Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Joy of Squash

Last year's big success was the winter squash (Waltham butternut), the majority of which were volunteers from some not-so-broken-down compost. They took over a good chunk of the garden, climbing the fence and threatening the passing lawn mower.

By the end of the season, we had thirty-two of them, mostly family-sized, but a few in the single-serving range.

Besides tasting great and brimming with nutrition, winter squash also stores well. They don't require refrigeration or freezing or canning to last through the winter. I took the picture of our remaining squash today, and they should last another few months.

Traditionally, squash is over-wintered in a root cellar, where the temperature is above freezing, but below what we consider room temperature today. I don't bother with a root cellar, since the thermostat in my kitchen area is set just below 60 degrees (although it's sometimes warmer in there, especially if the oven's been used).

Once the squash is cooked, if there's left-over, it freezes easily. The frozen squash can be microwaved as a side dish, or -- my favorite -- thawed and added to pancake batter. Just use your favorite pancake recipe or mix, but add pumpkin pie seasonings to taste, along with about 1/4 cup of the squash for every cup of flour (or dry mix), and reduce the milk (or other liquid) to get the right consistency.

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