Ah, fall—the leaves make great crackly noises when you step on them, the air is chilly and smells of chimney smoke, and it’s time to put up soup.

The phrase “putting up soup” has two meanings in my family. The first is that times are tough, money’s tight, and we have to do things like make a big batch of soup or stew that will last for a few meals. Second, it just means…well, making soup!

Slow-cooking soup or stew is one of my favorite things to do in the fall and winter. You can just load everything up in your Crock-Pot or slow-cooker in the morning, set it on low, and by dinnertime—wow. Tender meat, delicious beans, mouth-watering potatoes and vegetables, all in a thick, savory brew. That and some crusty bread and you’ve got dinner—for a few nights, depending on the size of your family.

I was actually looking for a soup recipe when Mom told me to find Nana’s recipe file, and I found two great ones: My Great Aunt Nettie’s clam chowder, and beef stew with yeast dumplings. (Both recipes are in Cherries in Winter.) I recommend making the clam chowder on the stove since it’s pretty fast and the beef stew in the slow-cooker since it takes a while. And if you have any favorite soup or stew recipes, I’d love to hear about them. Happy autumn!

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