How good is a belly-warming soup when the temperature drops? I have been known to eat it for 3 meals a day until it’s all gone. When Cindy shared her White Winter Vegetable Soup recipe with me, I knew it would be a winner, especially with this delicious mix of veggies.
I’m a big fan of parsnip. I love its earthy flavour. It’s quite a unique taste, but one that truly does grow on you the more you experience it in different recipes.
I also discovered how easy it is to store soup by simply freezing it. I love the Sinchies 1Litre Pouches because they are perfect meal size portions. So simple to fill and freeze and ready to take to work during the week. All you have to do is leave the pouch out to defrost and by lunchtime, you can simply serve and heat your bowl of delicious soup.
Growing your white winter vegetable soup
Parsnip is one of the more expensive veggies to purchase, but that’s not because they are hard to grow, I would most likely say that is a simple supply-demand situation. They do however take quite a long time to grow. Unless you are growing baby parsnips, they can stay in the ground for up to nine months. They don’t require a lot of work, they actually need very little beyond watering and weeding. They taste delicious roasted in the oven with your other veggies and wait until you taste them in this soup.
Sow your parsnip from September – January and you can harvest from January – September.
White sweet potato
The white variety is a perfect choice to keep the colour palette of this soup white. Sweet potatoes are not even potatoes but are actually related to the bindweed. If you have heard of growers calling them weeds, that’s because, in the perfect conditions, they can grow wild like weeds.
Plant your sweet potatoes from November – December and they will be ready for harvest around March – April. You’ll need a spacious, well-drained rich soil for your slips (seedlings) to grow in. They also need a lot of water, so be sure to allow for a deep watering system. You can make these yourself by sinking cut-off plastic bottles in around your plants so they can assess water deep into their roots.
Home-grown cauliflower is amazing. Once you grow it yourself you will look forward to growing it each winter. Make sure you give your plants plenty of room to grow because they love to spread out.
Cauliflower loves to grow in firm ground with rich soil conditions. Plant your winter crop from February – April and your harvest should be ready from July – October. If the weather starts to warm up before your cauliflowers are ready for harvest, try pegging the leaves together to protect your cauliflower from getting sunburnt.
Onions can take a while to grow if you start them from seed which you will need to do from May – July. They can be planted in sets during August – September and harvested from November – January.
Onions love an open site that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Weed regularly and don’t over-water because onions are prone to rot if they stay wet. When they flower cut off buds as soon as they form. You’ll know when onions are ready when the leaves turn yellow and collapse. You’ll need to lay them on their side and let them dry out in the sun or hang them up before bringing them inside.
The best lesson I’ve learned about garlic is to only ever source organic seed. Another tip I learned is the night before you plant your seed in the ground, soak it in bicarb soda and water (a couple of teaspoons in water). It helps keep your seed free from any disease.
Plant your seed from April – June and it’s highly recommended to plant on a full moon. The seed is the garlic bulbs which you separate and plant individually about 6 cm below the surface. Mulch well and your crop will be ready from October – December.
Harvest your garlic when the leaves turn yellow. Then they will need to be dried out either in the sun or hung up.
White Winter Vegetable Soup
- 3 large parsnips, cut into cubes
- 600 grams white sweet potato, cut into cubes
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 bulb of garlic, halved
- 2 litres of chicken stock or broth
- 2 tins of 400g cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, remove leaves from stem
- Bake the parsnip, sweet potato, cauliflower, onion and garlic for 45 minutes at 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F. No oil is required because we want to cook them but not turn them golden, or it wouldn’t remain white. If they are starting to colour, you can cover with a sheet of parchment paper.
- Peel garlic and place all ingredients in a large pot.
- Bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes until all vegetables are soft.
- Add seasoning to taste.
- Puree in the pot then serves with some fresh thyme leaves.
- Store your leftover soup in the Sinchies 1 Litre Pouches.