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09 lessons – Squash

Getting seeds late last year meant that I wasn’t able to find all the items I’d hoped for and was forced to settle for some unexpected items. This was particularly true with the squash selection. I wasn’t able to find some of my first picks – butternut and acorn squash were all gone by the time I hit the racks. So I ended up with a rather motley selection: zucchini, which I’d wanted, yellow crooknecks, which were an ok substitute, and hubbard, which just sounded fun. Huge blue-ish squash just can’t be beat, especially when it’s native to this area and could handle the long cool autumns.

I only planted 2 of each plant, making sure they had plenty of room to grow by putting them at the edge of the garden plot. I figured they could sprawl into the lawn and it wouldn’t hurt anything. The plants did remarkably well there even taking into account the tiny amount of water they got and the terribly late start from seed. All but one of the seeds sprouted leaving us with more squash than we could handle. The zucchini were easy enough until they got too big, then they just ended up in tons of loaves of zucchini bread (and bags of frozen shreds ready to make yet more bread). The crooknecks were harder to deal with – they didn’t steam or saute as well as the zucchini and had tough rinds. The tiny ones were ok but anything beyond about 6 inches was a loss. Lots of those went into compost, with a few going over the fence to feed the rabbit that taunts the cats.

The hubbards, however, are a whole different story. They’re huge. We only ended up with 2, thank goodness, at right about 7 pounds each. Seven pounds of squash at one go is more than we can handle so I’ll be hacking those up and sharing the bounty, assuming of course that I can get the cleaver through them. I’m hoping that they’ll turn into decent soups, or taste good enough plain that we can just bake them. I love baked squash with butter – it’s easy and tastes fantastic. Of course, if anyone knows of any hubbard-specific recipes, Id be glad to get those as well.

This year I’m going to be a bit more on the ball and get the seeds I want, instead of settling. Butternuts and acorns, picked at the right time, are a good size for one meal and easy to store in our new cool room. It’s worth the bit of planning to be able to get stuff we like and can cope with easily.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.


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