Dec 012011
 
A very large harvest of squash
A very large harvest of squash

What would you do with all this food?

Well, I have to confess, I didn’t grow all these squash.  But it is quite an impressive pile. My own harvest was much more modest.

I  am not interested in spending time in a hot kitchen boiling and canning massive amounts of food. I definitely lean towards the quick and easy solutions. For preserving some of the  Fall harvest, freezing the food is a great solution. Freshly picked and quickly frozen food keeps most of its nutritive qualities.

My biggest harvests were butternut squash and apples, which both lend themselves to freezing which is so easy, and very safe for preserving.

Here’s how I do it:

butternut squash

Modest harvest still needs a place to live in the winter

Butternut Squash:

  • Wash the outside of the squash
  • Bake whole or cut in half, in 350 deg oven until you can put a knife easily into the squash- approximately 1 hour for large and 1/2 hour for small ones
  • Let the squash cool and peel off outer skin
  • Place into 1 quart Ziploc freezer bags
  • Label with name of food and date of freezing. (You probably want to use these in the next 6 – 8 months, not years)
  • Voila! Pull out and use as needed, for soup, baking or just heat up.
cut and frozen apples

Cut and packed in 1 quart bags with a little lemon juice

 

Apples:

  • Wash and cut into slices, removing the core as you cut
  • Drizzle lemon juice over slices so that they won’t get brown
  • Fill up Ziploc Freezer bags full, and try to get most of the air out when you close them
  • Take out bags as needed and use them in smoothies, apple pies, applesauce or just eat them frozen
  • Don’t forget to label and date them.

This really couldn’t be simpler. The food is easy to store and keeps its nutritive value. Check out these recipes in my blog for the best applesauce and apple crisp.

Nov 012011
 
Butternut Squash

My rampant squash plants produced a good harvest of Butternut Squash

Winter squash, to be clear, is harvested in the winter, not planted in the winter. I have found that some people find this confusing. So now you know.  The best known varieties are Butternut, Acorn, Turban, and Banana. They are characterized by their hard skins as compared to summer squash like zucchini which have soft skins. You can store them in a cool place (about 55 deg) for most of the winter without problem. Unlike summer squash which will rot in a flash when you cannot bear to eat another zucchini dish.

Not only can you eat the meat of the squash, but also the seeds and the blossoms.

The easiest way to cook winter squash is to bake it in a 350 deg oven until soft.  Put a little salt and butter on it and eat it up.  But there are other ways too.

Buternut Squash

Harvested November 1, 2011

We love to eat butternut squash soup in the winter. It’s the perfect meal with a salad and a loaf of good bread. Here’s one of my favorite recipes for soup.  It’s so simple even my husband can make it.  And he has trouble boiling water.

 

Another great use for Squash: You can save the seeds from winter squash and dry them and roast them to eat.

Here’s a simple recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, which works for all winter squash:

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

1.  Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you’ve removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.)

2.  Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

3.  Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees F until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.

4.   Let cool and store in an air-tight container

You can also season them with sweet or savory spices like cinnamon or garlic salt. (Although not these two together, please.)

Squash blossom

Even in late Fall we can find squash blossoms to eat

Last but certainly not least you use squash blossoms  raw or cooked. Deep fried, in pizza, baked or in salads. Amaze and delight your friends by serving them something they’ve never seen before.

Here is a link to five fantastic recipes for using squash blossoms.

Give them a try.

 

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