Jerusalem Artichokes, Golden Beets, Buttercup Squash, Lettuce, Parsnips, Broccoli, Collards, Sweet Onion
Our initial relationship with winter squash was one of hesitation and fear. How do we even get inside one of these bohemoths, let alone transform it into something remotely edible? Admittedly, the winter squash lives on the stranger side of the food world, often looking more like a holiday decoration, or some weird celestial rock, than something you’d want to stick in the oven. But it is our great hope that you all will eventually come to love these strange fruits as much as we do, as they are one of the most important players in bridging the fresh food gap during the cold Pacific Northwest winters. Their thick skin, study frames and dense flesh allow for storage up to several months with very little reduction in quality – indeed some even improve with age! In addition, they’re one of the most nutrient rich food stuffs on your winter plate, ranking super high in fiber, potassium, iron, niacin and, especially in the orange-fleshed varieties, beta carotene. And undoubtedly, once you get to know how to cook a few varieties, you will find their flavors to be invaluable in your winter eating experience. Nutty, savory, sweet and adaptable to oh so many situations!
“But what do with them!,” you ask. We’ll you can find endless recipes online, on our website, or in most cookbooks (our favorite book for squash and other winter staples is “Recipes from the Root Cellar,” which you can buy at Linds in Freeland). But more simply, you can always get away with just shoving the whole thing in the oven at 400 degrees. Let it bake 20-50 minutes, depending on the size of the squash, until it’s easy to penetrate the skin and flesh with a knife. Then bring it out, cut it open, scoop out the inner seeds and pulp and serve it up with a little butter and seasoning.
Most winter squash with long-term storage ability, such as the Buttercup Squash in your share, benefit from a “curing” process, or a 10-14 day period under 80-85 degree temperature and high humidity, in order to help them finish ripening and heal any wound they might have incurred. Often this can be done in the field, if temperatures remain high during harvest time. This year we cured them in our greenhouse. Acorn squash are the one type of squash we grow that do not benefit, but in fact quickly deteriorate, when cured. Their relatively thin-skinned fruits are not built for long-term storage and are most tasty when eaten soon after harvest. Delicata is another type that can be eaten directly after harvest.