Fall, and its association with all things apple, pumpkin, and warm spices, is a time to reflect on nature’s harvest and to give thanks for what it offers. It is also an opportunity to learn about the original stewards of this land and their traditions and beliefs.
The Diabetes Education Community Network), Harmony Community Food Centre, and Health Promotion teams worked together to bring an adapted three sisters soup cooking demo and teaching to the community.
The Three Sisters Garden
The Haudenosaunee are an Iroquoian-speaking confederacy of First Nations peoples in northeastern North America, a continent traditionally referred to as Turtle Island. The Haudenosaunee are well known for their agricultural skills, partly due to their practice of planting crops like corn, beans, and squash (sometimes known as the “three sisters”) together to encourage growth. These three foods made up a large portion of the traditional Haudenosaunee diet. These crops benefit and support each other through the companion planting method. Mounds of soil are formed approximately 12 inches high and 20 inches wide. Several corn seeds are then planted in the centre of the mound. When the corn is about 6 inches tall, the beans and squash are planted around the corn, alternating between the two types of crops. By using this method, the sturdy corn stalks are used as poles for the beans to climb, and the beans provide nitrogen to the soil. The squash spreads over the ground, providing shade that traps moisture for the growing crops. The prickly vines deter pests.
Three Sisters Corn Soup
(adapted by Suzanne Hajto)
This is not a traditional three sisters soup recipe. The traditional recipe was discussed at the demo. This adapted recipe was created by Suzanne Hajto, dietitian, to address the nutritional needs of the community SRCHC serves.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups frozen chopped squash
- 1 ½ cups frozen green beans
- 1 ½ cups canned hominy corn, rinsed and drained
- 6 cups vegetable-based, no-salt-added broth (1-2 stock/bouillon cubes or 1 ½ tablespoons stock/bouillon powder)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Finely chop the onion and place it in the pot with the vegetable oil. Cook on medium heat, stirring often
- Add the vegetables and broth or water to the pot.
- Place the lid on the pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.
- Season with pepper and salt, or stock/bouillon.
- Add more water if it’s too thick for your liking.
- Serve with buns or biscuits.
- Optional: For a smooth consistency, puree the soup.