What Kids Learn
- What squash and pumpkins have in common
- The heaviest pumpkins weigh over 2,500 pounds
- One type of soup humans ate 6,000 years ago
Soup and sandwiches have always been my kids’ favorite fall lunch, and while the sandwich variety rarely varies (PBJs rule!), we like to switch up the soup—and make it from scratch. Chicken noodle, tomato, and carrot (pureed) are our tried-and-true standbys, but we recently made a creamy pumpkin soup that is now the soup du jour.
This recipe happened quite by chance. My husband went grocery shopping and bought the large cans of pumpkin, rather than small ones, so after making pumpkin muffins to freeze, I had half a can of pumpkin left over. We were having friends over for lunch the following day, and wanted to serve soup and sandwiches. But we were out of canned tomatoes, and the leftover pumpkin beckoned from the fridge. I started to tinker with a basic recipe and soon developed one that is yummy and easy for kids to make with your help.
The soup is a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors and it’s a hit in my house, where the bottom line for soups is that they’re served chunk-free. It’s also a nice golden, autumnal color and it is delicious topped with crunchy croutons. The recipe calls for three canned products, so you can keep the ingredients in your pantry and make it when the mood strikes. To go with this soup, just dole out your kids’ favorite sandwiches. Turkey on whole-grain bread keeps things seasonal, but pumpkin soup is also delicious with those omnipresent (LOL) PBJs.
What You’ll Need
- 1 small onion
- 1 large garlic clove
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 can (14½ ounces) chicken broth
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt (or less if you like)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
- 1½ cups canned evaporated milk (1 12-ounce can)
- Plain or herbed croutons, for garnish
What to Do
- If your child has good knife skills, let her help you chop the onion and the garlic. Otherwise, chop them yourself.
- Have your junior chef measure the olive oil and pour it into a large saucepan. Heat on medium for 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté veggies for 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.Teachable Moment: 4 Hot and Cold, Clear and Creamy Soup Facts
- Soups fall into two main categories: clear soups like chicken soup, or thick soups like this one.
- Most of the soups you’ve had were probably hot soups. But some soups are made to be eaten cold! Try cold cucumber soup or gazpacho for a refreshing hot-weather treat!
- The first soup that archaeologists have found evidence of was made from hippopotamus. Ew. Needless to say, hippo soup has gone out of style in the 6,000 years since.
- Hippopotamus soup may not be in style anymore, but that hasn’t slowed down the soup craze! In America alone, people eat as many as 10 billion bowls of soup per year.
- Let your child help measure and add the chicken broth and water. He can sprinkle in the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high. When the broth and water mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it on a heatproof work surface.
- Invite your child to measure and add the pumpkin and the canned evaporated milk. Return the saucepan to heat on low, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until nice and hot.Teachable Moment: 4 Tasty Pumpkin Facts
- Pumpkins come from the same plant family as squash (Cucurbita), which means that they are technically fruits!
- And because all fruit plants produce flowers (which eventually grow into the edible part), pumpkin plants, too, produce pretty yellow flowers.
- Pumpkins are 90 percent water. That’s probably why they’re so heavy. The heaviest pumpkin in the world weighed 2,500 pounds.
- Just about every part of a pumpkin can be eaten, from the flowers to the seeds...even the stems
- Puree the soup in two batches in a blender, or use a hand (immersion) blender. (The soup will be hot, so keep your child at a safe distance.) Return soup to the saucepan and stir well, and then ladle soup into bowls. Let your child jazz up the piping hot soup by placing some croutons on top.