of our culture. Winter Squash Soup is one of the first recipes that Earthroots taught in our children’s cooking classes. Cutting into a hard squash reveals large seeds that are fun and easy to save for the spring garden. To save seeds, scoop out the seeds, separate them from the flesh and set them on a dish in a warm dry place for a few weeks, turning them occasionally as they are drying. Once hard and dry, store the seeds in a labelled envelope and plant in the spring. If you live in a cold climate, wait to plant until after the chance of frost has passed.
There is a reciprocal relationship that develops when you save seeds and plant them the next year, harvest again, save seeds again and continue this rhythm of growing from seed. It is a practice that continues to improve generation after generation as the best traits of a food are carried on through saving seed. In the act of planting seeds that you saved the year before, you become more intimate with the needs of the plant and strive to tend it with more success each year. The plant’s harvest nourishes you, and in turn, you nourish the plant year after year by saving and growing its seeds, tending the soil.
Embracing the Changing Seasons
Our bodies respond to changing light from the sun, the sound of wind blowing in the trees and the flow of water. As we tune into the seasonal shift from summer to fall, and fall to winter, our bodies want to be warmed by what we eat, how we dress and what we do throughout the day. While our
ancestors may have suffered tragically by ignoring the changing seasons, we are more protected in modern times. Yet even though we live more comfortably today, our health is improved by transitioning to warming foods on cooler days and embracing the changes from season to season. Practical activities that we can do to feel more grounded as the seasons shift this time of year include exercising in the morning to generate internal warmth, looking around the garden to see what the plants need, adding compost to the garden, putting mulch around trees, clearing leaves from the gutters, checking to see if your rain tanks need new filters, and stacking wood for indoor heating or outdoor fires.
The wisdom of nature connection keeps us healthy in many different ways. By sharing this knowledge with our children, we are benefitting generations to come.
Let’s eat some soup!