October is famous in the US for the excess of pumpkins being carved into jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pies, and candy being shared with the masses. Okay, so less pumpkin pies since that’s more a Thanksgiving thing, but pumpkin pies should be a year round thing tbh. Speaking of food, when one thinks of fall feasting, Thanksgiving dinner is the big thing that comes to mind for the average American. Samhain and holidays like it are the celebration of the final major harvest before Winter hits. The previous two dealt with grains and fruits. This one is all about the squashes (yum) and the meats, storing food for the winter months when it’s harder to come by. So, what’s in season for mid-Autumn?
- onion (let’s be honest, onions are almost always in season)
- sweet potatoes
- persimmons (asian apples, like ours but better)
- pomegranates (popular offering to harvest deities)
- pears (yeah…I didn’t know either)
- brussels sprouts
- all the squashes
- rutabagas (I have no idea what these actually are)
- grapes (if you work with a deity who loves grapes, now’s your time)
- jalapeños (surprised me, but chillin’)
There’s also meats. This time of year is when all the birds and mature farm animals get carved up because you can’t keep them all in your house with you and you need other sustenance to make your crops stretch. Cow, turkey, and pig are pretty popular right around now.
Magick! We all love magick, even if we don’t actively practice it. If you’re a kitchen witch, Samhain is a great time to stir some spells into your food. Nuts and seeds can be used in a blessing for a successful rebirth of the planet come spring. Rosemary can help with communication with the ancestors. Apples and pumpkins work for protection during the coming months. The best spells to cast with food during this time are to aid in divination and gain protection for yourself and your family.
I have a few, but since my diet is all plant-based, I’ll leave some suggestions below for people that want something with not-plant things in it.
1 lbs. russet potatoes
1 lbs. cabbage
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups mixed veggies (go wild with your bad self)
½ T + ¼ c+2 T olive oil (sorry, but keep the first one separate from the second two)
1 c soy/cashew milk
t/t salt & pepper
- Boil potatoes until tender. If you want them done quickly, cut the potatoes into small bits.
- Boil cabbage until tender, toss in the mixed veggies for the last few minutes with it if they’re coming from frozen, blanch 90 seconds if fresh.
- Heat a pan (or use the pot you used for the cabbage or something) over medium heat. Use the ½ T olive oil to cook the garlic until fragrant. We like a strong garlic smell. Clears the sinuses.
- If you haven’t already because you wanted to keep them warm (you forward thinker, you!), drain the potatoes and cabbage. Mash the potatoes, add in the remaining olive oil and cashew milk. Mix in the garlic and cabbage. Season to taste. Eat.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash (chop off the top and cut the thing in half)
4 c vegetable broth
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t cumin
½ t black pepper
½ t coriander
⅛ t chili/cayenne (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet and spray with a lil oil or something, but this is optional. Seed the squash and place on the sheet. I do it face down, but to each their own.
- Roast until squishy, it should take about 50 minutes. When it’s done, let it sit until you can handle it without burning off your fingerprints (they come back but it sucks).
- Plop everything else in a big soup pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the onion is cooked through.
- Scoop in the squishy squash bits (scoop it out of the husk with a spoon) and blend it all together*. Heat it through and season to taste before serving.
*When blending, you can use an immersion blender or a food processor or whatever you have available. You could even whisk if you don’t mind not having the onion blended, since it’s usually hardly noticeable when it’s thoroughly cooked anyway. The goal is to blend the squash with the broth.
Lentil-Stuffed Mushrooms (You can make this at the exact same time as the soup above)
1 c green or brown lentils
⅓ c yellow onion
2 small cloves garlic, minced
½ T italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
2 c water (you may need more)
½ t salt
1 ½ t black pepper
1 lbs fresh mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned
1 t black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss mushrooms with pepper and just enough oil to coat. Put on a (preferably lined) baking sheet in a single layer, and make sure they’re all upside down (they need to actually look like cups). Set aside.
- Heat a good sized pot over medium heat. Add in the onion with a splash of water (not from the 2 cups from the ingredients) just to keep them from sticking.
- Cook the onions for 2-ish minutes, just until they’re sweating. Then add the rest of the stuffing ingredients to the pot.
- Bring to a boil, and then go straight to a simmer. Simmer for 35 minutes (no lid) until the lentils are tender. You may need to add more water if the lentils aren’t done but all the water’s been absorbed.
- While the lentils are simmering, stick the mushrooms in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. They should be browned, but not dried out. You still need to stuff them and no one wants crumbly stuffed mushrooms.
- When both are done, scoop the stuffing into the mushroom caps. Top with any garnishes you like (some people seem to like sour cream) and serve.
*The stuffing is also good in stuffed cabbage, but I have a particular love of lentils. Lentils can be switched out for stuff like ground beef and cooking changes accordingly.
For the meat and dairy eaters!!
I didn’t forget about you, I promise. I don’t have any recipes for you, but I have meal suggestions. Try these:
Cheesy Potatoes, Beef Stew (Wiccan Sage (hubpages) has a great recipe for this), Meat Pies, Shortbread Soul Cookies (shape them like people), Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin/Apple Pie, Stuffed Cabbage, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Spiced Cider.
Make this Samhain/Last Harvest a great one! Skål!
Bio: My name is Alexis. I’m a 19-year-old kitchen witch and eclectic pagan of 4 years. I love plants and I’m majorly into food, so I create and try new recipes on a whim.